academic ability for eton

(123 Posts)
drkag Fri 09-Aug-13 12:54:36


My son, who is only 6 currently, has decided that he wants to go to eton. Combination of reading young james bond and a friend's father. He is at a local prep school in SHeffield but we are by no means financially at the level of Eton. I am also wondering about the academic standards. He is bright, currently reading age 11+ and on a recent assessment by ed psych, due to problems at previous school, his IQ was recoreded as 158. I saw on here a sugegstion fo doing some bond assessment appers and for his age he finds these very easy.

I don;t want him getting his hopes up, do you think he would stand a reasonable chance of getting in. He also loves sport, and is on the LTA tennis performance program as well as playing rugby and cricket plus learning the trumpet so he is a good all rounder.

Thanks in advance

adeucalione Fri 09-Aug-13 13:21:11

I don't know anything about Eton but an IQ of 158 puts him in the top 0.01% of the population - I can't imagine that wouldn't be good enough!

titchy Fri 09-Aug-13 16:10:44

And will you be teaching him magic when he decides he'd rather go to Hogwarts?

drkag Fri 09-Aug-13 16:44:55

I'm not quite sure what you mean by that but yes he's read Harry potter and he knows it's not hogwarts!

titchy Fri 09-Aug-13 17:04:53

What I mean is he's 6. His academic ability is irrelevant. You say 'oh yes wouldn't that be exciting' whenever he tells you anything about his future. You don't try and work out whether its feasible or not and then tutor or adjust expectations accordingly.

MerryMarigold Fri 09-Aug-13 17:09:52

I agree with titchy. You are the parent here. You need to decide what future you'd like for him, particularly at the age of 6. If you really want to go for Eton, then you go for it, and let him know it may not happen. Life is about having a go and failing sometimes. Sometimes you have a go and succeed. Not a bad lesson for anyone to learn. If indeed you decide (as I would) that Eton would not produce the kind of child who I want to be my child, then say "how exciting" and let him forget all about it by the time he is 6 and a half.

Mendi Fri 09-Aug-13 18:15:47

At age 6 my son told me he wanted to go to Imperial. My response was a fairly generic "that's nice, you'd better work hard and get top marks in all your exams then" - subject then left there. It's all very well encouraging your (obviously very able) child to have a goal, but isn't it sensible to keep the goals a bit shorter term at age 6? Eton is very competitive to get into and even some very bright boys do not get in if they aren't "right" (be it on a personal/social skills level, or whatever). It would be awfully hard to be one of those kids if you had spent half your life planning to go to Eton. I would just encourage your DS to be/do his best in all he does for now, and look at schools in another 3 years or so, by which time you will be in a much better position to assess whether a school would suit his particular character. It's not all about the kudos and a 6 year old isn't equipped to make major life decisions for himself.

IndridCold Fri 09-Aug-13 18:38:25

You certainly have to be bright to get into Eton, and your DS sounds s though that side of it will not be a problem, but there is more to it than that.

This article explains pretty well what they are looking for, which is not only brains, but 'something else to bring to the party'.

Although there is still quite a bit of time to go there is no harm in starting to think about it now. Don't be at all put off by the financial side of things (many of my son's friends there are on bursaries), or by negative comments.

If I were you I would be devoting more time and attention now to your DS's extra-curricular interests rather than trying to hot-house him too much academically. Music, sport, circus skills; it doesn't really matter what it is so long as he genuinely enjoys it and has the potential to become quite good at it!

difficultpickle Fri 09-Aug-13 18:41:29

What are his reasons for wanting to go to Eton? Is it simply because it is the only senior school he has heard of? Ds told me when he was 8 that he was planning to go to Eton or Winchester or possibly Radley. Reason - he knows boys who either have gone or are going there. He knows quite a lot about one because geographically his school is close to it. He won't be the one deciding which senior school he goes to as that is my job.

SingingSands Fri 09-Aug-13 18:45:24

I'd start saving right away, it costs £30k a year.

Ragwort Fri 09-Aug-13 18:46:17

I can't imagine anywhere where a 6 year old 'decides' that he would like to go to Eton hmm.

YoniFoolsAndHorses Fri 09-Aug-13 18:47:12

Which prep school? Have they ever had a child go to Eton before?

Ladymuck Fri 09-Aug-13 20:49:01

Can't help on the academic side, but you son shouldn't start playing trumpet until he has his adult front teeth. I'd have thought that 6 is early for this?

drkag Sat 10-Aug-13 05:20:46

Thanks everyone.

In reverse order, yes he has adult front teeth re the trumpet.

With regards to who chooses his school; we chose his first one and it was a disaster, he was involved in the second and he is thriving. If,after considering all options, he chooses eton when he is older I will support him. Yes, I have told him we will discuss it properly when he is older but he is an incredibly focused, determined young thing.

Why eton? His school has sent boys there, the prime minister went there, books etc that's why.

I personally don't want him to go to boarding school yet so will leave him at his current prep and of course I foster all his interests.,

Thanks again

IndridCold Sat 10-Aug-13 10:07:07

It was a pleasure confused!

peteneras Sat 10-Aug-13 10:59:31

James Bond aka 007 certainly went to Eton (as least in fiction) and his creator, Ian Fleming went there in fact. Good to see a real life James Bond in the making as I think your son has all the attributes that Eton is looking for, i.e. intelligence, sportsmanship, forward thinking and a spirit of adventure. No doubt, reading all that James Bond novels has influenced him and made him ‘decide he wants to go to Eton’. smile

You should have absolutely no worries at all about his academic standard for Eton. With an official IQ of 158 (no matter under which scale), not only is your son good enough for Eton, but he is also good enough for registration as a member of the prestigious British Mensa - the High IQ Society.

