Fran Cusworth writes journalism and fiction. Her latest novel is The Near Miss.
It’s a weekday morning and I’m being serenaded with a Bach string sonata by two senior students, in one of Melbourne’s better private schools. In the process of choosing a school for my 12-year-old son, I have turned up – along with about 300 others – to take a tour. Sun falls through arched windows onto the crimson carpet, original artwork hangs on the walls, and a grand piano (one of ten in the school) sits open in the corner. I’m juggling a cup and saucer, as well as nine separate full-colour brochures, one that runs to 45 pages. These detail the school’s features: a cattle station campus in the outback, a Year 9 residential campus in country Victoria, alumni who include two former prime ministers, 13 Rhodes scholars and five serving Supreme Court judges. I’m starting to wish I hadn’t worn thongs.
The principal thanks the students, who are leaving for their European...
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