[NSW] The Comprehensive Guide to Opportunity Class (OC) Schools

While Opportunity Classes have been around for a while, there have been several major changes in the past few years. North Shore Coaching College, the expert in exam preparation courses and mock tests, has compiled this comprehensive guide to the OC test and application process, with all the important, up-to-date information you need here on one page.

What are Opportunity Classes (OC)?

Opportunity Classes are located in government primary schools and cater for academically gifted Year 5 and Year 6 students with high potential. These classes help students to learn by grouping them with students of similar ability, using specialised teaching methods and educational materials at the appropriate level.

Parents normally apply when students are in Year 4. Students who are placed then attend the opportunity class full time in Years 5 and 6 at the primary school with an opportunity class. It is a two-year placement program. In the majority of cases, students who accept a place in an opportunity class will leave their current school to attend the school with an opportunity class.

There are 1,830 places available in Year 5 Opportunity Classes across 76 schools in NSW in 2022.

Read more: Official NSW Department of Education Website

Should I consider OC for my child?

There are a number of factors you should consider in deciding whether to enrol your child in an Opportunity Class, such as:

  • Giftedness
  • Eligibility
  • Changing schools
  • Teaching & curriculum
  • Peers

Is my child gifted?

Opportunity Classes are designed to provide enhanced learning opportunities for high potential and gifted students, i.e. those with very high to extremely high academic merit (in the top 9% of their cohort).

High potential and gifted learners may demonstrate curiosity, a fast-paced ease of learning, intense concentration in new learning or areas of interest, a sophisticated sense of humour, creative and critical thinking skills, high expectations, and other intellectual, creative and socio-emotional characteristics.

Read more: High Potential and Gifted Students | NSW Department of Education

Eligibility

Students are usually in Year 4 at the time of applying and when sitting the test. They are aged between 9 years and 5 months and 11 years at the time they start Year 5.

A student’s family must be living in NSW by the beginning of the school year of entry.

A student must be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident of Australia or a New Zealand citizen to enrol in an Opportunity Class.

Read more: Information for Applicants | NSW Department of Education

Changing Schools

Entering an Opportunity Class often involve changing to schools which may be located quite far from your current school/home. Parents of students who are offered a place in an opportunity class cannot assume that younger or older siblings can also enrol as an out-of-area enrolment at that school. Parents should consider this when choosing opportunity classes.

Changing schools may also mean that your child needs to negotiate a new social and emotional environment for the last two years of their primary schooling, and this can be problematic for certain children.

If you have any concerns about applying to Opportunity Classes, we recommend speaking to your child’s current teacher(s).

Teaching & Curriculum

Mainstream classrooms which contain children of all abilities can pose challenges for those at either end of the academic spectrum, including gifted students, who can easily become bored and disengaged at regular schools.

The aim of an Opportunity Class is to provide very capable students with the chance to learn in an environment that suits their unique needs, with teachers who have experience and training in the area of with gifted education.

The topics of work covered in an OC class are highly engaging as they allow for students to work at their own level, study topics that are interesting to them and complete tasks that are suited to their ability. Students have the opportunity to accelerate and extend their learning. There is also a strong focus on learning through problem solving.

Peers

OC classes give capable kids the chance to learn alongside peers who have similar, or even stronger, academic capabilities. The stimulating, well-resourced environment of an OC classroom offers these kids the chance to strive and learn from others whose perspective could enrich their own skills, and may be a good educational setting for your child too.

Dr Miraca Gross, Professor of Gifted Education at UNSW, says that confidence and well-being issues can occur when very bright children don’t have an opportunity to connect with other kids who share their expectations of friendship:

“Gifted children tend to reach the final stage of friendship expectations years ahead of average ability children, thus causing social isolation and the need for a true friend.”

Often the feeling of isolation that gifted children feel in a mainstream classroom is alleviated when they join an Opportunity Class as they finally have like-minded students to talk to. Socially, this can displace feelings of being different or isolated.