It is important to attend a prep school with a good track record of sending boys to Eton. With his high IQ, it is certainly within his capabilities of winning a King’s Scholarship at the age of 13 (some distance to go yet) given the right guidance by the right prep school, e.g. Summer Fields, Papplewick, Westminster Under School, Dragon School etc. It is certainly not too early to think about Eton; once upon a time, some parents were doing exactly that - on the day their son was born by registering with the School straight away! But I think you’re sensible enough to navigate this difficult path wisely and ‘not getting his hopes up’ unnecessarily.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 10-Aug-13 11:16:17

OMG, trumpet at 6, the teachers I know don't advise brass or woodwind until at least 9.
I don't know anything about Eton, but OP you are kidding if you think your ds wants to go because of something he's seen.
Our dd wants to be a famous singer/ musician and has done since she was about 2. Now if she does do this and stick with it, we are under no illusions that it came from her culture and not herself to begin with.
Your ds may be happy to have tuition for a particular school but this is coming from you and you need to step back and look at how YOUR behaviour and attitude could impact on him, both positively and negatively. You sound as though it is you who is pushing for Eton btw, especially with the IQ testing, thats not a crime but you need to acknowledge this. I don't know a parent who has had IQ tests even my dds friend who is way beyond years in Maths.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Sat 10-Aug-13 11:21:05

Don't know if they still run it, but they used to have a scheme where children in state schools could take the Entrance exam at 11, and if offered a place, Eton would fund two years at a local (eg Sheffield etc) prep school, and the child would then go to Eton at 13 with fees paid. A local boy did this about 4 years ago.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Sat 10-Aug-13 11:23:11

And re academic ability - at our local prep the boys who don't make it through to the linked public school often go to Eton instead grin

Greythorne Sat 10-Aug-13 11:23:13

Trumpet is not recommended before 9-10 as it's not only about adult teeth but also jaw muscles and lips.

A decent music teacher should be offering guidance.

peteneras Sat 10-Aug-13 11:34:53

That was called the Junior Scholarship. It’s now replaced with the New Foundation Scholarship since 2009. But the NFS is aimed at boys from the state sector - ‘for at least years 6, 7 and 8 of their schooling up to age 13’. OP’s son is at prep school which makes the King’s Scholarship more viable.

IndridCold Sat 10-Aug-13 11:55:40

There is quite a lot of financial help available from Eton with fees, I know several families who pay what they can afford and have a bursary to pay the balance.

britishsummer Sat 10-Aug-13 21:22:44

OP, obviously your son has huge potential and Eton as a fantastic school must seem as a natural way to aim high with his potential, however ,even by putting off boarding until 13 Sheffield is a long way away from Eton. You have to be very aware of what that would imply for your family life and future relationship with your son. I have nothing against boarding school but would always want to be not more than an hour and half away. I accept that some families are prepared to make greater sacrfices for a sought after education and you may be one of them.

Talkinpeace Sun 11-Aug-13 16:54:03

my oldest would have done great at eton - but she does not have a willie

curlew Sun 11-Aug-13 17:01:13

My oldest would have done great at Eton, but doesn't have a willie, 30K a year or the air of effortless superiority that Etonians all appear to have which means they can only mix with other Etonians for fear of being strangled.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Sun 11-Aug-13 19:41:04

curlew not sure why you make that statement? We know lots of old Etonians, as well as numerous other people, and the school per se is irrelevant... People are all different and you cannot categorise simply by school...

MrsSalvoMontalbano Sun 11-Aug-13 19:43:50

Our view was that DS1 would have been okay at Eton, DS2 would have thrived. But we did not want DS2 to board, so we did not apply . He is very happy at his London day school, and we get to see him every day grin Both boys have friend who did go to Eton, most were happy, one decided to come back to a London day school as he missed his mates family

Talkinpeace Sun 11-Aug-13 19:49:27

the thread asked about academic ability
but academic ability is not defined by genitalia
how long till the case goes through the charity commission?
then again, DD would look daft in a topper

To be serious though, Eton's academic credentials are being affected by its prestige .... not their fault but the pressure to get in for the children of the "world's elite" is such ....

People at my crammer who'd gone there seemed to be pretty darned bright

peteneras Sun 11-Aug-13 21:27:10

". . . the air of effortless superiority that Etonians all appear to have which means they can only mix with other Etonians for fear of being strangled".

Really? Are you talking about the Victorian times or perhaps the 1940's/1950's?

My DS has just returned from Spain last week having spent appx. 2 weeks there travelling/hiking/eating/sleeping, etc. with a group of his medic friends - all state schools - from Barcelona - -> Valencia - -> Granada - -> Seville where they finally took a flight back to the UK. No problems there mixing with non Etonians. They’re already talking about similar trips next year in another country.

Talkinpeace Sun 11-Aug-13 21:31:12

yeah but they are a gang of undergrad medics - the scariest species on the planet grin

peteneras Sun 11-Aug-13 21:39:17

Don't worry, they're not about to operate on you or anyone else for that matter. Not until they're fully qualified and competent! grin

curlew Sun 11-Aug-13 21:44:00

<baffled emoticon>

curlew Sun 11-Aug-13 21:46:29

But a serious round of applause for paternas's ds- the only Etonian in recorded history whose friends all come from state schools........

BoundandRebound Sun 11-Aug-13 21:47:16

Lol at talkinpeace, you've got that right, med students argh

SunnyIntervals Sun 11-Aug-13 21:53:17

It is possible for young children to get obsessed with certain things in their future. A family friend who is around my age saw a choir school on Blue Peter in about 1982. He decided he was going to be a chorister and begged and begged to be allowed to do the audition. Parents eventually agreed thinking he wouldn't get in. He did and then wanted to board. They agreed, having previously been set on day state education only! He is now late 30s and seems very happy - boarding worked for him.

I also had a student when I was a Uni tutor who age 9 had found out that the local indie girls' school offered scholarships. She wrote herself, parents posted it. She got a place and then ultimately and again at her instigation a scholarship for 6th form at a top public school (won't say where or what scholarship as would out her). Some kids are just very go-getting at a young age.

