Selective school

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A selective school is a school that admits students on the basis of some sort of selection criteria, usually academic. The term may have different connotations in different systems and is the opposite of a comprehensive school, which accepts all students, regardless of aptitude.


The split between selective and comprehensive education is usually at secondary level; primary education is rarely selective. At the university level, selection is almost universal, but a few institutions practice open admissions or open-door enrollment, allowing students to attend regardless of prior qualification.[ clarification needed ]


New South Wales

In New South Wales, selective high schools are government schools that select students on the basis of academic ability. Most students enter a selective high school in Year 7, after sitting the Selective High Schools Test in the previous year. The process of entering selective schools is much like that of a university, with students electing their preferences and being chosen for schools based on their performance on the Selective High Schools Test. [1]

Compared to the other states, New South Wales has many more selective schools than other states, (see List of selective high schools in New South Wales).


In Victoria, Australia, selective high schools select all of their students based on an entrance examination. As of 2011 there are four selective schools: Melbourne High School, Mac.Robertson Girls' High School, Nossal High School and Suzanne Cory High School. [2] In addition there are a number of special schools, including: Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School, John Monash Science School, and Elizabeth Blackburn School of Sciences, which cater to students opting for focused education in Arts and Science.


In Queensland, there are four selective entry high schools: Brisbane State High School, which is partially selective and formed in 1921, and the three Queensland Academies, which are fully selective and were formed in 2007/8. All require entry based on academic entry tests, Naplan results, primary school grades, interviews and other considerations. In 2005, the premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie announced as part of the Smart State Strategy the additional creation of the Queensland Academies "as an innovative alternative educational program for highly capable high school students." [3] There are three Queensland Academies for students Years 10 to 12 and all study the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program [4] which in 2019 had a yearly fee of $2,291.45. [5] In 2019 QASMT additionally opened entry to grade 7 students. [6] Brisbane State High School is for Years 7 to 12 and does not have an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program fee, although a fee is payable (less than $260 in 2019), [7] with its membership in the Great Public Schools Association of Queensland and Queensland Girls' Secondary Schools Sports Association.

The Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology (QASMT) at Toowong was opened in 2007. It has a partnership with the University of Queensland at St Lucia. The Queensland Academy for Creative Industries (QACI) at Kelvin Grove opened in 2007. It has a partnership with the Queensland University of Technology Creative Industries Precinct at Kelvin Grove. The Queensland Academy for Health Sciences opened on the Gold Coast (QAHS) in 2008. It has a partnership with Griffith University at the Gold Coast.[ citation needed ] In the University of NSW ICAS competition for 2018, university medals (The highest result in the state) were awarded to: Brisbane State High School 13 Medal/s, QASMT 1 Medal/s, QACI 0 Medal/s and QAHS 1 Medal/s. [8] [9] In the same competition for 2017 university medals were awarded to Brisbane State High School 12 Medal/s, QASMT 1 Medal/s, QACI 0 Medal/s and QAHS 0 Medal/s. [10] In 2018 in Queensland there were 733 OP 1's Overall Position (The highest possible result high school graduates can receive in Queensland and a 99+ ATAR.) out of which 67 (9.14% of the Queensland total) were achieved at Brisbane State High School. [9]

Western Australia

In Western Australia, selective secondary education (officially named Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)) is operated by the Western Australian Department of Education through the Gifted and Talented Selective Entrance Programs for Year 7, and subject to limited placement availability for year-levels upward to Year 11. [11] All applicants are required to sit the Academic Selective Entrance Test and possibly complete combined interviews, auditions and/or workshops depending on the program(s) applied for. [12] The programs are categorized into three strands: academic, language, and arts. [13] Eighteen state schools participate in the Gifted and Talented Programs, each specializing in one of the strands. [14] All participating schools are partially selective and partially local intake, with the exception of Perth Modern School which is fully selective. [15]

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 are no selective state schools in Scotland or Wales, however some of their independent schools may require an entrance test to gain admission. [16]

Some formerly Grant Maintained schools were selective by means of exams, tests, interviews; or a combination of all three. Three notable examples of highly selective Grant Maintained schools were St Olave's Grammar School, The John Fisher School in Surrey and The London Oratory School in Fulham, London.[ citation needed ]

