The Melbourne thing. School scrambles start at 1, that is, if parents want to have options at 12.
This is an intractibly difficult question for us. Beloved and I both had lousy experiences of school, and I struggle with the impression nearly all of them are big old industrial institutions peddling mediocrity while lining up the next generation of worker bees.
We both prefer the idea of public. Neither of us has many good memories of our experiences at the tail end of school where we were bundled off to toffhouses. And there is the ideological ideal of giving all kids a similar basis to start off in life.
But education for its own sake is not prized in Australia and we simply don't trust providence to ensure our nearest school will give Bear a good grounding in literature, music and art, the sciences and history. In fact it appears optional for primary schools to even offer another language.
Beloved got sent to boarding school in part because music wasn't properly taught at her public school. At my cheapo catholic school history was poor, while the arts generally were all but non-existent. And uniqueness was never prized, always hammered back into place.
The toff schools weren't much better, especially not on the last point. And then there was the childish nastiness they inculcated, whether by subtle intent or effect- too many brats, too many parents who couldn't care if the entire world died tomorrow as long as they have a beemer.
So nothing's ideal, and therefore everything's on the table to be considered on its merits. The problem being that if we want to have options, she has to go on the lists now, or it will all be a moot point if come year 7 we look around and see that our nearest public school has no decent arts program, teaches no languages and has a resident gang sporting faux-hawks infecting the front entrance.
So she'll probably end up on a couple of lists, and we'll keep a hopeful eye on the local public, and time will tell...