SunnyIntervals Sun 11-Aug-13 21:54:48

And for the record, I went up a Comp and the old Etonian I was at college with was very well mannered and pleasant - nice guy!

IndridCold Sun 11-Aug-13 22:40:31

Wow! I'm seriously impressed that curlew knows the full details of the friendships of every single OE in recorded history...

curlew Mon 12-Aug-13 08:48:08

Indrid- I think I am pretty safe in saying that there must be vanishingly few(read no) OEs whose friends are all state school educated!

SunnyIntervals Mon 12-Aug-13 09:09:53

curlew, how many people who go to Uni end up with friends who are all state ed anyway? I went to a comp all the way from 11-18 and my friends are around half and half - don't even remember who is what any more!!

GooseyLoosey Mon 12-Aug-13 09:30:45

I have little experience, but ds (at a local prep school) was recently advised by a very experienced teacher to consider Eton.

Ds has an IQ similar to your son's, but I think what prompted the suggestion was his personality.

He always has an opinion - usually a slightly off the wall one. He is outgoing and always wants to be heard. He dominates group discussions (which we and he accept is a problem). He has an endless thirst for knowledge and always wants to take everything further and explore the possibilities of each piece of knowledge he acquires. He challenges his teachers' perceptions of things all the time. He never follows the crowd but is happy in his own skin and prepared to go his own way when it deviates from what his peers want to do.

We did explore the possibility and talked to Eton. They were very positive about ds. However, we decided not to go ahead for a number of reasons.

IndridCold Mon 12-Aug-13 09:42:34

curlew - at no point does peteneras claim that all his DS's friends are state school educated, just the ones from med school with whom he has gone on holiday.

titchy Mon 12-Aug-13 09:56:56

Anyone else chuckling inwardly at Pete having forked out probably the best part of £1/4m to have his ds mixing with state educated dcs all doing exactly the same but whose parents are £250k better off? No, just me then....

curlew Mon 12-Aug-13 10:24:25

Nope. Me too.

drkag Mon 12-Aug-13 10:27:36

wow, what a can of worms. gooseyLossey our sons sound very similar. i am not really comfortable with the diea of boarding but am prepared to keep my options open.

With regards ot the poster who stated it was me driving the decision, no not at all. As mentioned the IQ test was done by an ed psych when he was having problems at school with behaviour and telling the teachers he was bored. I didn't post on here for people to criticise me merely for advice.

DoItTooJulia Mon 12-Aug-13 10:38:02

I'm never sure why people who hold certain things with disdain open threads about those very things? And then comment, effectively pissing on the parade.

If your ds is clever enough and you have the inclination to help him get there, good on you!

JourneyThroughLife Mon 12-Aug-13 10:45:34

Only just found this thread, but I can assure you it isn't too early to start thinking about Eton. If that's where your son wants to go, there's nothing wrong in that. Look into it, gather information, explain to him what's involved, especially academic ability, encourage him but don't push him (Eton is not interested in pushy parents) and make him aware of other options if Eton doesn't work out.
I do know something about Eton. Boys get in due to academic ability, nothing to do with social class or the money their parents can throw around. There is an exam plus a series of interviews. Boys who will suit Eton are not only academically able but have a certain independance and level of maturity, it just shows as they talk. If a boy is extremely able he can also take the Kings Scholar exam; if he passes, everything is paid and he will enter 'College' - but there are only about 14 places per year. However, if he is suitable for Eton and parents do not have much money, it is possible for him to gain other scholarships and fees help...there are boys from all walks of life at Eton, from single parent families, from financially poor backgrounds, even from overseas refugee camps.... They are united in a love of learning and curiosity about the world, they do not spend their time discussing what their parents do or don't do for a living, it's irrelevent to them, whatever the media may have you believe.
Boarding is not a negative experience, it's only bad if the child doesn't want to go and is forced. If your son loves the idea of being with his friends and having lots of activities available and mates to do them with, boarding will be fine and no, it won't 'change' your relationship with your son at all. On the plus side, Eton is the only school where boys have their own study bedroom right from the start, it means they have private space to do their homework and stuff in, or a room where they can invite all their mates in whenever they like, which is brilliant.
Why not bring your son on a visit and let him look round? It commits you to nothing and gives you and him the chance to know what you're really talking about...

drkag Mon 12-Aug-13 11:02:38

Thanyou jouneythrough life, a really useful post, unlike some!!. Yes I think I will definitely take him to visit. Are there open days or should it be arranged specially. He is so excited by the prospect of boarding. I need ot get my head around it but equally I imagine by the time children are thirtenn they are pretty independant and the realtionship is very different as to that of a six year old. There is a school 30 mins form us that had a rputation fo sending boys to ETon, ti is baording or day. He is so happy where he is now but if he passed the test at 11 I may look at him going there as a day pupil from 11-13.

SunnyIntervals Mon 12-Aug-13 11:03:38

I agree about the pissing on the parade.

I only have one DS who has been deaf (undx) and has consequent speech and language problems. I could sit here saying to the op, 'thank your lucky stars', but I am just pleased for her that her DS is so able and interested in the world! Who wouldn't be?

IndridCold Mon 12-Aug-13 12:59:15

drkag you should contact the Admissions Office regarding visits, there are many which take place throughout the year.

You might also want to think about visiting Eton to see it at play. They have their Action Day sometime in September, which anyone can visit. The boys organise lots of activities to raise money for charity, and it might be fun if you can get down to it; I don't know the date offhand, but it will be on the Eton website.

Regarding moving school at 11-13, once he has passed the test there shouldn't really be a need if he is happy where he is and you are confident that the school can handle Common Entrance. As far as Eton is concerned their own test is the crucial factor and he will then only have to pass CE.

