Eton scholarship admissions: advice please!(82 Posts)
DS (10.5) is dead set on going to Eton. We can't remotely begin to afford it, so he is going to try for a scholarship/bursary. We have been told that he doesn't need to do anything until Y8, as he's only applying via the scholarship route - but teacher friends at two other boarding schools (which DS won't even look at, being fixated on Eton) have said that that in practice, children need to be registered in Y6 even if they are only applying for 13+ scholarships. Has anyone been there and done this? If so, I'd be very grateful for your advice...
Ring their admissions dept and discuss it with them. They are best placed to give you the most accurate answer!!
Thanks, milkshake3. We did ask them, and they did say Year 8 - but we just then started to wobble a bit in the light of friends' 'inside knowledge' of other schools!
I thought Eton also gave bursaries not connected with scholarships? If that is the case I would have thought you did need to be registered. I may well be wrong as I've lost track a bit whilst looking at school options!
PriscillaLydiaSellon, what a fantastic and wonderful boy you have . . .
At age 10.5 he is already dead set and fixated on going to Eton and wont even look at any other school! Wow! This alone tells me theres something in your boy who knows exactly what he wants, i.e. excellence in everything and Eton is the way forward indeed.
And fear not, your teacher friends at other boarding schools dont quite know what they are talking about though Im sure their intentions are genuine. Eton have a very strict deadline (no exceptions) to have registrations in by the very latest 10 years and 6 months BUT ONLY for those who wish to enter the school via the normal route, i.e. through Common Entrance.
As for those entering with The New Foundation Scholarship the boy will normally be:
Eligibility : applicants will normally be in year 8, the school year in which their 13th birthday falls. A boy who will be 14 before September 1st is too old to enter.
There was an Open Afternoon (10 Nov) held just three days ago at Upper School (US). Perhaps you might want to put in your diary to attend next year with your son. It is usually held in early November on a Saturday which includes a tour of the School just prior to the meeting. Well worth attending. If your son is successful in winning a scholarship, then money is the least thing you should worry about as Eton can top up the scholarship with a full bursary and more! Good luck to your son!
Priscilla so what's the plan if by any chance your DS doesn't get a scholarship given that you can't remotely afford the fees and given also that your DS is totally fixated on Eton?
Wouldn't like to be in your shoes I must say.
bisjo: they do indeed. But for various reasons (some of which I don't want to go into, but one of which is his very striking level of ability), it would be better for him to apply only for scholarships.
Peterneras: thank you for your very kind post. We did visit the school for an informal music audition last year, which was when DS decided that there was no other school for him. However, we also need to see the rest of the school, so will definitely put that in the diary.
Yellowtip: we do have a couple of other possibilities up our sleeves, but it's true that he's almost certainly ruling out other good boarding schools by his fixation on Eton. This does scare me slightly, but I can see why he thinks that he and Eton would be a good mix.
So presumably all of the boarding choices depend on scholarships?
Out of interest is he gifted all round or primarily in terms of music?
I'm not sure I understand the distinction between a scholarship bursary and and a non-scholarship bursary. Historically it used to be that a non-scholarship bursary could only be for a maximum of 50% of fees but I understand that has changed now.
It does seem that you are putting all your eggs in one basket in only looking at the scholarship option for your ds.
My ds is very keen to go to Eton but I reckon that is only because of the Youtube Gangnam video they did. I've told him he needs to be stellar in his music and academic performance if he is going to have a fighting chance of getting there!
If you've told them you're looking for a scholarship then you can only do Y8 tests. If you had said bursary you should have registered by the end of Year5. The bursary is easier to get than the scholarship...
Thanks, Colleger. I am just hoping that it all works out.
Yellowtip, he's going for music and academic scholarships. He is astonishingly good on both scores (though very, very difficult too...).
Bisjo, we have likewise been entertained by Eton Style .
Colleger I assume that both the non-scholarship and scholarship bursaries are both means-tested in the same way?
Yes they are. The scholarship does give 10% non means tested though.
What level is he in music and what instruments does he play?
I'm not sure how your DS has decided Eton is the best if he's never even visited. There are so many schools, and no one is 'best'.
