School systems (was dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #929

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at
Sun Dec 19 15:10:25 EST 2004

--- Emma Comerford <emmaco at> wrote:
> I've never heard of these specialist schools - are
> they a state school 
> thing in NSW? They sound interesting but also weird
> - I didn't even know 
> how much I loved languages when I was 11, although
> it would have been very 
> clear I wasn't qualified to a sports high school!

These specialist Highs are a NSW phenomena, although
they may be repeated in other states. There have
always been selective high schools in NSW although
twenty years ago they were being abolished, but then,
instead, they were suddenly expanded about 15 years
ago. The technology high schools started about the
same time, and the other specialist schools followed
after that. I think there are only two Performing Arts
schools and only a few sports schools in the state.
Another type is the Agricultural High School, which
have always been around, and are boarding schools
usually in country areas. There is one of these in
Sydney which is also a selective school and has had
the best name of any school in the State, public or
private (although a bit tarnished in the last couple
of years). In my teaching career I have taught in a
Technology High School, and know that although
meaningful for a few years that appelation is
meaningless now for that particular school. Both
daughters went to specialist schools. The elder to the
Performing Arts school for her final two years
(because the local school [at which I now teach]
couldn't offer her music for the HSC) and the younger
to the selective school. While I don't think they were
scarred by the experiences they didn't really benefit
from them either.


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