Eaton House Belgravia

(25 Posts)
Firsttimer08 Mon 23-Sep-13 17:47:45

Any parents with DS's at EHB? Just wanting to find out views on the school. We are considering moving our DS, given the school's excellent record of 7+ and 8+ placements. I am a bit torn about moving DS from his lovely pre-prep (which also prepares for 7+ but cannot match the record of EHB). Re: EHB itself, I am wondering how much of this is due to any outside tutoring that goes along the side or the ability of the student itself.

While it is entirely (theoretically) possible to gain 7+ entry from almost any school, do you think we would be dramatically increasing the odds by going to EHB? In short, is it worth uprooting DS in Reception year - especially as we would have to travel farther and find new after-school collection arrangements.

TiddlerTiddler Mon 23-Sep-13 22:41:19

You are mad. If you are in a good school that prepares them well then if he is a good candidate he will get in. I wouldn't dream of moving him if he is happy where he is.

Unexpected Mon 23-Sep-13 22:56:09

Are you talking about moving your son after only three weeks in school? That seems a bit.... dramatic... particularly as you presumably gave some considerable thought to your original school choice.

Firsttimer08 Tue 24-Sep-13 08:42:36

yes it does seem mad. The only thing to qualify is that his current pre-prep does prepare for 7+ but I would not say it prepares well. Its leavers' results are good but not excellent. We have been there since nursery (so for a few years), but only now started hearing from parents in the circle with older children regarding their reservations about the 7+ preparation at DS's current school. For this reason we started exploring our options.

So anyone with an experience of the school who can provide an insider's view?

nicename Tue 24-Sep-13 08:57:01

Its a lot more that the school prep that gets kids into their chosen school. Its so early that you can't possibly know which school will suit the child at 7 or 8+

I haven't heard particularly great things about EH. Does your current school go throigh to 11 or 13+?

mrsshackleton Tue 24-Sep-13 09:20:04

It's a mad idea, if he is happy leave him where he is and don't buy into the 7+ hysteria.

Firsttimer08 Tue 24-Sep-13 11:22:35

DS's school only goes up to Yr 2 as well. I agree - if he is good then I think he should be able to get a place with the right amount of support from us i.e. practice tests etc. However, DH is insisting on this move as he believes that schools leavers' results and connections of the head with other top schools also matters. I think it is a mad idea uprooting DS. He is very attached to his school and everytime I even mention him leaving he gets teary - as he has been there since his 2nd birthday !

nice name what has you heard about EH?

mrsshackleton Tue 24-Sep-13 12:25:01

Stand firm on this one. Moving a happy child when there's no need, beyond a perceived advantage in an exam, is a recipe for disaster. I've seen so many parent do it and regret it. How will you feel if your ds still doesn't win a place at your preferred school? He'll have to move again at 7, that's a lot of changes for a child. I really would stand firm on this. Having witnessed a lot of 7+ dramas, certain children are just right for the "top" schools and no amount of prepping from school/parents/tutors can alter this at this age.

nicename Tue 24-Sep-13 13:03:43

Heads change, as do teachers. Has your school a high staff turnaround?

There are no guarantees in this life, and you may find getting in tough at this stage. If it goes only to 8+ then you have all your eggs in the one basket - better to have a school to 11 or 13+ in case of late blooming, bad test results, illness, etc.

I've heard its pushy mcpushy with sharp elbows. I find that some schools seem to have happy, bright kids, and some have door-faced rude ones.

jokebook Tue 24-Sep-13 13:23:44

I'm with Mrs Shackleton on this one. Don't move him, given you're going to have to move him anyway at the end of year 2.At that stage I would have him down for a school that goes to 13 that prepares for both 11+ and 13+ and also enter him into some 7/8+ exams to appease your DH who's "insisting" on this move. You can always prepare him for the 7/8+ at home yourself or get a tutor. I looked round one prep school that prepared the DC for 7/8+ and frankly was horrified by how stifled the environment was and how narrow the curriculum was in order to get the DC through the exam hoop so early. At least at 11 or 13 they have had some life experience and have a track record academically to point you in the right direction of the right school for your child.

Which school is your DS at?!!

nicename Tue 24-Sep-13 13:26:54

Oh that sounded a bit rude. I'm meant that with any school go and observe the teachers, parents and pupils.

Do they do a lot of arts/music/drama activities, are the children 'rounded' or are they academically hot-housed?

I think it's best for children to work on the academic stuff but also find what else interests them - this is also good for going onto their next school as they often ask about hobbies, passions, outside activities...

I bump into kids from this and similar schools a lot, and their (mainly) nannies. Some are so rude it would make your head turn. I'm not saying it's the school but sometimes the uniform can be an indicator!

nicename Tue 24-Sep-13 13:35:07

Also... I know 2 boys who went to a particular 'top' school who got to A level stage and just stopped working. They burned out and refused to jump any more hurdles.