In your position I would be looking round schools in Y4, asking about bursaries and ensuring that you keep as many options open as possible.
As it is your options are much more limited with a child in Y6 and application dates already gone for many schools.
You shouldn't encourage him to fixate on Eton because it is very competitive, and unless your surname is Windsor there is no guarantee you will get in.
Lots and lots of other independent schools will provide an outstanding education and it would be a shame to put all your eggs in Eton's basket.
BTW in terms of music Eton told me they are looking for grade 6, in Y6, in one instrument, or grade 3 in two. I guess in Y8 the standard would be higher again.
Joanbyers/Colleger: he's Grade 8 in one instrument (solo), and Grade 6 in the other (an orchestral instrument, which he's been learning for just over a year). He's also a cathedral chorister. He's starting a third instrument at the end of Y6. By the time he's in Y8, he's planning to have his first Diploma in his first instrument and Grade 8 in the other two (again, that's the way he is - his planning is evidently better than mine ).
Joanbyers, if we look at other schools, I know from 10 years of experience with this particular boy that it will be a case of taking the proverbial horses to water but not convincing them to drink. I'm by no means encouraging him to fixate on anything at all; he is quite capable of fixating on things without any encouragement from me.
DH and I are, of course, investigating the alternatives - but almost all are ruled out for various reasons specific to DS. You are quite right that there are all sorts of excellent independent alternatives - DH and I have/have had 5 children at various independent schools, and both went to them ourselves, so are by no means 'first-time buyers' into the system.
Specialist music schools are a possible alternative (handily, applications are fine for these in Y8). Local day schools are also fine for Y8 applications (the prep school system is prevalent where we live, so lots of children move schools locally at 13+).
If you are paying other sets of school fees, schools may or may not take that into account in awarding a bursary/scholarship, and I think you need to be quite careful with how you proceed.
Also note that some schools award large academic/all-round scholarships of 50% or more but some such as Eton may tend to limit their scholarships to token amounts, and reserve the funding for bursaries, and in a situation where you have a boy who is obviously scholarship material, then it might be worth looking at the scholarship schools.
i.e. schools that give big fee breaks to the best scholarship candidates.
Indeed. I think I could have school scholarships as my specialist subject on Mastermind.
(And sorry, Joan, I've just noticed that you referred earlier to my son not having visited Eton. Eton is the only one he has visited!)
If you DS is a cathedral chorister is he eligible for "The New Foundation Scholarship" I thought maybe incorrectly Im not Eton expert that that was only for state ed boys.
As Im sure many will cheerfully testify the Eton Scholarship is exceeding difficult. We has a child at my DS prep try for it and they had a fairly recent history of getting it but things have changed and they like many preps no longer have sufficient staff classes experience to teach to the standard required. If you not eligible for the new foundation scholarship your DS realistically need to be in the proper scholarship stream teaching to they Eton scholarship level not normal CE scholarship level from the beginning of yr 7 this is what most London prep and others with a good track record will do.
Thirdly I dont know if you can get in with only a music scholarship if you haven't been offered a non scholarship place at 10.5 again Eton experts will know.
Thanks. I am sure there are some Eton experts lurking on MN!
(I think you're quite right about the New Foundation Scholarships, btw...)
OP colleger is the one to speak to she has very recent experience of the scholarship and a DS recently started there I think she will give you an honest appraisal of both the requirements for the scholarship and Eton it's self. All schools present themselves very well on open days on their websites etc but the reality maybe different not necessarily bad just not what you and most importantly your DS imagined.
Best of luck to your ds, Priscilla - I hope he gets a place.
Thank you, dapplegrey.
Happygardening - we have always made a point of visiting schools not on their open days. You get a much better idea of what they're really like that way. All our choices thus far have been on gut instinct (based on visiting during ordinary days, and observing the pupils generally around and about), and we have not been wrong yet...
I'm confused as to why the choir school have never suggested Eton to you, unless he's at St Albans...
I assume the Director of Music gave you some indication of whether your ds is suitable scholarship material. He certainly sounds hugely talented.
Eton has open days constantly.