Read more: Why accept an OC offer? | Jewells Primary School 

Which schools have Opportunity Classes?

The table below lists all 77 schools with Opportunity Classes, along with their 2020 cut-off score, the number of Year 5 OC places available in 2022, and the school’s location. Note: OC scores used to be scored out of 300 but are now out of /120. Blaxland East Public School is not accepting Year 5 entry into OC in 2022.

OC School Cut-Off Score (2020) # of Y5 Places in 2022 Location
ALEXANDRA PARK COMMUNITY SCHOOL 202 30+ Buckland St, Alexandria
ALSTONVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOL 161 15 Main St, Alstonville
ARMIDALE CITY PUBLIC SCHOOL 171 15 Faulkner St, Armidale
ARTARMON PUBLIC SCHOOL 232 60 McMillan Rd, Artarmon
ASHFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOL 226 30 Liverpool Rd, Ashfield
AURORA COLLEGE N/A 90◊ Rural and remote, virtual opportunity class
BALGOWAH HEIGHTS 211 30 Lewis St, Balgowlah
BALMAIN PUBLIC SCHOOL 214 30 Eaton St, Balmain
BATHURST WEST PUBLIC SCHOOL 160 15 Suttor St, Bathurst
BEECROFT PUBLIC SCHOOL 251 30 Beecroft Rd, Beecroft
BIRABAN PUBLIC SCHOOL 162 15 Beckley St, Toronto
BLACKTOWN SOUTH PUBLIC SCHOOL 218 30 Flushcombe Rd, Blacktown
BLAXCELL STREET PUBLIC SCHOOL 205 30 Blaxcell St, Granville
BLAXLAND EAST PUBLIC SCHOOL N/A N/A in 2022 Old Bathurst Road, Blaxland East
BRADBURY PUBLIC SCHOOL 187 15 Jacaranda Ave, Bradbury
CAMDEN SOUTH PUBLIC SCHOOL 186 15 Old Hume Hwy, Camden
CARINGBAH NORTH PUBLIC SCHOOL 208 30 Cawarra Rd, Caringbah
CASULA PUBLIC SCHOOL 205 15 De Meyrick Ave, Casula
CESSNOCK WEST PUBLIC SCHOOL 164 15 Cnr Campbell Street and Wollombi Rd, Cessnock
CHATSWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL 233 30 Centennial Ave, Chatswood
COLYTON PUBLIC SCHOOL 185 30 Nelson St, Mount Druitt
COONABARABRAN 163 15 Newell Hwy, Coonabarabran
CUDGEGONG VALLEY PUBLIC SCHOOL 163 15 Madeira Rd, Mudgee
DUBBO WEST PUBLIC SCHOOL 161 15 East St, Dubbo
DURAL PUBLIC SCHOOL 232 30 Old Northern Rd, Dural
EARLWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL 212 30 Homer St, Earlwood
ERMINGTON PUBLIC SCHOOL 239 30 Winbourne St, West Ryde
GEORGES HALL PUBLIC SCHOOL 222 15 Pennington Ave, Georges Hall
GLENBROOK PUBLIC SCHOOL 184 30 Woodville St, Glenbrook
GOONELLABAH PUBLIC SCHOOL 160 15 Ballina Rd, Goonellabah
GOSFORD PUBLIC SCHOOL 197 30 Faunce St West, West Gosford
GOULBURN WEST PUBLIC SCHOOL 162 15 Combermere St, Goulburn
GREENACRE PUBLIC SCHOOL 200 15 Waterloo Rd, Greenacre
GREYSTANES PUBLIC SCHOOL 226 30 Merrylands Rd, Greystanes
HARRINGTON STREET PUBLIC SCHOOL 204 15 Harrington St, Cabramatta
HOLSWORTHY PUBLIC SCHOOL 220 15 Infantry Pde, Holsworthy
HURSTVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOL 221 60 Forest Rd, Hurstville
ILLAROO ROAD PUBLIC SCHOOL 161 30 Illaroo Rd, Nowra
IRONBARK RIDGE PUBLIC SCHOOL 229 30 Ironbark Ridge Rd, Rouse Hill
JEWELLS PUBLIC SCHOOL 172 15 Lepton Pde, Jewells
KINGSWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL 190 30 Second Ave, Kingswood
LEUMEAH PUBLIC SCHOOL 211 15 Burrendong Rd, Leumeah
LITHGOW PUBLIC SCHOOL 161 15 Mort St, Lithgow
MARYLAND PUBLIC SCHOOL 170 15 John T Bell Dr, Maryland, Newcastle
MATTHEW PEARCE PUBLIC SCHOOL 239 30 Astoria Park Rd, Baulkham Hills
MONA VALE PUBLIC SCHOOL 207 30 Waratah St, Mona Vale
MOREE PUBLIC SCHOOL 162 15 Albert St, Moree
NEUTRAL BAY PUBLIUC SCHOOL 222 30 Ben Boyd Rd, Neutral Bay
NEWBRIDGE HEIGHTS PUBLIC SCHOOL 203 15 Lewin & Magree Cres, Chipping Norton
NEW LAMBTON SOUTH PUBLIC SCHOOL 213 15 St James Rd, New Lambton
NORTH ROCKS PUBLIC SCHOOL 243 30 North Rocks Rd, North Rocks
PICNIC POINT PUBLIC SCHOOL 217 15 Thomas St, Picnic Point
PORT MACQUARIE PUBLIC SCHOOL 160 15 Grant St, Port Macquarie
QUAKERS HILL PUBLIC SCHOOL 224 30 Medlow Dr, Quakers Hill
QUEANBEYAN SOUTH PUBLIC SCHOOL 168 15 Cameron Rd, Queanbeyan
RICHMOND PUBLIC SCHOOL 170 30 Windsor St, Richmond
RUTHERFORD PUBLIC SCHOOL 177 15 Weblands St, Rutherford
RYDE PUBLIC SCHOOL 230 30 Pope St, Ryde
SMITHFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOL 204 15 O’Connell St, Smithfield
SOLDIERS POINT PUBLIC SCHOOL 176 15 Cromarty Rd, Soldiers Point
SOUTH GRAFTON PUBLIC SCHOOL 161 15 Vere St, South Grafton
ST ANDREWS PUBLIC SCHOOL 194 15 Ballantrae Dr, St Andrews
ST JOHNS PARK PUBLIC SCHOOL 201 15 Sandringham St, St Johns Park
STURT PUBLIC SCHOOL 164 15 White Ave, Wagga Wagga
SUMMER HILL PUBLIC SCHOOL 238 30 Moonbie St, Summer Hill
SUTHERLAND PUBLIC SCHOOL 211 30 Eton St, Sutherland
TAHMOOR PUBLIC SCHOOL 161 15 Bronzewing St, Tahmoor
TAMWORTH PUBLIC SCHOOL 176 15 Napier St, Tamworth
TAMWORTH SOUTH PUBLIC SCHOOL 161 15 Petra Ave, Tamworth
TIGHES HILL PUBLIC SCHOOL 185 15 Elizabeth St, Tighes Hill
TOORMINA PUBLIC SCHOOL 162 15 Cavanba Rd, Toormina
WAITAR PUBLIC SCHOOL 237 30 Edgeworth David Ave, Wahroonga
WENTWORTH FALLS PUBLIC SCHOOL 165 15 Falls Rd, Wentworth Falls
WILKINS PUBLIC SCHOOL 211 30 Park Rd, Marrickville
WOLLONGONG PUBLIC SCHOOL 208 30 Church St, Wollongong
WOOLLAHRA PUBLIC SCHOOL 219 60 Forth St, Woollahra
WYONG PUBLIC SCHOOL 166 30 Cutler Dr, Wyong

+ Places are reserved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

◊ Only students who would be enrolled in Year 5 in a public school in a rural remote area (excluding areas where there is a current opportunity class provision) may apply for Aurora College, the virtual opportunity class.

