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This article contains information that is for general information only and should not be used for the basis of making any decisions regarding education or anything else. It is solely the writer’s opinion of the writer’s experience of one open day at the school and the writer’s interactions with the people present on that day. The writer’s article is purely subjective. Facts and information may or may not be complete, accurate, reliable or valid reflection of the school in question.

I encourage you to personally tour the school and meet the educators and students, form your own opinion and leave a comment here.

Best of luck with your search for the perfect school!

As a parent, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing my son’s educational journey. This journey began in an independent school and led him to the heights of selective school and beyond. Allow me to share his story, a narrative that dispels myths and celebrates growth.

The independent school years

In his independent school, my son consistently excelled. His NAPLAN scores were impressive, and he aced ICAS exams with high distinctions. Awards from the Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC) adorned our mantelpiece. Life in the independent school was comfortable, predictable, and safe.

The selective school exam

In Year 8, curiosity nudged at his sleeves. The allure of selective schools beckoned. He felt that Selective School will give him more challenges, would help him further his ambitions and help him grow. Armed with sharpened pencils and a racing heart, he sat the Selective School exam. The outcome? A golden ticket—an entry into Melbourne High School (MHS) for Year 9.

MHS: Where remarkable meets resilient

At MHS, my son stepped into a world teeming with remarkable minds. His peers—math prodigies, budding scientists, and eloquent debaters—became his comrades.

Together, they navigated rigorous academics, extracurricular pursuits, and late-night study sessions. Friendships blossomed—a tapestry woven with shared dreams and late-night pizza runs.

But MHS wasn’t just about textbooks. It was a canvas for characters. My son donned the Air Force Cadets uniform—a badge of discipline, leadership, and physical endurance. Marching drills, survival camps, and early morning reveilles, ANZAC Day Parades. —these forged resilience and camaraderie. The sky was no longer the limit; it was the Launchpad.

Yet, let’s not forget the daily pilgrimage. My son’s journey to MHS wasn’t a mere hop, skip, and jump. It was a marathon—a one-and-a-half-hour trek each way. The train tracks became his second home. And he wasn’t alone. Some of his fellow students, hailing from regional areas, rode V-Line trains every day. Their determination fuelled the locomotives.

Beyond MHS: Rocketing into aerospace engineering

As the MHS chapter closed, another began. Monash University welcomed him—a fresh canvas, waiting for strokes of ambition. He chose Aerospace Engineering—a symphony of aerodynamics, propulsion, and celestial dreams. His days now revolve around wind tunnels, CFD simulations, and rocketry.

And there, in the heart of Monash, he found his tribe—the High-Powered Rocketry Engineering team. Together, they design, build, and launch rockets. The thrill of countdowns, the roar of engines, and the ascent into the blue—these are their symphony.

One day he hopes he can make a difference with the skills as an aerospace engineer, and maybe send something to space in the process.

Lifelong bonds: The brotherhood of MHS

But wait, there’s more. The friends he made at MHS would shape him for life. Many of them walked the same university corridors, shared late-night coffee runs during exams, and debated the mysteries of the universe. They weren’t just friends; they became a brotherhood—a constellation of shared memories and dreams.

These MHS mates still meet regularly. They embark on trips around the world, their laughter echoing across continents. They celebrate victories, console each other during setbacks, and remind one another that the sky—the vast, boundless sky—is theirs to explore.

Advice for parents considering selective schools

For parents considering sending their kids to Selective Schools, it’s crucial to ensure their children can handle the accelerated and wider curriculum of a Selective School for the long term.

Additionally, it’s essential to help them emotionally understand that there will always be someone better than them and encourage them to consistently strive to be their best, at the same time know their limitations.

While Selective Schools are more suitable for academically advance student, there are some exceptions. In the words of a former Melbourne High principal, those who entered the school via non-academic processes “punch way above their weight.” Their drive for excellence and hard work indeed makes a difference, but it’s not an easy journey. They must work much harder than their peers to achieve similar results. Mentally tough, they handle setbacks and strive to keep up. In the end, they persevere. While keeping pace with their peers may be challenging, they don’t easily give up. Like their “gifted” counterparts, they are truly remarkable individuals. Surviving in such schools doesn’t require giftedness, but it does demand special abilities and strong resilience.

Why choose selective school in Victoria?

Selective Schools in Victoria boast some of the most qualified teachers in the Victorian public school system. These include former professionals such as accountants, engineers, renowned photographers, national-level sporting coaches, and lawyers with professional experience. Many teachers hold master’s degrees, and some have PhD qualifications. Additionally, some of them teach part-time at universities.