Colleger, they have. It was their first suggestion.
Bisjo, he did, and was very positive - but I am under no illusions about the hard work still to come!
Joan, our next visit will be during an ordinary school day. We saw some parts of the school, but not others. We didn't see any of the 'academic' part - just the music/boarding/libraries/concert halls. I think we can probably live without seeing the sports facilities.
So why did you not apply before the deadline?
Colleger: because we were told (by Eton) that we don't need to register him until he's in Y8 if he's only going down the scholarship route.
We have meanwhile quizzed Eton again, and it is indeed the case that our DS doesn't need to do anything until Y8. Scholarships (and accompanying bursary applications) are not considered until then, regardless of when the child is registered - and he gains nothing by registering now, whatever the practice may be at other schools.
I am sufficiently reassured!
I assume that you save having to pay the £270 registration fee if you are only using the scholarship route.
I fear I am merely deferring payment! (I'm slightly relieved to hear that it's "only" in the hundreds, rather than in the thousands... the refundable registration fee we paid his prep school will cover it!)
I think colleger means why didnt you apply for a non scholarship place before the deadline if your DS's prep suggested Eton or have they only advised you to apply for Eton and therefore by default the scholarship?
"the refundable registration fee we paid his prep school will cover it!" we didnt get our back until the last term it was deducated of the last invoice by then you would have paid the registration fee!
I think there is a high deposit to pay once you accept an offer but I'd be surprised if they made you pay the registration fee (although I don't know). We didn't have to pay a registration fee for ds's school when we applied via a scholarship.
OP, you dont have to pay the registration fee if your son is taking the scholarship route. Thats partly what I meant when I said in my previous post that:
'If your son is successful in winning a scholarship, then money is the least thing you should worry about as Eton can top up the scholarship with a full bursary and more!'
Yes, I know this means after winning the scholarship but like I said, you dont have to pay registration fee for taking the New Foundation Scholarship which is aimed in particular at boys who would not be able to attend Eton without very substantial financial assistance . . .
You dont have to worry about deposits either if that's what particularly bugs you about sending DS to Eton. Is your son currently in Yr 6 at a maintained school? Im worried if hes not.
peteneras the OP's ds is at prep school so won't be entitled to apply for the New Foundation scholarship. I also think the OP confused the deposit and the registration fee in a more recent answer. We didn't have to pay a registration fee for ds's school as he applied via a scholarship but we did have to pay the deposit (albeit considerably less than Eton's!).
Peteneras, he's at a prep school (with a substantial chorister bursary, but at a prep school nonetheless). DC5 is at an independent junior school (the others are all grown up). We can manage one lot of junior fees plus DS's subsidised place, but can't manage even day schools for both at secondary level.
I'm not in the slightest bit bugged about anything to do with Eton, and I'm sorry if I've given you that impression. Over the years, we have registered our DC for far too many schools, and sometimes wasted money on registering them for schools they then haven't attended (!) I seem to recall paying a £400 deposit/registration fee for the first school that DC5 went to; we then got the full amount back when she left. But we had a DC at another school where there was a £25 reg. fee (non refundable) and a £250 refundable deposit which we paid when accepting the place.
I'm assuming with Eton that we would not pay a reg. fee for scholarship entry, but that we would pay the deposit to secure his place, if he is lucky enough to be offered one (£1,000, if I am remembering rightly - which I might not be? Slightly scary but not compared with the fees!)
According to the Eton brochure I received yesterday (took a week to arrive and they didn't manage to write my correct house name from their website form ) you have to pay an 'Entrance Fee' of £1600 when you accept a place. You get £1100 of that back when your ds leaves.
Thanks. As I say, it's a relative drop in the proverbial ocean compared to the fees themselves!!
bisjo, If you read Etons conditions about the eligibility for the New Foundation Scholarships there is ambiguity in the official statements they put out - I feel they know about it and is left as is deliberately!
On Etons website about the NFS it says:
In September 2009 Eton was able to start offering a new annual scholarship for one or two boys who have been educated in the UK maintained (state) sector for at least years 6, 7 and 8 of their schooling up to age 13. From September 2011, we will be able to offer four places.