My son went to an good, but non-selective prep school in Devon, he had no extra tutoring and he got in.

curlew Mon 12-Aug-13 13:07:09

Honestly, please go gently. He's only 6.

difficultpickle Mon 12-Aug-13 13:31:30

Why would you choose a day school at 11 if you are planning on a full boarding school at 13? Surely it would be better for your ds to have some experience of boarding before he moves several hundred miles away and isn't allowed home every night or weekends?

Personally I wouldn't choose a boarding school that is more than 1.5 hours drive from home at the most. Otherwise it is next to impossible to have any involvement in your ds's school life (concerts, sports matches etc).

drkag Mon 12-Aug-13 13:47:27

Thanks. My husbands job is moving to London so may well be we live nearer then.

Zigster Mon 12-Aug-13 13:50:20

I do think it sounds as if you're pushing things a bit for a 6 year old. Having said that, my eldest DS is also 6 and his school suggested an IQ test due to "difficulties" he was having in class - for that read being a PITA as his mind was working overtime so he was a bit disruptive.

We didn't go ahead with the IQ test in the end as we were wary about labelling him at such an early age and the disruptive behaviour seems to have mostly eased off. Never thought about it as an indication we should be thinking about Eton! wink

I'm State-school educated but have known a few Old Etonians over the years as colleagues. They are generally nice guys - clearly posh, confident, privileged - and likeable despite my innate prejudices. In fact, one of my OE colleagues refers to his school as "his dirty secret" and tends to me very coy about admitting to it as he knows people judge him on it (and not always fairly). I only know because I interviewed him and it was on his CV.

GooseyLoosey Mon 12-Aug-13 15:38:03

Zigster - that is one of the things that put me off Eton. Everyone I know who went there seems to feel obliged to apologise for the fact because of their (largely correct) assumptions about how they will otherwise be perceived.

pusspusslet Mon 12-Aug-13 20:39:52

JourneyThroughLife said:

"I do know something about Eton. Boys get in due to academic ability, nothing to do with social class or the money their parents can throw around."

Well we know that isn't true if we think about it for a moment. Prince Harry followed Prince William there, even though Harry is famously (by his own admission/boast) un-academic. And I'm glad he did too: after the early and sudden and traumatic loss of his mother, I'm sure that to be at school with his big brother was the best thing for him.

I'm not criticising for a moment, but I do think it's a bit naive to suggest that social class/social standing plays no part in Eton's decisions about who to allow in.

Fairdene Mon 12-Aug-13 22:37:34

In fact that sort of mitigation (the early and sudden and traumatic loss of a mother) would ease the way into almost all top schools, private or state, if it meant keeping two grieving siblings together.

On another point, I wouldn't set too much store on IQ tests, particularly at this early stage. So many people seem to rely on high scores as though that's it, with no other factors at play in determining successful outcomes to schools, unis and jobs, which is bollocks of course. My BIL scored almost exactly the same as the OP's son at around the same age but is really quite dull, both conversationally and in what he's achieved objectively re. exams, uni and career. Perfectly nice and convivial, but certainly quite limited on almost all fronts.

I know lots of Etonians of at least three generations and I'd say that even the youngest generation doesn't have to be all that to get in. Some will be brilliant of course, but the lowest achievers at Eton will be very middle of the road, academically speaking.

peteneras Tue 13-Aug-13 01:33:57

Curlew, if you had gone to Eton yourself then you might have a better comprehension of what I said instead of assuming all and sundry and putting words in my mouth. At the risk of repeating myself, I said DS went to Spain recently with a group of his medic friends who were all state school educated. And that’s exactly it. Just a little point to prove Etonians can and do mix with non Etonians.

Nowhere in my post had I said the uni that DS attends has only state school pupils. Neither did I say my DS’s friends all come from state schools. You are evidently seeing things that are not there, which is quite worrying.

Of course, my DS has all kinds of friends - from both state and independent sector. He counts as some of his friends, a caretaker in a nearby council estate, our local postman, right up to a multi-millionaire, a couple of Lords (his ex-schoolmates), to name but a few.

Somehow you come across as someone with a big chip on the shoulder. Or is it a log? First, you barge into this Eton thread with precious nothing to offer, only to reveal your true desire to strangle Etonians (no need to pretend otherwise) which is pretty mean, don’t you think? What have Etonians done to you (or your family) to invoke your obvious hatred for them and their School? You are clearly consumed by envy and jealousy.

Get a life!

Gruntfuttocks Tue 13-Aug-13 01:49:53

FWIW, young kids can and do make decisions about their future and are capable of following through. My eldest decided what he wanted to do aged and never wavered from it. He's now 20 and studying his chosen subject at the university he picked aged 7... Eton was suggested by one of his junior school teachers, but wasn't right for us as a family. If it's what you and he want, go for it.

Gruntfuttocks Tue 13-Aug-13 01:50:34

Sorry that should have said aged 7

peteneras Tue 13-Aug-13 01:54:18

”Anyone else chuckling inwardly at Pete having forked out probably the best part of £1/4m to have his ds mixing with state educated dcs all doing exactly the same but whose parents are £250k better off? No, just me then....”

There are more ways than one to enter Eton titchy, but only if you can temporarily set aside your prejudice and learn how. More than 200 boys pay substantially reduced fees (60% and upward); and that’s not counting around 50 boys who pay absolute zilch!

Be that as it may with a £250K price tag, you still have four times as many parents as there are places each year frantically waving their fat cheque books and falling over themselves trying to buy their sons an Eton education.


That’s because All roads lead from Eton!.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Tue 13-Aug-13 07:22:40

I feel very sorry for anyone who sees education as a way to narrow horizons - Curlew, is that what you believe? One of the great things about Eton and other good schools is that they encourage the students to widen their horizons - meet, mix, socialise, work with people of every background. Money well spent.

kalidasa Tue 13-Aug-13 07:48:36

It does seem a bit early, but for a very bright boy Eton is not the only option, especially if you are going to be in London. I'd look at Westminster, Winchester, St Paul's, UCS, King's Wimbledon. I would be very cautious about boarding, especially if you will be living a long way away, and even if your son is very keen. (And I say that as someone who chose to board myself - my mother was very anti - and who enjoyed it.) I would also think carefully about whether single-sex education is what you want, especially in a boarding environment.

