[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:
- Changing schools
- Teaching & curriculum
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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