But on their printed brochure about the NFS it says:
Candidates must normally have been at a maintained (state) school for Years 6, 7 and 8. The financial arrangements are as for the Kings Scholarship.
So it transpires that candidates must normally have been at a maintained school but not necessarily so?
The last bit is of particular interest, i.e. The financial arrangements are as for the Kings Scholarship.
We know financial arrangements can go up to 100% remission for Kings Scholars and Kings Scholars attended prep schools. So, by definition New Foundation Scholars may also receive 100% financial remission and attend prep schools! Both set of boys entering Eton aged 13, one group to College and the other group to Oppidan Houses.
Although the main intentions of the NFS are to help boys from underprivileged backgrounds to attend Eton, the School is not ignorant to the fact that there are many families who, to all intents and purposes, are underprivileged but who work their guts out with two, three or even four jobs, saving and scheming with every penny just to be able to send their child to independent schools.
The question is:
Is Eton going to penalise these families by denying their sons the chance of attending Eton with a NFS? I know they are thinking long and hard about this.
Priscilla, I think I know who you are (do not worry, you have not given anything incriminating away, it is just that I have met your family, you will probably recognise me too).
You are of course going to do your best to get your son where he wants to go, and it seems you are getting excellent advice on the practicalities, all I would add is that it is well worth with these types of children spending some time on the defixation process before possible disappointment. You may want to use a broken record approach, reminding regularly that it may happen that he gets into Eton but he might not. Even if he seemingly refuses to listen you have prepared the ground in advance.
A few years ago when plans were put forward to replace the then Junior Scholarships (JS) there were great disagreements among the elders of Eton as to replace it with what? The JS was one truly fantastic, out of this world scholarship - started in the early 1970s to really give a very, very bright boy from underprivileged backgrounds a life-changing chance of attending Eton. Four JSs were awarded each year when they were pulled out from their state schools aged 10 to spend three years at a prep school before entering Eton - all funded by Eton!
This was one very rare occasion when a pupil got to choose a premier prep school, any school, anywhere in the UK, boarding or non-boarding and walked straight in (with Etons approval).
Ive never seen so many headmasters falling over themselves trying to get these boys into their schools. Almost inevitably (barring a few rare cases) these boys would go on to win the Kings Scholarships three years later and thereafter to Oxbridge or to read Medicine or some top-notch subjects elsewhere.
When the JS was replaced with the NFS in 2009, boys entered Eton straight from state schools to one of the Oppidan* Houses with none entering College to date. The present situation seems very unsatisfactory to some senior beaks, maybe including the Head Master himself, and most certainly the Master-in-College (Housemaster at College) when she fought tooth and nail with the Foundation during the discussion stages of replacing the JS. Traditionally, Masters-in-College have always known their JS charges to have plenty to offer, often excelling in academic work, in the sports field/arena, in the theatre, etc. and bring to the School/College a different dimension.
*Oppidan - Latin for town (people). Except for the 70 Kings Scholars who live in College, all the other Etonians are Oppidans and live outside in the town.
I know someone who was awarded the JS several years ago. He left his state school at the end of year 6 as normal and spent two years at prep not 3. They also didn't award all four scholarships every year as they said it wasn't widely publicised so they struggled to get enough candidates applying. Not sure if that was a numbers or quality issue.
I thought the NFS replaced the JS so definitely geared at state schools rather than preps.
All very interesting! Thanks, peteneras, for your insights. We are not even remotely underprivileged - but neither are we fabulously well off. I've just turned down an invitation on the grounds that it's £25 extra that I can't afford to spend (as that £25 pays for one of DS's music lessons. And so on...)
Justaboutchilledout: I don't know who you are, but hello all the same. I have - I hope! - been very careful on here not to say anything that I wouldn't say in the school playground just in case anyone did recognise me!
I am indeed trying to manage the boy's hopes/expectations here...
Another option is yo both taking second jobs or staring a business so that you could pay fees like a lot of mothers do through their wise career choices I suppose.
Because that's really easy.