What is the OC selection process?

Entry into Opportunity Classes is currently decided on academic merit using a placement score calculated by adding the scaled Opportunity Class Placement Test scores to moderated school assessment scores.

The scaling of the test marks is done on a state-wide basis regardless of the schools attended by the students. Each scaled test component is adjusted so they are weighted equally.

The entry score required for each school varies from year to year as the score is dependent on the number and the academic merit of students who have chosen the school each year.

The calculated placement score is expressed as a score out of 120 (previously 300) and is derived from the test and school assessment scores as follows:

Test components

  • Reading 33.3
  • Mathematical reasoning 33.3
  • Thinking skills 33.3
  • Subtotal /100

School assessment scores

  • English 10
  • Maths 10
  • Subtotal /20

Total Placement Score: /120

Read more: The Selection Process | NSW Department of Education

What is the OC Placement Test like?

The format of the Opportunity Class Placement Test has been changed several times over the recent years. The official test format for the 2021 OC Placement Test to be held on 17 November 2021 is as follows:

  • Reading (30 min, 25 questions)
  • Mathematical Reasoning (40 min, 35 questions)
  • Thinking Skills (30 min, 30 questions)

Reading Test

The reading test consists of 25 questions. Students have 30 minutes to complete the test. The questions are based on a diverse range of texts and assess a range of reading skills.

The reading test questions are based on different genres such as non-fiction, fiction, poetry, magazine articles and reports.

Mathematical Reasoning Test

The mathematical reasoning test consists of 35 questions. Students have 40 minutes to complete the test. The questions are all multiple choice.

The mathematical reasoning test assesses the student’s ability to apply mathematical understanding and knowledge to problems, with questions drawn from a range of mathematical content areas. Calculators are not used.

Thinking Skills Test

The thinking skills test consists of 30 questions. Students have 30 minutes to complete the test. The questions are all multiple choice.

The thinking skills test assesses the student’s ability in critical thinking and problem solving. There are a range of different question types in the test.

Read more: The Test | NSW Department of Education


The test will be running in an online format.  Stay tuned to the North Shore Coaching College blog for all the latest updates!

What happens after the test?

Placement Outcome Information

Placement outcome information is usually sent to parents by email and post at the start of October.

The placement outcome information advises that your child may be:

  • offered a place at one school choice, or
  • placed on the reserve list (waiting list) for one or both choices, or
  • unsuccessful for one or both school choices, or a combination of two of the above.

If your child is made an offer to the school you selected as your first choice and also had a score high enough to be offered a place at your second choice school, the second choice school will be shown as ‘not applicable’.

Responding to an Offer

Responding to an offer is done via the application dashboard. Complete, sign and return the response form to the Team before the due date. You will usually need to respond within two weeks but if you get an offer by phone you may have to respond within 24 hours.

Reserve Lists

Opportunity Classes only have a limited number of places available each year. Students are offered a place based on their calculated placement score and the order of school choice. Each school may also have a reserve list in case students with initial offers withdraw. Applicants are given their reserve list position with their placement outcome advice.

The Team continues to make offers to students on reserve lists as vacancies occur throughout Year 5 and to at least the end of Term 1 in Year 6. For 2022 entry, you can follow the progress of the reserve lists from late October 2021.

When an applicant declines an offer of placement, the next student on a reserve list is offered their place. Students will receive an offer if their position on the reserve list is reached. Applicants must accept an offer by the advised due date or the offer will lapse.

