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....

Narked Fri 02-Nov-12 22:59:16

Yes, but if you sent them to a state school or a private day school you'd actually have to see your DC. Every day. shock

difficultpickle Fri 02-Nov-12 23:00:57

Narked that is the true advantage of boarding, plus not having to do their laundry wink

IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 02-Nov-12 23:05:40

That is another reason that I won't have to consider the "thousands of schools in this country", Narked!

IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 02-Nov-12 23:07:08

Actually, not having to do all of their laundry could be a definite advantage wink.

SirSugar Fri 02-Nov-12 23:07:26

What a bonkers thread

JoanBias Fri 02-Nov-12 23:07:31

We are mostly looking at day schools tbf. But we just want the best school. if that's a boarding school, so be it.

difficultpickle Fri 02-Nov-12 23:09:46

Iwish it is really the true unsung hero of boarding life. I miss ds but I really don't miss doing all his laundry. Eveything is washed and pressed and either put in his sports bag or hung in his wardrobe. It doesn't even get sent home in the holidays grin

difficultpickle Fri 02-Nov-12 23:11:44

Joan there are fab day schools and fab boarding schools. The best school will be the one that is the best fit for your ds. I would have thought a child that is 10/11 will have a pretty clear idea of whether they wanted to board or not.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 02-Nov-12 23:12:05

I think I'll grin and bear doing their laundry and the shirts of the entire rugby team! wink

Pretzelsmakemethirsty Sat 03-Nov-12 04:56:00

Fascinated by the abuse that was dished out to the OP - what bitchiness here! Really, keep the love coming...not!

FernandoIsFaster Sat 03-Nov-12 05:36:05

You are the most sneery, unpleasant sounding op I think I have come across on mumsnet. As for poking fun at the 'terminally dim' you are not coming across as the sharpest tool in the shed yourself.

kerrygrey Sat 03-Nov-12 05:45:36

I love this thread! OP is giving her opinion, and doing so amusingly. She hasn't named the dim mother, and Eton itself can take a bit of mockery. It isn't going reduce the demand from parents who want what Eton offers.

Lavenderhoney Sat 03-Nov-12 05:56:28

Op, is your post to start a thread about parents of children at public school? Are you concerned about the quality of mums you might come into contact with and the standards you require? That is not a good way to choose a school IMO but each to their own. And ridiculing someone for not knowing what 5's is- at least she was asking questions and not caring what people thought of her perceived ignorance. No doubt she had some thoughts about you!

mathanxiety Sat 03-Nov-12 05:57:05

<Fernando, you obviously haven't seen the 'taking the piss out of 4x4s' OP in AIBU.>

Wondering why someone would make a point of something as seemingly insignificant as 'not dressing up for open days'.

FernandoIsFaster Sat 03-Nov-12 07:03:40

But Kerry it's not just Eton that OP is mocking, she spends 2/3 of her initial post poking fun at some woman she deems 'wired up wrong' for wearing high heels confused. If she had just kept her attitude confined to Eton I don't think anyone would have got the same reaction.

FernandoIsFaster Sat 03-Nov-12 07:04:43

Not 'anyone', I meant 'she' - sorry, been up since 5am!

exoticfruits Sat 03-Nov-12 07:32:28

This is a hilarious thread - I can imagine it being read out loud - especially parts like 'Seldon seems insufferably ghastly' - without meeting him!

You are the most sneery, unpleasant sounding op I think I have come across on mumsnet. As for poking fun at the 'terminally dim' you are not coming across as the sharpest tool in the shed yourself.

Woah gosh take a look at your own post!
OP seems fine re: pleasantness, she doesn't seem dim in the slightest! She's being v. v. even tempered in replying to all the, yes, sneery comments. If she were just talking to you in conversation and describing her experience......would you even think what you've written? Doubt it. Just because it's in writing everyone gets all het up.

difficultpickle Sat 03-Nov-12 09:06:28

I think Eton is an unusual choice as it sounds as if the OP was pre-disposed to dislike it. Why waste the time on a tour?

Ds is keen to go there since he saw their gangnam style video. Probably a bit too influenced by that at the moment as he got kept in at breaktime for doing that dance whilst walking between lessons yesterday smile

kerrygrey Sat 03-Nov-12 09:24:13

Fernando - so it's fine to mock a named school (because it's Eton?) but not an anonymous woman? I don't see it that way.

bisjo - I'm somewhat pre-disposed not to like Eton, but I'd love to go on the tour in the hope that it might change my mind.

peteneras Sat 03-Nov-12 09:56:44

”Whereas Eton explicitly said they would reject the brightest boys if they were not 'rounded'.”

OP, that’s not Eton talking. Rather, that’s one housemaster talking. And Eton have 25 housemasters. Each has his own quirks and fancies. In a way, it’s not Eton selecting you, it’s the housemaster selecting you.

But if your boy is really the brightest star, (and I do mean the brightest star) and had for example, never touched a rugby ball or a football in the past 13 years of his life, there is yet an Eton house specially dedicated to such a boy, rounded or otherwise whereby he selects himself. The house is ‘College’.

Mind you, your very bright boy will have to sit some of the very toughest exams a 13-year-old boy will ever sit. And if he’s successful, he walks into Eton as a matter of right and will be known as a King’s Scholar with the initials ‘KS’ attached to his name everytime his name is mentioned at Eton - even long after he’s left the School.

Bessie123 Sat 03-Nov-12 10:02:21

This thread and the fact that Spencer Matthews from mic went there and the 30 grand fees have put me right off Etonian for Ds

Bessie123 Sat 03-Nov-12 10:03:00

Eton, dur

MulledWineOnTheBusLady Sat 03-Nov-12 10:10:16

Well, from subsequent posts it sounds more like she was predisposed to dismiss all the stereotypes and was then a bit shocked to discover some of them seemed to be true.

I'd be put off by the "well-roundedness" at expense of academic ability too, it offends my sense of meritocracy. But then I'm probably a hopeless idealist!

I found it an interesting OP anyway. Bonkersly outside any experience I am ever likely to have, but interesting. What a dull world it would be if we were all the same.

givemeaclue Sat 03-Nov-12 10:23:47

Think you only went for a day out?.. did yet take a picnic and the dog?

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