Entry easier at Merewether selective school

COMPETITION to get into the Hunter's only selective high school next year is expected to be fierce, but far less than at its Sydney counterparts.NSW Education Department data has revealed entrance score cut-off marks for Merewether High in 2008 were in the bottom quarter of NSW.There are 686 year six students in the Hunter preparing to sit the entrance exam next Thursday for one of 180 places in 2010 at the exclusive high school.Students needed a score of 187 out of 300 last year to gain a place at Merewether High in 2009, which placed it 21st out of 28 selective schools in NSW.Merewether was in front of Gosford High where students needed a mark of 184, but was behind schools such as Penrith High, Northern Beaches Secondary College and Hornsby Girls High School.James Ruse Agricultural High School set the highest standard, students needing an entrance mark of 240.More than 12,800 students across NSW last year vied for 3500 places at 17 selective high schools, nine high schools with selective classes and four agricultural high schools.From 2010 there will be 600 extra selective places in 14 new partially selective high schools at places such as Gorokan, Armidale and Grafton.The NSW Education Department said minimum entry scores varied from year to year."The minimum entry score is determined by the geographical location of the schools and the academic merit of the students applying for entry," a department spokesman said.Selective high school entry is not based entirely on test results but a student's marks in maths and English at school.Merewether High achieves some of the best results in the Higher School Certificate in the region.