There was a bit of a fuss about those Aussie girls that were not allowed to attend a school ball. Maybe because one of them was underage for the ball, maybe because they wanted to go as partners. Thing is, I believe the girls; especially since the school insists on emphasizing that the event was for heterosexuals "but we don't discriminate". The student can attend the ball, but her same-sex date cannot join her. I think it is clear that a same sex date would not be acceptable even of the right age, remember: dancing together does not mean sleeping together.
The revealing part for me was that it was a private Catholic all-girls school. I've experienced those. This sort of doublespeak is normal. But the thing to realize about these posh schools is that their balls are all about breeding. The idea is to get the girls to mix with "the right sort of boy" in the hope that they will marry well and have the right sort of kids. It's all very Jane Austin.
Nobody talks about it like that though. Instead they talk about providing social experience. And this is important - however, secondary school children are quite capable of going to the mall or wherever outside school hours. It wasn't a boarding school. If you are serious about social education, you make your school co-educational.
Some people question whether a 16yo even has a sexuality at that age. Yet this point is moot surely? After all, sexuality was the primary entry requirement for the ball. Heterosexual girls could bring a date. Yet why are these girls being labelled "heterosexual" if their sexuality has not developed?
The age limit excuse was a good one and the school could have avoided a lot of bother just by invoking it. However, I doubt they wanted to open the door to same-sex couples at an event which is supposed to support the breeding-stock approach to upper-class reproduction.
There are good schools which provide a decent education, but most are all about providing the next generation of supporting wives for powerful husbands. Academic excellence is assured by filtering the intake of new students to the ones that are almost certain to succeed. I have seen one where admission to the senior school (where national exams are taken) is restricted to top performers in the junior school.
It is very hard to judge schools - the ones with the best education can take poor students and make C students out of them. The top schools take A students and make A+ students out of them.