Why pay full fees if your ds is able to get a scholarship? Some of us do have god jobs and still couldn't afford £33,000 plus extras a year in fees!
The £10,000 I save in school fees is put to very good use so why should the OP not get her very able ds to try for a scholarship?
If all else fails, Priscilla, then there is the King's Scholarship to go for seeing that your DS is at prep school. In theory, there is a better chance of winning the KS than winning the NFS on the sheer logic of 14 places vs. 4.
If you believe that then you'll believe anything!
But seriously, doesn't your son's prep school prepare boys for the King's Scholarship?
Priscilla if you've put all the older DC through private school then you are seriously well off. It's slightly offensive to pretend otherwise. I think you said either four or five.
Clearly your son is astonishingly gifted but I had thought that Eton was pushing hard to get properly underprivileged boys matched up with these scholarships, not merely the sons of very well off people who affect poverty because so much of their disposable income has gone on expensive fees for their older DC.
Rather depressing really. I thought there was some subtance in it.
'But seriously, doesn't your son's prep school prepare boys for the King's Scholarship?"
This of all the points made OP is the most valid and I would say not only prepare but also have a recent history of success in the KS. The level required is extraordinarily high, the competition fierce we were told by Eton about 4 years ago that every year more and more boys sit it, and as far as I understand a boy has to shine in all areas no room for weaknesses although I believe you sit a core group of exams and then pick others and have plenty of interests outside of academia as well. A friends son who very recently sat it was surprised when the other candidates were detailing their others interests many were doing "voluntary work," running small businesses, writing computer programmes as well as the usual stuff 1st 11 cricket etc.
"Rather depressing really. I thought there was some subtance in it."
Who knows, maybe there is, this is just speculation on a message board.
'Not sure if that was a numbers or quality issue'.
bisjo, there was one particular year when no Junior Scholarship was awarded simply because none of the candidates met the scholarship standard. And yet, in a few isolated years 5 JS's were awarded because the scholarship panel couldn't decide on which four to choose. It's quite usual to award only two or three and 'up to four' in any given year. I suspect the same criteria also apply to the present NFS. The Head Master is on record to say that it is one thing to receive gifts of money (donations) from benefactors but it is much harder to decide how and to who the money is to be spent.
Meant to add the outside interests are not always so easy for full boarders although obvioulsy not impossible (don't know if your DS boards but as he's a chorister he might) unless your at a very organised prep and you have plenty of time in the holidays etc.
Nothing of course is impossible but all these things take a lot of dedication on the part of your DS, your prep and you. We were once told that not only does your DC have to be very bright to get a scholarship but your DC also has to have the kind of dedicated motivated mind set.
I would also advise you to monitor his progress very carefully we discovered 6 months before my DS sat the difficult and demanding Winchester entrance exams that the Latin teacher knew barely more Latin than I did (none) we stupidly trusted the school and believed them when they told us that everything was "going well," the friend whose DS sat the KS also discovered the same thing she too had trusted the school. If you've set your heart on Eton no prep head is going to turn around and say they cant do the necessary work becasue they know they will loose you to another school.
I thought that one of the reasons for the NFS was that children from the state sector would not have been prepared for the demands of the KS. But if the OP's DS is a chorister at a prep that goes to 13 then surely that argument wouldn't apply.
Yellowtip, I have no desire to get involved in any kind of debate. You have no idea how/why/who paid the fees for DH's grown up brood, and it is not my business to pass comment about it. The situation with my DS remains the same: he is an extremely talented child who is set on going to Eton, despite the fact that the fees are more than we could dream of paying, and we need as much info as we can get.
peteneras and happygardening: your comments are so valuable. Thank you. I am quite sure that his current school wouldn't prepare him adequately for a King's Scholarship (it is perfectly ok, but not that good!) He is a very clever child, but obviously not remotely clever enough not to need tutoring for a KS (I've seen some of the papers...).
My own feeling is that he needs to go for a music scholarship, and we will be grateful that he's bright enough to do very well at CE without the added pressure of preparing for academic scholarship exams.
