Applying for Year 5 opportunity class placement

– Wednesday 27 April 2022

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.

The webinar will cover:
• What are opportunity classes? Where are they located?
• How the application website is accessed and what its functions are
• Testing including:
– allocation of students to test centres
– disability and reasonable adjustments
– preparing for the test
– during the test
• Illness/misadventure and malpractice
• Selection committees
• Notification of outcome
• Appeals

To learn more about opportunity classes, please visit https://education.nsw.gov.au/public-schools/selective-high-schools-and-opportunity-classes

Webinar Presentation Slides

Natalie Walker

President, P&C Federation NSW

Natalie Walker is the Far West Councillor & elected President of NSW P&C Federation. 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 the NSW P&C Federation – as valuable stakeholders, partners and contributors to NSW public schools and the system they operate in.

Magda Pollak PSM

Leader, High Performing Students Team, Department of Education

Magda Pollak has led the High Performing Students Team 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.

Anne Robertson

Senior Education Officer, High Performing Students Team (HPST)

Anne Robertson initially trained as a HSIE teacher and taught in the range of single sex, co-educational and disadvantaged high schools for a decade. She worked for the NSW Department of Education in the vocational education sphere for many years to allow senior secondary students to undertake industry recognised and accredited training in courses at TAFE and in schools that provided an entry level employment qualification, whilst being recognised as a Board-endorsed course for the students’ Higher School Certificate. This involved extensive liaison between the then NSW Board of Studies (now NESA), TAFE NSW, Catholic Education Commission, and the Independent Schools Sector. Since then and for almost two decades, Anne has been a Senior Education Officer in a range of roles in the administration of the Selective High School and Opportunity Class application and placement process. This has included the development of application procedures and documentation, test item selection, test centre development, acting as executive officer on selection committees, and processing claims for illness/misadventure and appeals.

Joanne McMillan

Opportunity Class Placement Officer

Joanne has been an education officer with the High Performing Students Team at the NSW Department of Education since 2016. She has experience in both the Opportunity Class and Selective High School processes. Joanne spent more than 25 years as a classroom teacher and head teacher in a selective high school. She has witnessed first-hand, the transformative effects of a selective education 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, High Performing Students Team (HPST)

Skye Bower is the Disability Placement Officer for the High Performing Students Team at the NSW Department of Education 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 Team just over a year ago, Skye worked as a classroom teacher, enrichment teacher and Learning Assistance and Support Teacher (LaST) 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.

Sandy Silvester

Selective High School Placement Officer

I was a public school teacher for 16 years and spent many of those years teaching Opportunity Classes. I have a Master of Education and a Post Graduate Certificate in Gifted and Talented Education. I was the relieving Opportunity Class Placement Officer with the NSW Department of Education for 7 months before becoming the Selective High School Placement Officer. I have been with the High Performing Students Team for a year.