These Local Education Authorities continue to maintain a fully selective education system: [17]

Several other LEAs have a mainly non-selective system but a few selective schools exist alongside their comprehensive counterparts, these are; Barnet, Birmingham, Bromley, Calderdale, Cumbria, Devon, Enfield, Essex, Gloucestershire, Kirklees, Lancashire, Liverpool, North Yorkshire, Plymouth, Redbridge, Stoke-on-Trent, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Wolverhampton, Telford and The Wrekin. [17]

There are also a smaller number of partially selective schools in England. [17]

In Northern Ireland, secondary education is predominantly based on academic selection, although a number of comprehensive schools also exists. Selection is carried out by an exam taken in the final year of Primary school. A significant number of secondary schools in Northern Ireland cater only for male or for female pupils. In addition, there is a parallel system of Catholic schools, with a parallel selection system.[ citation needed ]

United States

Selective schools in the United States are typically high school level, and are often also specialized schools. In New York City, students must take the competitive Specialized High Schools Admissions Test prior to possible admittance to one of the schools. Though many selective schools are of the high school level, there are also schools which provide to lower aged students. One example is the Logan School for Creative Learning in Colorado which admits students 1st-8th grade mainly by IQ testing.[ citation needed ]


The German public school system is fundamentally selective after four years of elementary school. The selective Gymnasium (grades 5 through 12 or 13, depending on the state) is supposed to prepare pupils for university. The German Realschule is also a selective school, though with lower requirements, ending at grade 10.

The pros and cons of a selective school system are a constant issue in discussions about German schools, while many parents take strong efforts to make their children attend Gymnasium.

Attendance of Gymnasium had strongly increased in the second part of the 20th century to the majority of pupils in many areas. As a consequence, mainly pupils with rather low aptitudes remained for the non-selective Hauptschule, traditionally the third main tier (and originally the main tier) of the German school system. Some German federal states have abolished the three-tier system in favour of a combination of Realschule and Hauptschule, starting about 1997. Such non-selective schools are called differently, e.g. "advanced Realschule" or the "Realschule Plus", Sekundarschule or Integrierte Sekundarschule. [ citation needed ]


NODET, also known as SAMPAD, schools are national selective schools (middle and high school level) in Iran developed specifically for the development of exceptionally-talented students. The organization was first founded in 1976, as the National Iranian Organization for Gifted and Talented Education (NIOGATE). These schools were shut down for a few years after the revolution but later reopened. In 1988 the organization was renamed to National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents.

Admission to NODET schools is selective and based on a comprehensive nationwide entrance examination procedure. Every year thousands of students apply to enter, the schools, but less than 5% are chosen. All applicants must have a minimum GPA of 19 (out of 20) for attending the entrance exam. In 2006, 87,081 boys and 83,596 girls from 56 cities applied, and 6,888 students were accepted for the 2007 middle schools.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Education in Australia encompasses the sectors of early childhood education (preschool) and primary education, followed by secondary education, tertiary education (universities and Registered Training Organisations. Regulation and funding of education is primarily the responsibility of the States and territories, however the Australian Government also plays a funding role. Education in Australia is compulsory between the ages of four, five, or six and fifteen, sixteen or seventeen, depending on the state or territory and the date of birth.

Grammar school Type of school in the United Kingdom and some other countries

A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching Latin, but more recently an academically oriented secondary school, differentiated in recent years from less academic secondary modern schools. The main difference is that a grammar school may select pupils based on academic achievement whereas a secondary modern may not.

The Tripartite System was the arrangement of state-funded secondary education between 1945 and the 1970s in England and Wales, and from 1947 to 2009 in Northern Ireland. It was an administrative implementation of the Education Act 1944 and the Education Act 1947.

Gifted education is a broad group of special practices, procedures, and theories used in the education of children who have been identified as gifted or talented.

State schools or public schools are generally primary or secondary schools that educate all children without charge. They are funded in whole or in part by taxation. State funded schools exist in virtually every country of the world, though there are significant variations in their structure and educational programmes. State education generally encompasses primary and secondary education.

