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Selective high schools cater for academically gifted students with high potential who may otherwise be without sufficient classmates of their own academic standard. Selective high schools help these students to learn by grouping them with students of similar ability, using specialised teaching methods and materials. Selective high schools are unzoned so parents can apply regardless of where they live.

While Selective High Schools have been around for a while, there have been several major changes in the past few years.

You can read more about the advantages and disadvantages of selective high schools in the blog post: Is a Selective High School Right for My Child?

Types of Selective High Schools in NSW

There are 4 types of selective high schools:

  • Fully selective
  • Partially selective (includes classes with non-selective students)
  • Agricultural selective high schools (some offering boarding)
  • Aurora College—an online ‘virtual’ selective school for rural & remote students

There are currently 17 fully selective high schools where all classes are academically selective. There are 4 agricultural high schools which are fully selective and have a special focus on agriculture. There are 27 partially selective high schools in NSW where one or two classes are selective while other classes are non-selective for local students. The students in the selective classes participate in separate English, mathematics and science classes. They generally join the non-selective students for classes in other subjects.

In our blog post 5 Things You Need to Know About the Selective High School Placement Test we discuss the chances of getting in to a selective high school and what a good test score is.

What Are The Selective High Schools In NSW And How Many Places Do They Have?

School nameNumber of places (2023 Entry)
Alexandria Park Community School +30
Armidale Secondary College30
Auburn Girls High School30
Aurora College (Virtual) #90
Baulkham Hills High School180
Blacktown Boys High School30
Blacktown Girls High School30
Bonnyrigg High School60
Caringbah High School150
Chatswood High School60
Elizabeth Macarthur High School60
Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School (Boarder places)66
Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School (Day places)44
Fort Street High School150
Girraween High School120
Gorokan High School30
Gosford High School180
Grafton High School30
Granville Boys High School30
Hornsby Girls High School120
Hurlstone Agricultural High School (Day places)120
Hurlstone Agricultural High School (Female boarder)15
Hurlstone Agricultural High School (Male boarder)15
James Ruse Agricultural High School120
Karabar High School30
Kooringal High School30
Macquarie Fields High School90
Merewether High School180
Moorebank High School60
Normanhurst Boys High School120
North Sydney Boys High School150
North Sydney Girls High School150
Northern Beaches Secondary  College Manly Campus120
Parramatta High School60
Peel High School30
Penrith High School150
Prairiewood High School60
Richmond High School – Richmond Agricultural College30
Rose Bay Secondary College +60
Ryde Secondary College60
Sefton High School88
Smiths Hill High School120
St George Girls High School150
Sydney Boys High School180
Sydney Girls High School150
Sydney Secondary College  Balmain Campus *60
Sydney Secondary College  Leichhardt Campus *60
Sydney Technical High School150
Tempe High School +60
Yanco Agricultural High School (Female boarder)30
Yanco Agricultural High School (Male boarder)30


+ Alexandria Park CS, Tempe HS and Rose Bay Secondary College have targeted places available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

* Sydney Secondary College Balmain and Leichhardt campuses offer places in Years 7-10. Students from these campuses will generally go to Sydney Secondary College Blackwattle Bay Campus for Years 11 and 12.

View a list of selective high schools and their locations, sorted by type (agricultural, fully or partially selective) and gender (co-educational, male-only or female-only).

How Do You Apply for a Selective High School?

Students gain entry to a selective high school based on academic merit according to the results of the Selective High School Placement Test. The Equity Placement Model also helps to make placement fairer for underrepresented student groups.

Applicants can choose up to three selective high schools and must list these in order of preference. You cannot change selective school choices after the placement outcome is released, except in limited extenuating circumstances with well-documented evidence.

Prior to choosing and listing your schools you should consider your own individual circumstances.

  • List only the school or schools you would like your child to attend.
  • Consider available transport and the travel time for the student. The selection committee does not consider distances, travel times or transport arrangements from the student’s home to the selective high school except for boarder agricultural high schools and Aurora College.
  • Additional information, medical report and payment of boarding fees are required if applying for a boarder placement at an agricultural high school.
  • If applying for the specialist Conservatorium High School, you can also choose three selective high schools.
  • Tuition at selective high schools is free (unless boarding) but schools may ask for a voluntary contribution to cover services such as a library, textbooks and other curriculum-related resources. Schools may also ask for contributions to cover the purchase of materials in certain subjects and costs associated with sports or excursions.

How can I prepare my child for the Selective test?

With a lot riding on a single test, you may want to support your child in preparation of this test.

  1. Engage a tutor with an excellent track record for helping students perform well on the selective high school placement test
  2. Help reduce test anxiety by keeping a balance of physical activity, play, study and relaxtion
  3. Provide practice test for your child so they know what to expect

And of course, Master Coaching is here to help if you need it.

Primary School Tutor

Master Coaching offers Primary School tuition for the Selective High School Placement Test. We are located in Hurstville, Sydney, and also offer online tutoring to students across NSW.

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