Selective school

Selective school

A selective school is a school which admits students on the basis of some sort of selection criteria, usually academic. The term may have different connotations in different systems.


New South Wales

In New South Wales, Australia, selective high schools is the name given to the government schools which select their students on the basis of their academic ability. Most students enter a selective high school in Year 7, after sitting the Selective High Schools Test in the previous year. In New South Wales, the process of entering selective schools is much like that of a university, with students electing their preferences and getting chosen for schools based on their performance on the Selective High Schools Test.


In Victoria, Australia, Selective high schools are those which select all of their students based on an entrance examination and/or audition. There are three selective entry schools. Melbourne High School for boys and Mac.Robertson Girls' High School for girls (both run from Years 9-12) admit students based on their performance in an Entrance Examination usually held in June every year. As the schools admit from Year 9 only, many students attend other secondary schools prior to Year 9 and choose to leave because of the outstanding academic reputation of the two schools.

The VCA Secondary School for musicians and dancers (Years 7-12), does not admit students based on entrance examination, but has its own selection process. Some other schools in Victoria are partially selective, but are not referred to as selective schools as such.

The selective schools issue in Victoria was a major talking point in the last election, with both parties (The Liberals and the Australian Labor Party) planning the creation of at least two more selective schools, possibly coeducational.

United Kingdom

Most schools in the UK are now comprehensive schools, which are non-selective.However there are still 164 grammar schools in several counties of England, which select pupils either on the basis of an Eleven Plus examination, by an internally set and moderated examination, or by both.There is also a smaller number of partially selective schools in England.

In Northern Ireland a similar system of grammar schools is in the process of being dismantled by the Northern Ireland Education Order which is going through Westminster.

United States

Selective schools in the United States are typically for the high school level, and are often also specialized schools. In New York, students are required to take the competitive Specialized High Schools Admissions Test prior to possible admittance to one of the schools.

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