I don't usually comment on education threads but I think the op is getting a bit of a hard time.

it sounds to me like Eton is worth finding out more about as well as other options for your son. the thread title had me expecting a question about whether it was challenging enough for a bright child, sounds like some think it will be. a keen boarder will thoroughly enjoy themselves and 13 is a lot older than 6 in that respect.

good luck op and ops son!

OhDearConfused Tue 13-Aug-13 09:33:07

What have Etonians done to you (or your family) to invoke your obvious hatred for them and their School?

Run the country badly ?

Greythorne Tue 13-Aug-13 09:38:44


I know you think you are presenting Eton in a positive light but your 'all roads lead from Eton' links are doing the exact opposite. Bumptious, boastful, mocking Parents like you are the exact reason normal people think they need to avoid Eton parents.

Apologies to Indrid and others who seem v down to earth.

Fairdene Tue 13-Aug-13 09:51:01

I agree Greythorne. From what I've read on these threads in the past, the rather ridiculous position that an Eton education is unarguably the best education on offer is narrow (and indeed ill-educated) in the extreme. All roads clearly do not lead from any one school.

peteneras Tue 13-Aug-13 11:08:17

Of course, you're right Fairdene and Greythorne. All roads don't lead from Eton. It's deliberately written to mock. My DD went to a state school and to her that's the best school in the world. Who am I to disagree especially now that she's got a well paid, satisfying job when she's not even 23 yet?

noddyholder Tue 13-Aug-13 11:10:27

He is 6 he has a fantasy of what Eton is Just say yes dear and let him be a child

noddyholder Tue 13-Aug-13 11:10:55

Have you seen some of the idiots that school has churned out?

adeucalione Tue 13-Aug-13 11:17:52

I'm sure that in its 600 year history it's churned out loads of idiots, and also loads of impressive young men, much like any other school.

FWIW I know two old Etonians and they are both of the impressive variety.

noddyholder Tue 13-Aug-13 11:21:44

As long as you are 'one of them' I am sure you thrive but i doubt its very inclusive and the extra curricular and family element in schools like that are huge you need the money and connections you fully embrace it.

Greythorne Tue 13-Aug-13 12:17:38

Deliberately boastful or just plain boastful, pete the impact is the perpetuate myths about pushy, snobby, full of themselves Eton parents.

hatsybatsy Tue 13-Aug-13 19:11:23

JourneyThroughLife said:

"I do know something about Eton. Boys get in due to academic ability, nothing to do with social class or the money their parents can throw around."

ROFL at this - surely one of the main ways Eton does select boys is based on ability to pay? Sure there are some subsidised places - a very small % of the total despite the original charitable aim of the school. For the vast majority of families 'in the middle' - ie over the threshold for subsidised fees but not at millionaire status. the fees are far far beyond our reach. However bright my ds is, there is no way he can go to eton - and the only thing stopping him would be that we don't have money that we can afford to throw around.

FWIW the only Etonian I know is a very bright, very sociable bloke who has no intention of sending his 2 sons there (even though he has money to burn) - I think that says a lot.

Talkinpeace Tue 13-Aug-13 19:15:51

Boys get in due to academic ability, nothing to do with social class or the money their parents can throw around

and its lucky that Eton is (like other very expensive schools) happy to accept pupils under false names so that their parents at the top of the Chinese Communist party are not compromised

peteneras Tue 13-Aug-13 21:04:41

There’s nothing to boast Greythorne, like it or not, the facts remain the same - that Eton’s impact is devastating, which explains why the very mention of the School causes so much stir. Nothing to do with pushy, snobby parents etc.

peteneras Tue 13-Aug-13 21:10:36

”and its lucky that Eton is (like other very expensive schools) happy to accept pupils under false names so that their parents at the top of the Chinese Communist party are not compromised”

Pupils like, for example . . .?

Talkinpeace Tue 13-Aug-13 21:16:33

Bo Xilai's son who went to Harrow and Harvard under an assumed name
the son of the current chairman of the Communist party who has just finished UK public school
their daughter who is at Yale under an assumed name
and many more : as documented in some amusement by the Economist

Kim Jong Un was not at school in the west under that name
nor are the children of many Russian politicians

peteneras Tue 13-Aug-13 21:24:02

Ahhh . . . I see, they all went to all kinds of public schools and top universities under false names except ETON!

Talkinpeace Tue 13-Aug-13 21:34:37

sorry, I named a very, very few who have been outed - from memory - there are dozens and dozens and your are darned complacent and rude to assume that because I cannot name 14 year olds who have not been outed, they do not exist.

britishsummer Tue 13-Aug-13 21:35:13

Drkag, is there any other information that would be useful to you now? You have been reassured that your son has the potential to get into Eton (I suspect that you already knew this) as he would to any other superselective school. No-one can guarantee at this early stage that you would get a bursary as this is competitive and will depend on the ability and need of other applicants. If you wish to think about Eton at this early stage then, as others have suggested, looking round some other schools now and nearer year 6 would be helpful.
Eton, as peteneras parodies, rightly or wrongly has a certain socially superior reputation which may not necessarily be an advantage in future life but does deliver a superb all round education

peteneras Tue 13-Aug-13 21:56:48

You call me rude instead of thanking me for educating you. I guess you’ve never heard of words like libel and defamation, etc.

If you cannot name 14 year olds etc. etc. then please for your own sake, don’t tell the world, "Eton is (like other very expensive schools) happy to accept pupils under false names so that their parents at the top of the Chinese Communist party are not compromised". You could get into troubles beyond your imagination.

encyclogirl Tue 13-Aug-13 22:15:05

Op, no harm in following the path a while. Lots of parents of Etonians around to advise. Colleger springs to mind.

