So Eton, everything I expected and more

(965 Posts)
JoanBias Fri 02-Nov-12 16:03:27

My DS is at a private school, so I have experience of private schooling, but my word Eton was like another world.

Not just the school, but the people there.

There was one prep school being shown around, all in tweed jackets, and to a boy the spitting image of Draco Malfoy (well there was one Chinese boy, but otherwise....).

One of the mothers doing the tour was not quite right in some respect, I'm not sure how but something wasn't wired up correctly or something. She was immacuately dressed, 6-inch heels (pretty daft considering the confirmation letter warns about having a long walk), but she was just bizarre. The admissions tutor said 'we have a waiting list of 80 boys and typically 35% of these will make it through', and she asked afterwards 'so 80% of the boys from the waiting list make it through?', and it was then explained again, but you could kind of hear the cogs going round and she clearly didn't get it. She had asked several other similar questions; e.g., it was explained that some Houses are catering and others go to a central cafeteria, so she then asked 'so they all eat in the cafeteria'? She pointed at the Fives Court and asked me 'what do they play here?' I said 'Fives' 'Is it squash?', she said. 'No, Eton Fives.' 'So is it squash?' It seemed as if this woman had had the benefit of the 'Finishing School for the Terminally Dim', because she was otherwise every inch the presentable upper middle-class wife.

Another family had a son who looked the prototypical pre-Etonian, and sure enough Daddy spent the tour braying on about his House when he had been there.

The facilities were extremely impressive, although they didn't bother to show us any of the academic parts, and basically the impression was 'if your son is incredibly pushy and self-motivated, send him here and we will teach him to be entitled'. They said 'every year we reject about a third of the highest performers on the test', essentially because they aren't pushy enough. (The House Mistresses seemed quite nice though.)

Fantastic training for future managing directors and whatever, but not for us.....

Well worth it to sign up for a tour, very illuminating. They take about 100 a day from what I can see, so obligation at all....

indefinate Fri 07-Dec-12 23:13:57

hi i am new to this. We as a family have an invite to visit Eton on 1 of its open days, I am very interested in sending ds there, need advice on what to expect..in regards to snobbery, my son already is at local public school in midlands, which is prob nothing like the public schools in London - maybe I feel less confident in going on tour as I wouldnt for start know how to dress ds or even myself as i would not like to have the so called mick taken out for dressing in a certain manner like the poor darling woman in heels pls help

IndridCold Sat 08-Dec-12 08:47:54

The people from the school will be very nice, some of the other prospective parents might be a bit meh, but most will be totally ordinary.

Enjoy your tour!

grovel Sat 08-Dec-12 09:29:09

DS. Smart casual/
You. Ditto.

No-one is judging you.

happygardening Sat 08-Dec-12 09:41:53

Many preps insist their children wear school uniform even on informal visits. You DS wont look out of place if he does and at least you wont have to struggle to create "smart casual."

grovel Sat 08-Dec-12 09:56:16

Agree with HG that uniform is fine.

Copthallresident Sat 08-Dec-12 13:30:27

Just to clarify contextual data is used at offer stage by unis including Cambridge at least www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jan/10/how-cambridge-admissions-really-work Stats being compiled by 1994 unis at the moment are coming out with firm evidence that students admitted from disadvantaged backgrounds as a result of contextual data being considered are still out performing other applicants by a significant margin.

JourneyThroughLife Sat 08-Dec-12 16:39:30

Hi Indefinate, if you are visiting Eton just go dressed smart casual. No-one will be judging you, as someone else has pointed out. Most parents will be ordinary, just wanting the best for their child. There may be a few unusual characters but that's true for any gathering of parents. If you're going on the tour and it's cold weather, dress WARMLY as there's plenty of walking around outside from one building to the next. Ask all the questions you need to ask, Eton takes great trouble to welcome everyone and answer all your queries. If you get as far as paying visits to a selection of boarding houses, understand that there are 25 of them and each has a very different "feel" so your decision should be based on what feels right for your child. Eton is surprisingly non-judgemental about parents and families (despite what the media would have you believe) and only cares that your child is happy to be at Eton and will gain all he can from his time there....

dapplegrey Sat 08-Dec-12 19:41:48

What journeythroughlife says.

JoanByers Sun 09-Dec-12 15:51:21

I would dress smartly, including full school uniform for your son.

PlaySchool Mon 10-Dec-12 13:56:48

Does Eton have bursaries for "well rounded" boys from less affluent backgrounds? Would it be ridiculous to consider sending a poorer boy there?

peteneras Mon 10-Dec-12 14:34:59

Other than Eton, I can think of no other school in the UK and possibly in the whole world that offers a bigger bursary for a well rounded and very bright boy from the very poorest background. There must be at least 10 or 20 boys (my guess) who pays absolutely not a bean at all of the School's £32,000 annual fee. On the contrary, the School pays them for their uniforms and even gives them pocket money! Last year alone Eton spent more than £4 million on scholarships and bursaries.

JoanByers Mon 10-Dec-12 15:06:56

Christ's Hospital specializes in such children.

happygardening Mon 10-Dec-12 18:25:32

"For boys without scholarships the normal maximum level of assistance is half the school fee, but growing funds are now enabling us to make a number of bursary awards beyond that level and indeed to subsidise the fee entirely in cases of need. No parents with a talented boy should feel that Eton is necessarily beyond their means."
Taken directly from Eton website. Scholars are guaranteed more. Others with generous bursary pots are St Paul's but impossibly early registration, places are very fought over and you're DS would have to be a brilliant well rounded boys, Winchester are also very generous average bursary is 60% and some get 100% again to thrive you need to be brilliant although probably less well rounded especially on the sporting field!! As said above Christ's Hospital is definitely worth looking at.

difficultpickle Tue 11-Dec-12 06:04:19

When I spoke to Winchester they were very encouraging about the level of bursaries that are available.

indefinate Tue 08-Jan-13 19:10:43

Thank you all, your help most appreciated.
DS is looking forward to visit but it is a shame that no siblings are not allowed to attend. My 2 daughters were also looking forward on visiting a perspective school for younger bro. I will probably take them there on a paying tour later on in the year - has anybody been in same situation as myself?

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