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The NSW Department of Education is planning an overhaul of its procedures for selective school placement as part of a review of its gifted and talented policy, its Secretary Mark Scott has told a conference at UNSW Sydney.

Delivering a keynote address at the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children Biennial Conference, hosted by UNSW’s School of Education, Mr Scott said the revised policy would improve equity and extend the identification of gifted and high-potential students.

Mr Scott said the rise in private tutoring and coaching for opportunity classes and selective schools had coincided with a decline in the proportion of low SES students gaining entry to selective schools.

And he noted that the policy review came against a backdrop of a slide in performance among high achievers on international and national assessments, with Australia lagging behind some major English-speaking economies like the US and England and well behind major Asian high achievers.

"We’d like to explore more how we can ensure that bright students have a chance to reach – and exceed – their potential regardless of their postcode,” he said.

The full text of Mark Scott’s speech can be found here.

See more coverage of the conference here and here.