News reports indicate that Lenovo IdeaPad S10e netbooks with Windows XP have been selected for NSW secondary school students. While it would seem that Linux misses out, the retail IdeaPads also come with "Splashtop", an instant on version of Linux with simplified applications.
The IdeaPad has had mixed reviews, but should stand up to student use more than many portable computers. The first batch will have Windows XP installed. This is supposed to be later upgraded to Windows 7, but that would be a very complex undertaking. If the netbooks also come with Linux, then a better option might be to upgrade that and keep Windows XP, for legacy applications.
While not specifically designed for students, Splashtop's simplified interface has similarities to the OLPC's Sugar child friendly graphical user interface and so may be better for education. Splashtop may also be less demanding of system resources, allowing the limited capacity of the netbook to perform better. It would also be immune to the many Windows security attacks.