IndridCold Wed 14-Aug-13 12:25:24

Is it wrong to educate the elite of other countries, even those with dodgy human rights? Or rather, isn't it an encouraging sign that the newly wealthy in these countries feel that the best possible education they can buy for their children is in the West. Might this not be a sign that in future these regimes could change for the better?

In fact I do remember the Economist being slightly mocking of Chinese parents who insisted on their children having a webcam trained on them while they worked so that they could watch them. However, I think that this quote, from a February edition of the Economist, more accurately sums up their feelings about British public schools.

"As their domestic difficulties grow, though, Britain’s private schools suck in ever more pupils from across the world. An influx of Chinese and Russian students has made staid boarding schools cosmopolitan. Half of Roedean’s intake comes from outside Britain. It requires pupils to learn Mandarin, to help Chinese newcomers feel welcome. Private schools are an under-acknowledged source of Britain’s reputation as a global hub and a device for projecting soft power. They could do with being a little more loved at home."

Incidentally, Eton have a policy of keeping their intake of overseas boys at 10% and not all of them are Chinese by any means. It would be wrong that all the Chinese boys are hugely rich either (although I'm not denying that some of they are). Two Chinese brothers in my son's house both receive bursaries.

I'm quite happy for people to criticise Eton, but I do prefer that criticism to be reasonably accurate. Just bandying the name of the Economist around doesn't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear of a point. Points like 'Have you seen some of the idiots that school has churned out?' hardly make for a stimulating debate either. At least the OP will get a taste of what is in store for him/her and his/her son if they do plump for Eton.

I'm only really bothering with this because it's too rainy to do gardening and I'm putting off cleaning the bathroom. Wealthy and privileged, my arse!

Somethingyesterday Wed 14-Aug-13 14:11:17

Thank you Indrid That's a rather helpful response. I'll have a look for the Economist article. I'm not keen on Eton threads - always far more rumour than fact....

OP Someone above said that if your Ds "passes" KS then everything is paid. This is not the case. Whether the poster meant passing as in doing well enough to be able to skip CE or as in actually being awarded a scholarship is unclear. But the KS on its own only confers a relatively small percentage reduction in fees. Anything beyond that would be from a means tested bursary. And most bursaries are awarded shortly after pre-assessment when the boy is about 11.

You will know this already but the date you need to keep in mind is when your Ds is 10 and a half. You must register before this, unless you are certain you will only be applying for KS.

Lots of clever all rounders don't "get into" this particular school. The boys who do are generally not just clever but talkative and fun to be with. The sort of boy who is a joy to teach and to coach on the sports field.

peteneras Thu 15-Aug-13 00:03:43

”One of the great things about Eton and other good schools is that they encourage the students to widen their horizons - meet, mix, socialise, work with people of every background.”

Very much so indeed. Two summers ago whilst most state school kids (and former ones) were busy looting, robbing, and burning down shops in cities throughout the UK and generally tearing Britain apart, DS found himself right in the middle of an African jungle in Tanzania.

No, he wasn’t there on a safari holiday or anything like that. Dodging crocodiles by day; evading lions by night and pestered by malarial mosquitoes day and night, he volunteered to be there for 6 weeks teaching jungle kids English and Maths. One hears of people from “underprivileged backgrounds” in the UK needing outreach help to go to Oxbridge which actually makes my toes laugh. These Tanzanian children in the middle of nowhere didn’t even have access to a pencil, never mind about going to school.

The irony was that DS didn’t even have to spend a single minute in this hell but instead having a luxurious time mixing with top celebrities. Prior to him leaving for Africa, he was invited to travel to the other side of the world in East Asia to spend a few weeks as a guest of the family of a high-ranking politician, if not the highest ranking politician. He chose Africa!

adeucalione Thu 15-Aug-13 06:23:08

If I remember correctly there were a number of high profile looters who attended private schools, including Charlie Gilmour.

Most of my son's state school friends are desperate to go on the school trip to Africa next year, which includes carrying out charity work of the nature you describe, but it costs £3000 so is beyond the reach of most. I expect they would choose it over a jaunt to a friend's home too, for altruistic reasons and also because they think it'd look good on their personal statement.

There's been a lot of nonsense about Eton on this thread, but now you're essentially making their argument for them.

SunnyIntervals Thu 15-Aug-13 07:01:20

Peter, what an awful thing to say sad

Do you really think 'most' state school pupils were looting? You do know it was a tiny percentage?

And as to charity work, did you know poorer families actually give a higher proportion of their salaries to charity than the better off? Here:

It really is very hard for some children in this country to get anywhere Oxbridge, so the idea you find that funny is very upsetting. I am an Oxbridge graduate and used to help dc from less well off backgrounds with applying. They often had no bedroom of their own to do homework, no one who spoke English to look at any of the application materials with them and no one from the school or home who had any idea what a personal statement should contain.

SunnyIntervals Thu 15-Aug-13 07:08:09

I am so glad that I have a delightful colleague who has a DS at Eton, Peter, otherwise I would take your comments as representative of Eton parents. By the way, she helps out on the same university outreach programme.

Eton probably look at your posts (doubtless they monitor social media as many schools do) and are horrified by your posts, Peter. You really do risk bringing the school into disrepute sad

curlew Thu 15-Aug-13 07:25:58

Paternas- even by your standards, that's outrageous.

And I am sure that the "jungle kids" we're suitably grateful How lucky these people are to have 18 year olds from the developed world parachuted in for 6 weeks every summer to teach them everything thy know........

drkag Thu 15-Aug-13 07:41:47

Beginning to wish i'd never opened this thread. Thanks for all the helpful comments, we're going to wait a few years then go and look around whilst continuing to encourage him in all he does. I think the overarching thing that comes over here is that as parents, we all strive to give our children the best with whatever we have but we shouldn't judge those who do different. I guess this has enlightened me to what he could expect if he did go to eton but having done some further research it would also give him some amazing opportunities. Maybe I am so desperate to give him tese opportunities as I am from an incredibly working class background, state educated and fought to get where I am in life, i just want it to be easier for him.