Ask your hubby - do you want a child who is drilled to an inch of their lives or a happy kid who meets his potential? If a child isn't very very very smart, they will struggle to keep up and you will be spending good money on tutors - you will be looking at £50 an hour. If they are running at this speed to keep up, then maybe it just isn't the school for them, no matter how much you want it.

You will meet a lot of very wealth parents who still know, at the back of their minds (no matter how much they wont say it) that if their kid doesn't do all that well at school, the will still have money/contacts to see them ok.

Firsttimer08 Tue 24-Sep-13 20:35:56

Thank you ladies for comfimimg my doubts. I suspect Yhis may be one of those places with wealthy parents potentially helping their children secure places at the next school.

DS gets teary every time I mention a potential new school to him. He took a year to get over us moving house, so he is one of those children who do get attached.

I have come across several posts here of children getting in at 7+ from state schools with no tutoring. So as you say if the child is good he will get a place.
Lets hope dh listens now!!

nicename Tue 24-Sep-13 21:16:13

Children do adapt - but to change without a guarantee is a risky strategy. Result change - who knows what the school will be like in a few years time?

Names are put down at birth (literally) these days - a quite obnoxious trend we are seeing in 'the business' - so it could all be theoretical anyway!

I've been to a few events with mixes of kids from 'awfully good' schools. Old, old children. If you handed them a football they'd write an essay on the rise of leisure activities in the western European working classes (during the inter-war years), or ask if it was an original Damien Hurst (like mummy put in the nannys apartment).

mrsshackleton Wed 25-Sep-13 09:08:04

My own dc1 is one of those state-school, non-tutored children, that's why I'm passionate about this issue. I think you're quite right that a lot of intense tutoring may go on behind the scenes at schools with more impressive results.

I hope your dh listens and I wish you and your ds luck grin

Needmoresleep Wed 25-Sep-13 09:45:34

Fast forward 12 years. What sort of young adult do you want to see?

Someone who is happy and confident and in control of their own destiny. Someone who is educated and with good social skills who is capable of self motivating. Children like this emerge from a range of schools. Having a good crop of qualifications is only part of the picture, and though they help, people without them can also succeed. Pupils at most if not all of the destination schools from your son's current prep will achieve strong results, and to a large extent differences will reflect difference in intake. Supportive parenting is also a big factor.

The very academic London schools are fantastic for the right child, but can be a less than happy experience for the wrong one. It is as much about personality as intelligence. Some children need confidence and will do better in a school where they are top of the class. Some are simply less studious and may resist, what is for them, an overly academic culture. You need to choose a school not simply for the results but whether it feels right for your child.

Making a move now to help ensure you get a place at 7+ in a school that then goes through to 18 will limit your choices. Great if your child is bright and the culture the school offers suits and engages him. But awful if he is then at the bottom of the heap, and spends his whole childhood struggling to keep pace, with less time to gain other and important non academic skills and experiences. At 18 he might have the right crop of GCSEs/ASs/A2s but is unlikely to be the confident, personable and motivated young adult you wanted to see.

By all means try 7+, and ensure he is prepared to a reasonable degree. But after that let the 7+ school decide whether he is right for the school at that time. Moving schools so he can be better prepared runs the risk that he spends the next year or so, under pressure to keep up, squeezes into an unsuitable school and remains under pressure through the whole system.

Also talk to young adults emerging from their schooling. Ask them what they thought was important. As it happens my son is at one of the very sought after London secondaries. He applied for 13+ from a fairly relaxed Prep, got in and has really enjoyed it. He has friends at a range of other schools who are also doing well. When he goes to University I hope and expect he chooses his friends on what they have to offer (shared interests etc) rather than the school they went to.

Meet some of the school run mums in a decade's time and the conversation may well be about how to keep their sons motivated. Being in the right school for the child rather than the "right" school goes a long way to avoiding the problem.

Don't get too far ahead of yourself as the children change so much, its almost impossible to predict which will be the right school at 13 when they are in reception. I have boys in yr 2 and yr6 of a West London prep and I am looking at schools for the yr6 boy that weren't even on my radar at reception age because I can now see that he might do better in a less pressured school because he is soon to be assessed for dyslexia. He can cope with the academic level of the work at any of the possible senior schools but the pace might be to aggressive at some of them so he will be spending all his time running just to keep up and not enjoying school at all. He may well get better results in a gentler environment.

sanam2010 Thu 26-Sep-13 10:01:30

You get great advice here. Just to give you more ammunition for when you talk with DH... I know someone with DS at said pushy pre-prep and was commenting his son has turned into a bit of a nasty, arrogant boy since starting there due to his peers. In a very competitive environment, the stress can make the children a bit rude or aggressive. Also it's interesting they are very oversubscribed in Reception but tend to have places open up quite quickly - it looks like many parents take their children out when they see how they are suffering from the pushy environment.

nicename Thu 26-Sep-13 13:01:19

You really do need to consider the child - his nature and potential. Some kids are happy learners, some have to try harder but enjoy arts/music etc.