As a parent, I once harboured scepticism about Selective Schools. Worries plagued my mind: Would my son feel out of place transitioning from the top tier of his comprehensive school to a Selective School? Could he thrive in this new environment? However, after extensive research and witnessing my son’s journey, my perspective underwent a profound transformation.

Selective Schools are more than mere academic institutions; they are crucibles for character development, leadership cultivation, and the nurturing of future leaders. Here’s what I’ve come to appreciate:

  • Holistic Growth: Selective Schools extend beyond textbooks and exams. They foster resilience, teamwork, and adaptability. Students learn to navigate challenges, both academic and personal.
  • Peer Support: The camaraderie among students is remarkable. They uplift one another, forming a tight-knit community. Whether it’s tackling a tough assignment or participating in extracurricular activities, they stand together.
  • Leadership Opportunities: Selective Schools provide platforms for students to lead. From student councils to organizing events, these experiences shape confident, capable leaders.
  • Beyond the ATAR: While academic excellence matters, it isn’t the sole measure of success. Selective Schools emphasize character, empathy, and social responsibility.
  • Parental Balance: As parents, we must strike a delicate balance. Encourage without pressure. Celebrate achievements, but also recognize that each child’s journey is unique. Remember, Selective Schools don’t magically make students smarter. Rather, they amplify existing abilities and provide fertile ground for growth. Let us guide our children with wisdom, allowing them to flourish in this enriching environment.

Misconceptions about selective schools

Let’s explore some common misconceptions about Selective Schools:

Monoculture Refuge for the Well-Off:

  • Misconception: Selective schools are often perceived as havens exclusively for high-achieving students from affluent families.
  • Reality: While some selective schools may exhibit this trend, it’s essential to recognize that diversity exists within these institutions. Students come from various backgrounds, and the focus extends beyond academics.

Miraculous Transformation:

  • Misconception: There’s a belief that attending a selective school will magically transform any student into an academic prodigy.
  • Reality: Selective schools amplify existing abilities but won’t fundamentally alter a student’s core aptitude. They provide opportunities for growth but don’t perform miracles.

Overemphasis on Academics:

  • Misconception: Selective schools are solely about achieving high ATAR scores.
  • Reality: These schools emphasize holistic development. They nurture character, leadership skills, and social responsibility alongside academics.

In summary, understanding the nuanced reality of selective schools is crucial. They offer unique opportunities but aren’t a panacea. Let’s encourage informed choices and celebrate the multifaceted growth these schools provide!

Australia’s lucky stars

Our kids in Australia are extremely fortunate. The sky is not the limit for them; they can truly reach for the stars. Education isn’t just about numbers or accolades. It’s about nurturing hearts and minds. My son’s journey—from an independent school to MHS to the skies—taught me that growth transcends boundaries. It’s not magic; it’s resilience, friendship, and the pursuit of the stars. We must never forget it is our duty to nurture our children to become the best they can be.

So, fellow parents, let’s celebrate our children’s growth. Let’s guide them wisely, knowing that education isn’t a destination—it’s a constellation of moments that shape futures.

Note: This article is my opinion only as a parent inspired by my son’s real-life journey through selective school.

This article celebrates the transformative power of education and aims to inspire parents and students alike. If you have your own stories to share, feel free to comment below!

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  1. Hi Raymond,

    Thanks for sharing your son journey to a selective school. It was insightful and educational, especially as we are immigrants ourselves and is not very versed in the Education system here in Victoria.
    Please can I ask, if your son attended any coaching classes? I have been told that it’s important to send kids to these classes to prepare for the selective school exams. I like you, feel like it could be very intense for my son and want to support him without being a tiger mum. I want him to enjoy learning but also understand that this exam is an entrance exam and will need that dedicated preparation which my son will not do on his own. I’m confused and unsure what would be the best way to support him. Any insights would be greatful.

  2. Raymond Ng says:

    That’s an excellent question! My son’s preparation for the Selective School Exam consisted of just one mock exam provided by an organization specializing in such exams. This mock exam was conducted live, with other students participating in a hall setting. Additionally, when my son was in Year 7, he encountered some challenging maths questions that we couldn’t answer at home. Consequently, we enrolled him in tutoring to seek the solutions. Regrettably, the tutoring process extended over two terms before he finally received the answers he needed. However, later on, he discovered Eddie Woo’s Maths videos, which provided him with comprehensive explanations for free!

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