Greythorne Thu 15-Aug-13 07:47:31


Yes, probably best to wait awhile. But don't forget the jungle kids your DS will be uniquely placed to help if he attends Eton.

curlew Thu 15-Aug-13 07:54:54

Seriously, Drkag- please ignore paternas- he is a bonkers eccentric regular poster.

I am sure your son will do well- the most important thing for a child is interested and supportive parents. Encourage him, don't rain on his parade, but remember he is 6 and needs to do 6 year old stuff as well as all the "older kid" stuff he does. Pretending to be Batman is as important to his development as trumpet and rugby practice!

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 15-Aug-13 10:03:26

Peter - do you think outreach might have helped your DS get into Oxbridge?

DS's school supports a school in Africa. Our parish supports a different school, in a diffeent African country. There are trips out to Both each year, I doubt my kids will ever go despite our family paying the fees for 3 kids at one if the schools, because the cost of a trip out there for one person is 100 times the monthly fee for all 3 kids So, better to spend the money on the fees rather than gadding around playing lady/lord bountiful, don't you think?

motherinferior Thu 15-Aug-13 10:10:54

Oh, just send him to a normal school. He'll be perfectly well educated, and you'll save loads of money.

encyclogirl Thu 15-Aug-13 10:54:17

Drkrag, I totally identify with every word of your last post.

We paid our bill for school fees this morning and I felt so proud of myself for being able to do this for ds. He's not off to Eton, we live in Ireland and its a local independent school, but it's a huge deal for us.

I come from a working class background too and have worked like a dog to get to point where we can send him.

IndridCold Thu 15-Aug-13 10:58:17

Presumably peteneras's toes don't laugh at the university summer school that Eton runs as it is, naturally, the best outreach course 'in the world'.

OP - weird thread in which the most pro-Eton poster has succeeded in being the most off-putting!

I wish you and your DS well, and best of luck with your Eton application, if that's how you decide to proceed.

britishsummer Thu 15-Aug-13 11:19:00

Drkag, unfortunately it seems impossible to separate the amazing opportunities that Eton gives (mainly to a certain economic tranchant of society) from the brand Eton. In Europe and the States Eton is know as the school that royalty goes to and symbolises quaint British customs. In the Far East it seems to be revered. It is probably just trying to be the best school possible as well as conveying a sense of social responsibility to its entitled (mostly) pupils. It, as all selective private schools, does not have the monopoly on high achieving children. It is just a very large, well financed, well run educational establishment producing 260 boys per year who have had a privileged eductation. This large number of boys will include a significant minority (or their parents) who may be rather up themselves and therefore perptuate the view of "detached from society / arrogant" Eton.

encyclogirl Thu 15-Aug-13 12:04:19

britishsummer, Dh's cousin went and his mother was a nightmare about it.

peteneras Thu 15-Aug-13 12:36:33

Hey folks, let’s not get all worked up but read deeper into what I said and put things into their proper perspectives. I’ll start by re-quoting what was said by an earlier poster on this thread:

”One of the great things about Eton and other good schools is that they encourage the students to widen their horizons - meet, mix, socialise, work with people of every background”.

Very much so, I replied, and then went on to say what my DS did in Africa. In no way did my post imply only Eton does charitable work to the exclusion of all other schools. Look at the quote again, the key words are “Eton and other good schools”! So yes, well done all you parents and kids from both state and indie schools alike who’d done charitable work.

It is good to remember that Charlie Gilmour did not take part in the 2011 summer riots of looting and wanton destruction (for absolutely no reasons) in the whole of the UK. He was only protesting in an earlier demonstration against the rise in tuition fees in one legitimate and official demonstration held in London, a cause I can well sympathise with but don’t approve of the damages he’d caused to some of the street furniture.

As regards outreach and Oxbridge in the UK, I laugh when I think of this question: What’s wrong with, for example, the likes of Warwick, or Leicester, or Kent or even London Metropolitan? You are crying over not being able to go to Oxford or Cambridge while I’m thinking of children that don’t even have pencils. Oh sorry, I forgot our Western lives are more precious and important than those jungle kids from Africa.

curlew Thu 15-Aug-13 12:40:29

Well, I think I might start by c and p this from your post "Two summers ago whilst most state school kids (and former ones) were busy looting, robbing, and burning down shops in cities throughout the UK and generally tearing Britain apart, DS found himself right in the middle of an African jungle in Tanzania."

How are you going to try to weasel yourself out of "most state school kids"? Can't wait to see you try.

peteneras Thu 15-Aug-13 12:47:49

Well, they have now got a few hundred being hauled up in court and are still looking for many more hundreds. Name me those from indie/public schools.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 15-Aug-13 13:07:54

Peter I'm not crying. I went there. And I'm not spending good money to allow my kids look like lord and lady bountiful 'teaching' kids in Africa (after all they aren't teachers they are kids) I'm spending good money funding kids to go to school to be taught by proper teachers there, not posh idiots with inflated senses of their own ability.

I would be crying though if I'd spent hundreds of thousands sending my kids to Eton and they didn't end up at Cambridge though.

curlew Thu 15-Aug-13 13:10:17

"Well, they have now got a few hundred being hauled up in court and are still looking for many more hundreds. Name me those from indie/public schools."

You said "most state school kids" Most.