Priscilla, if it's not too late, put him down for CE entry straight away. You might still have a couple of weeks. A friend didn't send in the CE application, her DS didn't take the Eton Test at 10.6 and although he applied for the Music Scholarship (a fantastic musician) and they really liked him, he only got an Exhibition which meant they couldn't take him - the application was just too late and they don't break their own rules willy nilly - it wouldn't be fair on so many other deserving boys. Phone them now and talk to the lovely Admissions lady 01753 671249. Get him in and get him tested. And take up every tour you can - we took DS on our second look around and we may as well not have been there. DS was practically glued to the Dame who took us round and ignored us completely. We took him on every tour we could after that because he just wanted to be there.
Also, apply for a bursary in principle at the same time and keep every letter you get, asking for more detail or clarification in writing where possible. It would be a shame to have the chance snatched away because funds were otherwise allocated.
I'm quite entitled to express a view about the apparent depressingness of the whole bursary system and would hope that a school like Eton does what it says it aims to do Priscilla, which is to seek out potential from the truly disadvantaged.
Yes Joan of course I know that MN misrepresents, it's bound to and it's reassuring to hang on to the fact that it does.
Yellowtip, I was referring to this comment: "Priscilla if you've put all the older DC through private school then you are seriously well off. It's slightly offensive to pretend otherwise. [...] I had thought that Eton was pushing hard to get properly underprivileged boys matched up with these scholarships, not merely the sons of very well off people who affect poverty because so much of their disposable income has gone on expensive fees for their older DC."
You are, as you say, quite entitled to express views about the bursary system as a whole - but not quite so entitled to comment on other people's 'serious wealth' and 'affectations of poverty'.
More to the point, though, is BlissfullyIgnorant's fantastic post. Thank you a thousand times for that.
OP BlissfullyIgnorant may be right that you need to have been offered a place at 10.6 and to sit CE to get in with a music scholarship definitely worth checking this! I'm assuming music scholars have to pass CE and don't live in the college but the "normal" boarding houses.
I think the issue here is that the OP is convinced that her DS is deprived, despite, along with each and every one of his siblings, and his parents, having had the benefit of a very expensive and exclusive education (regardless of who is paying for it, and how), and is deserving of some sort of 'inner-city scholarship'.
Obviously if they need to get these super-gifted, over-achieving boys in at 13, there is a very open question of how they could reach the required base level from a background of true deprivation (deprivation of opportunity is really the bigger factor here than whether mummy and daddy earn £200k/year).
I think it is really very hard indeed, and I tend to agree with peteneras above that if they were serious about doing this, even if only for 4 children, they would probably take boys in at 7 and pay for a prep school through to 13, because the gap between what a prep school will make out of a gifted boy and what the NC expects of them is gaping.
I'm honestly scratching my head a bit at this thread, because the OP's family appear to know the independent sector like the back of their hands, and yet are determined that they won't submit their son for assessment through the normal route prior to 10 yrs 6 months from his date of birth, and must have a scholarship, even though the scholarships only reduce the fees from £32k to £29k, which is still an absurd and ludicrous amount of money - any reduction below that is based on financial need, not ability. I'm not sure if normal entrance is insufficiently prestigious or what it is, but it's quite an odd attitude, but as I observed on the other thread, Eton seem to like a sense of entitlement, so perhaps it will just pay off.....
<ignorant about Eton, but well up on 'normal' indys> And feel that bursaries and special scholarships for the 'deprived' (horrible term) should be just that!
Please rest assured Eton know exactly what it is doing. The School has been at this game for a good part of 600 years!!!
My advice is for parents who think they may get a scholarship/bursary to apply in the first instance and just fill in the form(s) honestly and leave the rest to the good hands of Eton.
Blissfully gives excellent advice. I was going to suggest that myself. All you lose is just £270 (?) registration fee (it used to be just £60 many moons ago) against a lifetime of regret. Beg, steal or borrow to get this done!
This should give some idea of the kind of educational and family background Eton are looking for for their NFS:
Last years awards here:
These are NFS boys I believe:
Albert Condron (Bishop Luffa School, Chichester)
Jamie Gander (St. Andrew's Cof E High School for Boys, Worthing)
Jamie McNeill (Linslade School, Leighton Buzzard)
Sasha Zaroubin (St. Edward's Royal Free Ecumenical Middle School, Windsor)
"Please rest assured Eton know exactly what it is doing."
