Primary schools have recently sent home an ‘Intention to apply for Year 7 entry to a selective high school in 2019’ letter to all parents. This has got a lot of parents thinking and asking questions like, is my child bright enough? Is a selective school that different from a public school? And how do I apply? This blog will shed light on what a selective high school is, who should apply, and how to apply.
If your child is gifted or has the potential to be a high achiever academically, you may want them to attend a selective high school. Selective high schools provide an educationally enriched environment for highly achieving and academically gifted students. Parents apply when their child is in Year 5. There are only 17 selective high schools in NSW, thus the positions available are quite limited.
Selective high schools in NSW accept students based on results from the Selective Schools Placement Test (which is run every year around mid March). Students in Year 6 sit the test to enter their choice of selective high school in year 7. These schools cater for students who are exceptionally gifted and talented, with great classroom performance and high academic ability.
The Selective Schools Placement Test is incredibly competitive and positions at these top performing schools are highly sought after. There are currently 17 fully selective high schools in NSW and 25 partially selective schools, meaning that only some classes and cohorts within the school are selective. In 2012, roughly 13 500 students sat the exam, with only 30% of students being offered a placement. The number of students sitting the test has since increased, hence entry into a selective school has become more competitive.
The exam tests student’s skills in mathematics, general ability, reading and writing. Practice makes perfect and the selective schools exam is no exception. It covers topics and questions that students may not have had exposure to in their primary school classes. As such, extra material to cover, combined with self-learning and practice exams outside of the classroom can provide immense benefit to a student’s confidence and readiness. Both of which are critical factors when it comes to performance on the day of the exam. Practice helps alleviate nervousness as the students would be familiar with exam conditions and the difficulty of the questions.
What is commonly forgotten about the entry in selective schools is that a third of a student’s marks are also sourced from their primary school assessment scores. Their performance in Mathematics and English (English includes also Writing) from year 4 till the end of year 5 is provided by their primary schools. These scores are based on their performance on their individual school’s curriculum and each school have the discretion to set their own academic criteria. It is important to maintain good academic records in Year 4 and Year 5.
The exam is scored out of 300 and is a combination of a student’s marks from the selective school exam and their primary schools assessment scores.
The school marks and the Selective placement test marks are scaled and combined to give a total out of 300. For a full breakdown of the test mark, see the NSW Government’s explanation of the score processing.
With such a strict and competitive entry mark, selective high schools ensure that all students are surrounded by like-minded peers in an environment that continually nurtures and stimulates them. This results in Selective schools consistently ranking in the top 10-15 high schools in terms of the HSC results.
In 2016, the top five best performing schools in the HSC were selective high schools.
With a strong focus on academics and teaching catered to academically gifted students, these results come with no surprise.
With the opportunity to engage in a highly academic environment with proven academic improvement, there is no wonder selective school positions are highly sought after. Take the right steps and start preparing for the Selective School Placement Test with our Selective School Preparation Program.
Our program is unique as it takes students who are average and slightly above average and converts them to high achievers. Unlike other learning centres, we not only take the top students but also the ones who believe they can achieve. We work hand in hand with parents and students and get them there. We believe in growth mind-set.
To find out more, or if you would like assistance with the application process, please click here for course details or give one of our friendly educational specialists a call.