You need the school to reflect the 'whole' - so they do well in education, support kids (either end of the scale) who need it, and also have a good focus on sport, music, drama... Look at the clubs they offer. Do they teach Latin as a matter o course, or is it an extra?

I have come across children who are the rudest little madam/masters you would ever wish to meet. Not, this may not be the school environment, but when you see a child crossly ticking off their mummy because she didn't bring the right snack, or because they cant go somewhere for tea because mummy has to out that evening, you do feel heckles rising. Manners are so important too!

I have also worked with a lot of folks (mainly men) who went to 'top' schools and the overall characteristic is that of arrogance and a vast feeling of self-importance.

Firsttimer08 Fri 27-Sep-13 11:06:41

Thanks for that. DS is already quite overbearing (extremely competitive) and so I shudder to think what would happen to him at EHB ! You make a good point about the school having spots available. I was surprised about that as well - I thought it would be over subscribed and when we called them, they told us DS can start straight away even without an assessment ! It seems that in some ways the good results of the school are biased because only those who can stand the competitive environment stay on and secure those places at the top preps.

Indeed reception is so early it is hard to predict the trajectory as you say chazs, so we definitely need a back up plan or a through school.

nicename Fri 27-Sep-13 11:19:23

I'm nosey about where he is now!

We went for a school whose emphasis was on developing the 'whole child' - so they did lots of other activities and emphasisted good manners. When we visited we were amazed at how happy the children were and what nice manners they had!

As it turned out, DS is a sparky chap so we were advised to move him to somewhere more academic (which we did). Again, we looked at not just results but the culture of the school. You can tell a lot be observing the children (and parents!).

I really can't bear rude kids - and some parents really do encourage this behaviour! No, rudeness and bullying is not being assertive,

Firsttimer08 Mon 30-Sep-13 10:05:21

nice name haha don't really want to out myself. But ds's school is very nurturing and a lovely place. He's already at the top of his class in reading and numeracy and so similar to you a more academic environment would suit him more. Not to that that ds's pre-prep is not academic, but its definitely not a hot-house like EHB. DS's competitiveness is not at all related to the school environment, he is naturally like that !!

Anyway DH is still adamant - even with me quoting your examples of being at the bottom of the class at Westminster. We need to decide this week, so I will report back !

Needmoresleep Mon 30-Sep-13 13:01:55

Its sounds a bit of a risky strategy. If his current school get boys into WUS/Colet etc, albeit not in the same numbers as EH, and if he is the right sort of boy (and it sounds as if he might be) why not simply apply from there.

Entrance is not simply marks in an exam. These schools are looking for boys who have potential and will be able to enjoy the education they offer. They will also know which schools do the most preparation and try to look beyond this to determine potential.

It is not just about numbers. My son was in a very clever year at his prep and a record number went on to Westminster/KCS/Eton/SPS etc. However other equally bright boys chose to go co-ed, to grammar schools, to other London day schools, choir school, or traditional boarding. This does not mean that the Prep offered a less good education. Several of these boys would have got places to the very academic London Day Schools had they applied, and indeed one or two turned places down. From the outside though, and simply looking at numbers going to a select number of schools, some might decide that EH is the "better" prep.

You said that your son is happy where he is, and that he does not like change. Having him in two schools before the age of 7 in order for him to then go to a third is taking a real risk.

nicename Mon 30-Sep-13 17:10:12

I'd leave him where he is but consider carefully your next school choice. Year 2 is a 'natural' stage to more. WUS had 7 and 8+ intakes (plus 11 and 13+ for the upper school). What's your DHs thoughts on St Pauls, CLS, Latymer...

There are schools with good results that will take them all the way to 13+. I think by Y5 you really can get an indication of the type of child you have and the school that will compliment their character - good schools will advise you and help you prepare for the exams. Some children need the extra couple of years to mature - academically or socially/emotionally...

Take a look at Thomas's, Hill House, Newton... Don't put all your eggs into one basket!

I'd be suspicious about school with good results that can take a child at short notice in this part of London. Ok, families move all the time, but some schools just don't fill spaces, especially without any testing (not just academic, but a little interview with the child/HT).

Results may be good, but how much of that is down to the school and how much is down to the parents killing themselves with extra curriculum activities and paying for expensive tutors? I've known families with super-brain au pairs and nannies with Oxbridge degrees selected for their ability to chat in Latin over breakfast, or with maths degrees to keep an eye on their maths homework! Or tutors going off to families 'holiday villas' over the summer to drill little Tamara and Tarquin every day.

I don't know if you're filthy rich and catflap but some of these schools can be an absolute eye opener! I am still shock at the antics and activities of some families. Just today a small child in front of me was whining to nanny about the fact that he had to jet off with marmee and dahdee at the weekend to their weekend house!

mrsshackleton Tue 01-Oct-13 10:17:05

I would say moving a child from a "very nurturing and lovely place" when they don't like change could have a significant impact on their happiness and lead to them performing less well in any upcoming exams.

I hope your dh is prepared to a) deal with the emotional fallout of this b) sort out the new, more tricky commute you mentioned.

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