They don't know everything!!!
I tend to think Eton does know what it's doing peterenas.
I share your puzzlement Joan.
I also think fixations are truly, truly bad. Aspiration yes, fixation no.
"I think the issue here is that the OP is convinced that her DS is deprived, despite, along with each and every one of his siblings, and his parents, having had the benefit of a very expensive and exclusive education (regardless of who is paying for it, and how), and is deserving of some sort of 'inner-city scholarship'."
At no stage have I ever said or intended to suggest that my DS is deprived, or in need of an inner city scholarship.
He is fixated on Eton, and is going for a music scholarship + bursary. My question was whether we needed to do anything about this before Year 8. Several posters have given me some fantastically useful advice on this score, all of which I will be following up.
Joan, your longish post seems just mean. We are, I repeat, looking at a scholarship plus bursary. Eton fees alone would wipe out over half of our income. This doesn't make us 'deprived'; it just makes us, like the vast majority of the population, unable to afford the full fees.
If he does go there, I think he needs to go as a music scholar - because the school is so good on the musical side as well as being academically excellent. If he isn't up to an Eton music scholarship, I would look closer to home (my take on this is that if he wants to go, and can get his scholarship/bursary, then I support him one hundred percent, even if it's not what I would necessarily have come up with left to my own devices). The other option is specialist music schools, but I am reluctant to shunt a boy who's academically very good too down a strictly musical path. A music scholarship to a superb school with an extraordinarily good music dept seems to keep more options open for him in the future.
It is by no means the only school that offers fantastic musical and academic facilities. However, it's the one he wants to go to.
Why is he quite so fixated at on Eton?
He is a child who is very given to fixations. But I have quizzed him at some length, and he was obviously completely bowled over by the music schools (and was also very keen on the music director, as were we: he was lovely, and couldn't have been better with our DS). He loved everything about it: the buildings, the town, the uniform, the bedrooms, and particularly the organs (which he was allowed to play, to his immense and lasting delight)...
Have you looked at any other senior schools? Does he play the organ? My ds is obsessed with the one at his school and desperate to learn.
DH and I have looked, and are going to look at more. Yes, he does (he did a fantastic day in Edinburgh organised by the RCO, which I'd recommend to anyone with a child who's keen to give it a go). He loves it! We won't let him have lessons until his legs are long enough to reach the pedals easily, though.
Has your ds visited other schools? It is easy to be impressed if that is his only visit. Ime you only become critical once you've done a the rounds of a few schools, as I'm sure you know from your prep visiting days. I'm sure it is the same for senior schools only on a bigger scale.
We had tour of the school's chapel the other week and ds was very envious that we got to go up to the organ loft and watch the director of chapel music play. I was suprised that ds hadn't been up but I'm not sure small boys and large expensive organs are a good combination!
Agree re. small boys and valuable instruments!!
Thanks to BlissfullyIgnorant (who is anything but...), DH has spoken to people in the admissions and bursaries offices, and we are registering DS this week. That way, he would potentially qualify for an Exhibition if for any reason he didn't make the scholarship grade. I am very, very grateful to BI and everyone else who has offered helpful advice.
Priscilla I think you need to establish what precisely financial help Eton might be able to offer given your circumstances, and which of your income, savings, and expenditures will be taken into account.
Although it is said that 25% of students get financial help, given the £32k/year cost, that does not strike me as a very high proportion. Whether that is because few but the very wealthy are willing to apply, or if the rhetoric about 'no-one denied a place for financial reasons' is some distance from reality, you really need to find out before you commit several years of your life what the final cost is likely to be.
No Eton fan me but I think you'll find if it is 25% that that is pretty impressive! Of course we dont know how big each bursary is at Winchester where I think 12% receive assistance the average bursary is 50%.
Thanks, Joan, that is sensible advice. We also have the bursary forms now.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Am I the only one curious to know the outcome of the Eton application? Hope it went well for the OP's son!
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