There are a number of schools that focus on special areas of the curriculum, or on developing children's unique talents.
There are a number of schools in New South Wales that focus on special areas of the curriculum, including sports high schools, creative and performing arts high schools, technology high schools and language high schools within the NSW public school system. Enrolment depends on the student meeting special requirements, and schools aim to provide students with the opportunity to excel in their area of interest by providing specialised resources and learning programs.
Special interest schools simultaneously enable students to balance their special interest with the core curriculum and academic studies, enabling students to graduate with their HSC. Independent schools may also focus on specific areas of the curriculum, with The McDonald College (an independent Kindergarten Year 12 school with a focus on academic achievement and performing arts) providing a good example. Various other schools may run a standard curriculum but offer special programs to develop certain talents.
Another option is AIM the Australian Institute of Music. AIM is the country's leading music school and offers an advanced curriculum for students who want a career in music. The school provides degree and diploma courses in contemporary and classical performance, and theory and composition, as well as related subjects including acting, drama and musical theatre. For those looking for something more technology-based, AIM also has music production, management and audio engineering courses.
The Queensland Academies are three specialist state schools for high-achieving Year 10 12 students. These schools offer the International Baccalaureate and their partnerships with universities provide a range of tertiary entrance benefits. Entry is granted subject to performance in a Student Entry Test and interview. The schools include:
- Queensland Academy of Science, Mathematics and Technology (partnered with the University of Queensland)
- Queensland Academy for Creative Industries (partnered with Queensland University of Technology)
- Queensland Academy for Health Sciences (partnered with Griffith University).
The most established special interest school in Victoria is the specialist Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School, which admits students on the basis of an audition and/or folio and interview. In addition, the John Monash Science School, a specialist science and mathematics school, opened in 2010. Various other schools run a standard curriculum but offer special programs to develop certain talents, such as Maribyrnong College's special sports academy.