It’s the time of year when many kids in year 6 are starting to hear if they have been accepted into selective schools for next year.
Choosing a high school is not the simple process it once was. In the 1980s, in my town, you went to the local high school or the Catholic high school. If you grew up in the city, you also had private high schools to choose from, and there were a few academically selective schools.
But a lot of normal comprehensive high schools have academic selective streams these days, and there are other selective schools for sport, performing arts and visual arts.
A few years ago my eldest daughter went through the audition process for a performing arts selective school. At the end of the audition, the school put up the short lists for each audition group. The kids and their parents scrambled over to see if their name was on the list, or if their dreams of attending were immediately dashed. There were elated squeals and jumping, and there were tears. It was like in Fame, but these kids were 11 and 12. Pretty intense.
I remember one little boy, when asked by a mate if he was short-listed, saying a bit defensively, “no, but that’s ok, because I got into [visual arts selective high school] already”.
He could have gone to that visual arts high school anyway and enjoyed all the same benefits without having to be accepted into the visual arts stream, but there is some cachet attached to being ‘accepted’.
There is also disappointment to deal with in being ‘rejected’. I can’t imagine what it would have felt like when I was 11 years old to be rejected by a school. It’s a tough old world out there now for kids! You might perhaps argue that it’s a good lesson in learning to deal with disappointing outcomes, but that’s relying on parents being able to turn it into a positive for their kids.
Have you been through a selection process with any of your kids? How did they handle it?