North Shore’s Best Selective Schools

in our opinion of course...

Selective entry high schools are government-funded schools that seek to offer a caring and challenging atmosphere for high-achieving students to help them achieve their academic goals. 

They admit students based on academic achievement, with the finest and brightest students vying for spots at each institution via a unique admission exam.

Here's our list of the best Selective Schools in the North Shore! (not in order)

Chatswood High School

Chatswood High School is a government-funded co-educational bi-modal partly academically selective and comprehensive secondary day school in Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia.

The school, which was founded in 1959 and serves about 1,500 students in grades 7 through 12, is renowned for its ethnic variety and links to sister schools in Asia. The Chatswood High School campus is surrounded by residual bushland and is located on large grounds at Centennial Avenue on the old Carr-Horden estate.

Mainstream Enrolments from Year 6 to Year 7

If your child is presently enrolled in Year 6 in a public primary school and you would want to apply to enrol in Year 7 at our school the following year, please contact the Year 6 Coordinator at your current school for an “Expression of Interest” form to fill out and send to them. Once a decision has been made regarding your child’s perspective enrollment and future actions, the primary school will send the information to us, and we will notify you.

If your child is presently enrolled in a non-government primary school in Year 6 and you would want to apply to register in our school in Year 7 the following year, please contact us for an ‘Expression of Interest’ form to fill out and send to us. Once a decision has been made regarding your child’s perspective enrollment and future actions, we will notify you.

Gifted and Talented

Following the Department of Education and Community’s priority policies on Gifted and Talented Children and Accelerated Progress, Chatswood High School provides a Selective stream and a Gifted and Talented class. Positions in the Gifted and Talented class are extremely competitive, and applicants will be tested as part of the application process. These opportunities are exclusively accessible to students from the surrounding region. This program fulfils a demand in the community for bright kids to be pushed in a co-educational environment. Furthermore, it adds a new layer to our overall goal of providing each student with a superior academic, cultural, social, and physical education.

It’s essential to remember that students’ placements in this class are determined by their academic achievement, and they may be transferred out at any moment. If high academic performance is not maintained, this may be for specific courses or all subjects.

On June 21, 2021, applications for our Year 7 Gifted and Talented class will begin. All current Year 6 pupils who live in our local intake region and have completed an ‘Expression of Interest’ form (EOI) via their primary school or at our school office will receive invitation letters and the Application Form. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, July 21st, 2021. Students will be needed to take an admission exam, which will be held in the school hall on Monday, August 9, 2021.

Please note that only students who reside in Chatswood High School’s local intake region are eligible to apply.

Normanhurst Boys High School

Normanhurst Boys’ High School (known colloquially as Normo) is an academically rigorous secondary day school for boys situated in the neighbourhood of Normanhurst on Sydney’s Upper North Shore. Academically, it has consistently been rated among the best in the country, with results from the NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC) in 2020 placing it 7th in the state and 12th in Australia, according to Better Education.

The school, which was founded in 1958, serves about 730 students in grades 7 through 12, who are admitted on an academic basis.

It is one of New South Wales’ top 10 schools based on admission requirements.


Normanhurst, like other academically elite institutions, is renowned for its outstanding academic performance in the Higher School Certificate.

The rankings of the school with other schools in the state are shown in the table below.

The rankings are based on the proportion of examinations taken that resulted in a placement on the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards’ Distinguished Achievers List (highest band result) (BOSTES NSW).

The school was ranked 14th in the state in 2010.

normanhurst school ranking


The school is situated on 6.3 hectares of land and is just a five-minute walk from Normanhurst train station. A sports field, four tennis courts, and numerous basketball courts are among the facilities.

The hall, library, music and theatre centre, as well as a jobs office, are all located on the site. There are two entrance gates, one for senior boys and the other for younger boys. Each student has a laptop with internet access through wifi.

The drama centre, which was built as part of an addition to the school’s main structure, was completed in 2017.

North Sydney Boys High School

North Sydney Boys High School (abbreviated as NSBHS) is a government-funded, single-sex, academically selective secondary day school for boys situated in Crows Nest, on Sydney’s Lower North Shore. North Sydney Boys High School was rated third in the state in 2019 based on the proportion of examinations taken that received a Distinguished Achievers award (DA).

Collaborative Practices

At the end of 2019, the shift to shared staffrooms was completed. Throughout 2020, this modification and related room renovations, including the development of breakout areas, allowed faculty cooperation. 

These structural modifications have made it easier for employees from different KLAs to collaborate on programs aimed at increasing literacy, STEM integration, cross-curricular learning units, and problem-based learning. 

Furthermore, a school culture based on collaborative practices has successfully aided the organization of whole-school activities such as presentation assemblies. Staff working near one another in shared staffroom settings has allowed the school to provide a wide range of activities to children both during and outside of school hours. Communication, student well-being, academic advancement (learning assistance), outdoor education, and sports organization, in particular, have benefitted.

Seven Year 7 pupils and two School Learning Support Officers (SLSO) and one teacher were enrolled in the school’s new Support Unit in 2020. With these pupils, the implementation of appropriate curricula began in 2020. The Support Unit’s mission is to offer an education facility for autistic children on the Lower North Shore. The Support Unit uses three former classrooms in C Block that have been transformed into flexible learning spaces.

