Find and select a high school
Most NSW public high schools have a catchment zone or local enrolment area. If you live inside a school’s enrolment area, your child is guaranteed a place at that school.
Your child can go to a school outside your catchment zone only if that school has places available.
Applications for placement outside your local enrolment area usually require separate forms and need to be submitted by a cut-off date. Check with the specific school for more details.
Types of high schools
There are different types of government high schools:
- local comprehensive high schools accept all students who live in the local enrolment area. They also accept other students outside the area if there are spots available
- selective high schools accept students who achieve the highest results in the selective high school placement test. Applications for year 5 students are available in October and tests are held the following March
- specialist high schools focus on a subject area like languages, performing arts, sports or technology. In some schools, the application process may include a performance or audition
- central schools are combined primary and high schools, usually found in rural and isolated areas
NSW Public School Finder online tool
The NSW Department of Education’s online School Finder helps locate schools in your local enrolment area.
You can enter your home address or search by a school’s name. There are other filtering options available as well as guidelines on how to use the School Finder.
Rural and remote students
The School Finder lists schools within 105km of your home.
If you live further than this from your nearest public school, you can find more information at the Rural and Distance Education website.
How to choose a school
To help determine if a school is the best fit for you and your child, you could:
Attend an open day
Research the school online
Talk to parents of current students
Make an appointment with the principal to discuss any questions in person
Depending on the number of schools in your local enrolment area, you may want to consider:
- the school’s reputation in the local community
- its location and how close it is to where you live and public transport
- its academic performance
- any specific educational programs or curriculum focus, like catering for children with disability or additional learning needs
- the school culture and best fit for your child
- extracurricular activities
- how technology is used in the classrooms
- services for students from non-English speaking backgrounds
- the general condition of the buildings, classrooms and playgrounds