  • Students on reserve lists may not be offered a place.
  • Students who have accepted an offer for the school they listed second may be placed on the reserve list for the school they listed first. If their reserve list position for that school is reached, they will receive another offer. If they accept the new offer to the school they listed first, the Team will consider the original offer declined.
  • Reserve lists remain active throughout Years 5 and up to the end of Term 1 in Year 6.

Applicants who have accepted an offer for placement in an opportunity class, and are also on a reserve list for a higher choice school, will be removed from the reserve list at 5pm on Friday 28 January 2022. These applicants may remain on a reserve list for a higher choice only if they decline their offer by that date. However there is no guarantee that the student would receive a further offer.

Score details for parents

Most parents are sent raw test marks along with the placement outcome advice. The test scores are scaled before the calculated placement score out of 120 is derived. Therefore you cannot reproduce the calculation by converting scores to a percentage. In a few cases the score cannot be published.

A student’s score may be adjusted during the selection process based on criteria such as a student’s Aboriginality or Torres Strait Islander status, length of time doing all school work in English, and a number of other factors. This is why a student may appear higher on a reserve list than another student with a higher calculated placement score.

No other score information is available. Details of scores will not be provided over the phone.

There is no fixed minimum score required for entry to individual schools as suitably qualified students are placed in rank order of their placement scores to fill the available vacancies. That is, minimum entry scores change every year.

Enrolment

Schools will contact parents about enrolment procedures and orientation days.

All successful opportunity class students are sent an ‘Authority to attend’ letter in late-January of the year of entry. This document confirms the student’s entitlement to enrol in an opportunity class. Students must present the letter to the school on the first day of Term 1 along with other original documents the school requires.

Read more: Placement Outcome Information | NSW Department of Education

How can I apply for OC?

To apply for Year 5 placement in the following year, Year 4 parents must submit an application (usually around May) and have their child sit the placement test (usually around July).

For 2021, the Opportunity Class Placement Test will be held on Wednesday 17 November 2021.

Parents can choose up to two school choices, with the first one being the first preference. There are 1,830 places in the OC system in 2022; this remains roughly the same each year. Over 12,000 students sit the OC placement test, so only the top 15% (roughly) will be accepted into OC. You can view the minimum entry scores for schools’ Opportunity Classes here.

Click here to read more about the application process. You can also come along to one of our Education Seminars to learn more about applying for OC, Selective High Schools, Scholarships and other educational topics.

How can I prepare my child for OC?

It’s never too early to start thinking about boosting your child’s academic journey, and it’s never too late to make a difference by supplementing their education with external coaching. That said, it’s generally more effective to work consistently over a longer period of time than (just) to prepare intensively in the lead-up to examinations. If you think your child would benefit from regular, personalised learning outside of school, weekly tuition might suit you.

In terms of the OC test specifically, around Year 3 is a good time to begin preparation, giving your child approximately a year to develop their knowledge and skills. Recent changes (such as the introduction of the Thinking Skills section, and the increased weighting of the test component relative to school assessment scores) mean it is more important than ever to be prepared for the OC test. A small number of sample tests are available from the official website, but the best way to prepare is through North Shore Coaching College’s Year 3 and Year 4 Fastrain programs. We provide expertly developed courses focusing on Reading, Mathematical Reasoning and Thinking Skills (the three components of the OC test). FREE mock tests & review sessions are regularly provided as part of the Programs, as well as personalised homework help, and additional exam preparation workshops.

Through North Shore Coaching College’s over 30 years of educational experience, we have found that practising sitting an examination in a test environment reduces test anxiety and improves performance when it comes to the real OC test. The annual Selective Written Assessment Test (SWAT) is NSW’s best OC mock exam experience.

For Year 3 students, early testing and practice teaches how to manage time and deal with a wide range of vital question types and topics found in the OC test.

For Year 4 students in 2021, SWAT will be the last big mock exam experience for Year 4 students in NSW before the official OC Placement Test date on 17 November.

Register for SWAT 2021

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