Overall Progress

With the COVID-19 pandemic requiring efficient use of technology, the infrastructure was evaluated and its usage was improved. With students and faculty working from home, the school community quickly switched to online and remote learning to guarantee long-term, high-quality, and flexible instruction. The school community changed and continues to function successfully by utilizing current teaching practices and encouraging kids to actively participate in the learning process. Staff received specialized training and guidance on how to utilize Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom.

The widespread usage of blended learning models reflects staff’s considerable skill development in the use of accessible technologies, which has resulted in greater trust in the technological infrastructure and ingrained practice. The hiring of a full-time network coordinator boosted the utilization of information and communication technology by adding knowledge, problem-solving skills, and efficiency. The number of employees reporting efficient usage of teaching and learning infrastructure has increased.

The construction of a new gymnasium greatly improved the teaching and learning facilities. The existing gymnasium was doubled in size as a result of this. This construction project, which was finished in 2020, offers a contemporary sports facility to the learning community and promotes students’ overall development. Repurposing classroom rooms to suit the Support Unit was another construction project. The renovation was finished in time for courses to begin in the 2020 academic year.

Students diagnosed with autism were able to successfully transfer to our high school thanks to the modern and welcoming settings. An environmental assessment study by ASPECT and significant collaboration with Schools Infrastructure NSW influenced the changes. The three classrooms have been designed to offer secure and pleasant places for students while also promoting a good learning environment.

North Sydney Girls High School

North Sydney Girls’ High School (abbreviated as NSGHS) is a government-funded single-sex academically selective secondary day school for girls in Crows Nest, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The school, which was founded in 1914, serves about 910 students in grades 7 through 12. Admission to the school is solely dependent on academic performance on the Selective High Schools Test, which pupils in Year 6 take.

North Sydney Girls High School was rated #1 in Australia’s top ten girls’ schools by The Sun-Herald in 2001, based on the number of alumni included in Who’s Who in Australia.


North Sydney Girls is an academically elite high school; Year 7 entrance is based on results from the Selective High Schools exam, which is available to all Year 6 pupils in NSW. 

A limited number of students from other high schools are admitted into years 8 to 12 after submitting an application to appear for an admission test at the institution.

Award system

At North Sydney Girls High School, awards are awarded only based on senior school academic achievement.

Academic results

The school excels in public exams, and recent years has been ranked as New South Wales’ top girls’ school in the Higher School Certificate (HSC) tests. Every year, at least 30% of Year 12 students rank in the top 1% of their class in the HSC.


North Sydney Girls High School is registered and accredited with the New South Wales Board of Studies, and as a result, all students follow the required curriculum.

Hornsby Girls High School

Hornsby Girls’ High School is a government-funded, single-sex, academically selective secondary day school for girls in Hornsby, a neighbourhood on Sydney’s Upper North Shore. Sarah Agnes Angus Brewster was the first principal of the school, which opened in 1930.

Hornsby Girls’ is consistently rated first in the Hornsby area in terms of HSC results and is consistently placed among the top five performing schools in the state.

Three of the school’s languages – Japanese, French, and German – have student exchange programs. Shukutoku Yono in Saitama, Japan, and Graf-Rasso in Furstenfeldbruck, Germany, are their Japanese and German sister schools, respectively, and students from both have visited New Caledonia in recent years.


Computing Studies, English, History, Geography, Languages, Math, Music, Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PD/H/PE), Science, Social Sciences, Technology and Applied Studies (TAS), and Visual Arts are among the school’s 13 faculties.


Students at Hornsby Girls’ may join a variety of musical ensembles, including the Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, and String Orchestra. Smaller musical ensembles, such as the flute choir and numerous chamber ensembles made up of students who already play an instrument and want to participate in extra-curricular musical organizations, are additional options.

The Junior and Senior Vocal Ensembles are two more musical ensembles that compete in a variety of contests, including the MacDonald’s Performing Arts Competition and the School Spectacular. They also made an appearance on Channel 7’s Battle of the Choirs in 2008. A small chamber vocal group was established in 2010 to provide certain students with a small ensemble experience.

Why do families choose selective schools?

According to research, families choose selective institutions for a variety of reasons.

Parents are often attracted to them because their children have high ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) scores. As a result, students will be able to enrol in the university programme of their choosing.

Some migrant parents feel their educational options in their native countries or upon migration were restricted or interrupted. These families may be attracted to high-performing schools that choose bright and hard-working children after they have been established in Australia.

Parents who have immigrated to Australia from other countries often mention a combination of high expectations and future concerns — linked to university entrance, job stability, and workplace racial discrimination — as their primary motivations for selecting elite schools.

Selective schools strive to provide chances for academically gifted students from all walks of life, regardless of their socioeconomic or cultural origins or where they reside. They use a variety of methods to try to embody the equal opportunity concept. The admission exam, for example, includes aptitude-style questions to assess individuals’ inherent talents. Private coaching for the admission examinations is also discouraged.

Regardless, the students that attend selective schools are not typical of the general population. Students from ethnic minorities are disproportionately represented in selective schools.

Final thoughts

Selective schooling yields better results. According to studies, children of similar ability at age 11 had varied outcomes at age 18 depending on whether they attended a selective school or a school with a mix of talents.

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