Applying for Year 5 opportunity class placement

– Wednesday 29 March 2023

P&C Federation is co-hosting this webinar with the NSW Department of Education to provide parents and carers information about applying for opportunity classes.

To learn more about opportunity classes, please visit

Natalie Walker

President, P&C Federation NSW

Natalie Walker is the Far West Councillor & elected President of P&C Federation NSW. She resides in Forbes, Central West NSW, with her husband and two children who attend Forbes High School. Natalie is also an active member of Forbes High School P&C Association, currently in the role of Secretary.

As a passionate advocate for (and product of) public education, Natalie is deeply committed through her professional and volunteer work to ensuring all children and young people get the best start in life. Based in NSW, this means her effort is focussed on strengthening the foundations of key organisations – and particularly P&C Federation NSW – as valuable stakeholders, partners and contributors to NSW public schools and the system they operate in.

Magda Pollak PSM

Leader, Selective Education Unit, NSW Department of Education

Magda Pollak has led the Selective Education Unit since 2005. She has spent almost 20 years as a high school English Teacher and has two publications for English teaching staff to her name. She has always had a special interest in the education of gifted students and is particularly passionate about providing a suitable peer group and teaching environment for highly gifted students who could find themselves isolated in mainstream classes and might then become disengaged. She is also committed to ensuring equal opportunity of access for disadvantaged groups and has received a Public Service Medal in recognition of her services to public education.

Lily Barclay

Manager, Opportunity Class Placement, Selective Education Unit, NSW Department of Education

Lily Barclay has held a number of teaching and leadership roles with the NSW Department of Education in a career spanning more than 30 years. She has taught students from preschool to Year 6 in a number of NSW schools across a range of settings and has held a number of leadership positions including executive teacher, assistant principal and principal.

Lily is currently the Manager, Opportunity Class Placement with the Selective Education Unit and has been part of the team since 2008. She facilitates the placement of high potential and gifted students into opportunity classes and selective high schools across NSW.

Joanne McMillan

Senior Education Officer, Selective Education Unit, NSW Department of Education

Joanne McMillan has been a Senior Education Officer with the Selective Education Unit since 2016 and has experience in all aspects of the Opportunity Class and Selective High School placement processes.

In an extensive teaching career of over 30 years, Joanne held a variety of classroom and executive roles including Head Teacher High Potential and Gifted Education, and relieving Deputy Principal at a fully selective high school.

Joanne has a particular interest in the interconnectedness of the intellectual and creative domains of ability.

She has witnessed the transformative effects that a selective education can have on the educational outcomes of gifted students, and this has made her an advocate of learning environments that specifically cater for the intellectual, social and wellbeing needs of these students.

Skye Bower

Disability Placement Officer, Selective Education Unit, NSW Department of Education

Skye Bower is the Disability Placement Officer for the Selective Education Unit and is responsible for arranging reasonable adjustments for students with disability sitting the Opportunity Class Placement Test and the Selective High School Placement Test. Prior to joining the Unit, Skye worked as a classroom teacher, enrichment teacher and Learning and Support Teacher, in a variety of settings for over 10 years. Skye is a passionate advocate for students with disability and is committed to ensuring equitable access for all students applying for placement in an opportunity class or selective high school. Skye has a BA Dip Ed with first class Honours and a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning Difficulties Support Teaching.