A comprehensive school typically describes a secondary school for pupils aged approximately 11–18, that does not select its intake on the basis of academic achievement or aptitude, in contrast to a selective school system where admission is restricted on the basis of selection criteria, usually academic performance. The term is commonly used in relation to England and Wales, where comprehensive schools were introduced as state schools on an experimental basis in the 1940s and became more widespread from 1965. With the Blair educational reforms from 2003, they may be part of a local education authority or be a self governing academy or part of a multi-academy trust.

A secondary modern school is a type of secondary school that existed throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 1944 until the 1970s under the Tripartite System. Schools of this type continue in Northern Ireland, where they are usually referred to as secondary schools, and in areas of England, such as Buckinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Wirral,.

Brisbane State High School School in South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Brisbane State High School is a partially selective, co-educational, state secondary school, located in South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It is a member of the Great Public Schools Association of Queensland, and the Queensland Girls' Secondary Schools Sports Association.It was the first state secondary school established in Brisbane, as well as the first academic state high school to be founded in Queensland. The school employs a variety of selection criteria for prospective students, maintaining a quota for local area enrolments, however also using academic, sporting, cultural and artistic talents as means of determining the annual intake.

The grammar schools debate is a debate about the merits and demerits of the existence of grammar schools in the United Kingdom. Grammar schools are state schools which select their pupils on the basis of academic ability, with pupils sitting an exam in the last year of primary school to determine whether or not they gain a place. The debate on selective education has been widened by measures which allow a proportion of students to be chosen based on their "aptitude" for a particular subject.

Perth Modern School School in Subiaco, Western Australia

Perth Modern School is a public co-educational academically selective high school, located in Subiaco, an inner city suburb of Perth, Western Australia. Perth Modern is Western Australia's only fully academically selective public school. Established in 1911, the school is both the oldest public high school and the oldest co-educational high school in Western Australia (WA).

Selective school (New South Wales)

Selective schools in New South Wales, Australia are government high schools operated by the New South Wales Department of Education that accept their students based upon their academic merit.

A Select Entry Accelerated Learning (SEAL) program is a form of streaming used in government secondary schools in Victoria, Australia to provide a focused educational environment for academically gifted children.

Comet Bay College is a public co-educational high school, located in Secret Harbour, 56 kilometres (35 mi) south of Perth, Western Australia. Established in 2006 at the premises now occupied by Comet Bay Primary School, the College moved to its present location south of the primary school in 2007. In 2020 the school for the first time ranked academically within the top ten public secondary schools in the state.

Education in Western Australia Overview of the education in Western Australia

Education in Western Australia consists of public and private schools in the state of Western Australia, including public and private universities and TAFE colleges. Public school education is supervised by the Department of Education, which forms part of the Government of Western Australia. The School Curriculum and Standards Authority is an independent statutory authority responsible for developing a curriculum and associated standards in all schools, and for ensuring standards of student achievement, and for the assessment and certification according to those standards.

Queensland Academy for Health Sciences Public (selective entry) school in Gold Coast, Queensland

The Queensland Academies - Health Sciences Campus (QAHS) is a Queensland State Government selective entry high school located on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. QAHS offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program to students in years 11 and 12, and is also open to year 10 students, who study a preparation program for the IBDP. The school aims to attract students wanting to enter the scientific, medical and health-related industries, and is only open to the state's 'best and brightest high school students'.

The Canterbury Academy Academy in Canterbury, Kent, England

The Canterbury Academy is a co-educational 11-19 academy school in Canterbury, Kent, England. It is a specialist Sports College and 15% of its 1081 pupils are selected on musical aptitude. The school was founded as a non-selective secondary modern foundation school before gaining academy status in 2010.

History of state education in Queensland

The history of state education in Queensland commences with the Moreton Bay penal settlement of New South Wales in Australia, which became the responsibility of the Queensland Government after the Separation of Queensland from New South Wales in 1859.

Harrisdale Senior High School School in Perth, Western Australia

Harrisdale Senior High School is an Independent Public secondary school in the City of Armadale, located at Laverton Crescent in Harrisdale, a suburb 21 kilometres (13 mi) south of Perth, Western Australia.


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