And bearing in mind that only 7% of kids go to independent schools and a vanishingly small % come from seriously disadvantaged backgrounds (I would like to say none, but I know somebody will then come up with one) I would be quite surprised if many independent school pupils were involved in the riots! And it would be incredibly shocking if they were. As it is shocking when you hear of the behaviour of, for example, the members of the Bullingdon Club. Or the behaviour of post exam pupils from independent schools in places like New Quay.

curlew Thu 15-Aug-13 13:27:58

Bearing in mind that there are something like 3 million secondary school pupils in the UK, if "most" had rioted it would have been a lot more dramatic than it was.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 15-Aug-13 13:36:14

Remember Peter included 'former' as well. So, basically everyone. It would have been a revolution.

curlew Thu 15-Aug-13 13:45:57

It wouldn't, you know. A thin black line of Etonians would have stood between us and the abyss.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 15-Aug-13 13:50:02

Just like at Waterloo? grin But surely it's been proved now that the 'won on the playing fields of Eton' thing is tosh since any fule kno Waterloo was actually won by Sharpe and Harper. Just like Trafalgar. And every other significant military or naval encounter that occurred in their lifetimes.

I wonder how Eton compares to kingscote (if we draw a veil over the whole 'fictional' thing).

peteneras Thu 15-Aug-13 13:55:55

ROTS, Oxbridge may be your God but don’t expect everybody to follow your religion. If you are happy to fund your kids to be taught by ‘proper teachers’ so that they can ultimately make that pilgrimage to Oxbridge to master Old Norse or something, and come out later to compete against the global world, then well and good. In the meantime, you and your kids will just have to make do and live your lives as directed by some posh idiots who’d gone to some idiotic schools.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 15-Aug-13 14:01:53

Peter - your reading comprehension is a bit poor! The proper teachers comment was contrasting the professional teachers teaching at the schools funded by my DSs school and our parish, and your DS. Who is not a professional teacher. Not even a graduate.

Cambridge is not my god, and oxford is even less so, you are the one obsessed with Oxbridge. You mention it all the time.

And since you don't know what my job is, perhaps a little less of the 'living my life as directed by some posh idiots who went to idiotic schools' would be in order. You might find that you are living your life as directed by me.

peteneras Thu 15-Aug-13 14:04:55

But curlew, I don't see anything like 7% of those hauled up in court representing the proportion that is private school kids. Given there may be one or two individuals amongst the many hundreds/thousands but they certainly are not representative of the 7% private school kids.

peteneras Thu 15-Aug-13 14:17:02

Oh really ROTS? In an anonymous forum like MN and others, anyone can claim to be the Queen of Africa and had gone to Cambridge. But I've lived long enough to know otherwise and my life experiences don't allow me to accept anything other than cast iron proof. Similarly, my background dictates that one university is as good as the other especially when going to primary school was a problem for many people once upon a time.

titchy Thu 15-Aug-13 17:40:46

Whilst I don't wish to piss on anyone's kids charity trips to Africa parade can I just point out that donatin the air fare to Oxfam will do far far far more good to 'jungle kids' without so much as a pencil than unqualified teenagers 'doing' Africa over their summer hols.

Fairdene Thu 15-Aug-13 19:25:08

The problem is that many people on MN believe that they're anonymous but out themselves by naming specific schools, gender of DC in particular school years, university subjects etc. Some people on MN are discreet, others aren't bothered, but some believe erroneously that in a small world of top schools they haven't identified themselves or their DC. For those who do mind, they need to take care.

SunnyIntervals Thu 15-Aug-13 19:44:31

True! I have recognised a colleague, my nct teacher and a bf counsellor on here!

Fairdene Thu 15-Aug-13 19:55:46

Quite. The DC who go to these schools and unis can recognise parents and therefore their DC too.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 15-Aug-13 19:58:59

Although obvs that's not always a bad thing. grin

motherinferior Thu 15-Aug-13 20:09:42

I was spotted talking about my kids' state primary grin

I am quite open about who I am, though.

It is almost certainly irrelevant that the two boys from Eton at my Oxford college in my year were well known for being Nice but Dim. grin

Zigster Thu 15-Aug-13 21:20:37

I recognised my next door neighbour on here recently. Never mentioned it to her and feel slightly embarrassed as she was being quite open about something which she wouldn't have (I think) if she hadn't thought she was anonymous.

For exactly the reasons you've mentioned, I wouldn't mention the school my DCs attend.

SunnyIntervals Thu 15-Aug-13 21:49:27

Zig, my colleague has a user name that she just tweaks slightly - something like Smartie, TheLastSmartie, SmartieGoesOn (completely different from her actual user name but you get the idea!)

I feel really bad when the threads are about highly personal stuff as I hardly know her - I have wondered if I should hint but think that would be equally unkind, because then she might feel very exposed iykwim!

I try not to read her posts!

Fairdene Thu 15-Aug-13 22:36:53

I enjoy it greatly when people have outed themselves by naming top schools, competitive courses, middling unis and allegedly top everything else, plus or minus an identifying feature and then think they're anonymous and can talk tosh. But then my world is cloistered I guess grin.

Mumziwumzi Mon 14-Oct-13 18:44:03

Drkag, enjoyed your thread. I admire your hope to give your super bright son a good start in life. I just wanted to say that there are many, many excellent schools that can do the job, especially if there is a supportive home environment.
If you want an elite academic education for him, Eton probably isn't the best as there are schools with greater focus on pure academics rather than building rounded characters. AFAIK, Eton would choose an above-average boy with verve and talent in music or sport over an Einstein with less 'fire' or interest in team activities.
I note the banter above regarding the nature of OEs. I find it amusing because, while a few boys will always be odious because they just are, or they've been reared to consider themselves a 'cut-above' because of their fine breeding or large wealth, the majority of Eton boys are lovely chaps and turn out able to socialise with all-comers (Prince Harry is a good example, clearly bright but not an intellectual), even the naturally shy ones. My B block (U6) son has friends across the social spectrum and he finds that the wealthy ones tend to be 'chip-free' and lacking in prejudice, in contrast to the widespread inverted snobbery of the media.

BadgerB Wed 16-Oct-13 13:51:48

Prince Harry - bright? Really!!

smee Thu 17-Oct-13 09:43:11

Prince Harry bright?! <snort>

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