Eton - housemasters

(17 Posts)
PriscillaLydiaSellon Fri 12-Jul-13 14:53:40

Hello!
My lucky DS has been offered a place at Eton for 2015. He is thrilled, and so are we - but we're not sure what to do about housemasters.
DS can only go if he gets a music scholarship and bursary when he's in Year 8. The admissions tutor (who has been great right the way through the process) has suggested that we leave the housemaster selection until then, and says that there will likely be a housemaster who is actively seeking a music scholar at that point. We are inclined to take his advice, as he has been so brilliant generally - but has anyone else deferred their housemaster choice?
I should add that DS has AS; the admissions tutor is aware of this and has been very welcoming!
I would welcome any advice...

peteneras Fri 12-Jul-13 17:42:08

Really happy for the both of you especially your son who is ‘fixated on Eton’ which you once said (if I remember correctly). Glad that the worry of missing the boat re registration dateline, etc. is all behind you now.

Congratulations!!!

Only one Housemaster comes immediately to mind - or to be precise, a Deputy Housemaster, David Goode. But unfortunately, he is not at any other house; he’s at College. But that doesn’t mean he is inaccessible to Oppidans - he’s still an Eton master!

A fantastic and gifted organist, you’ll just have to listen to David Goode play to see what I mean. I’m sure your son will flourish under his wings.

bico Fri 12-Jul-13 21:23:56

I've met David Goode when he played at St George's Chapel. Seemed to be a very nice man indeed and indulged ds by giving him a tour of the organ loft.

bico Fri 12-Jul-13 21:34:26

I forgot to add congratulations to your ds. He must be very musically able if you are hoping for a music scholarship. Good luck.

britishsummer Fri 12-Jul-13 22:31:57

OP, following your DS's success (fantastic for him), can't you now make your formal bursary application and therefore get an answer in Year 7? You must already have a provisional idea from the bursar how much you are likely to get. Not sure I understand why you have to wait for the music scholarship before committing to selecting a house. Is it because the provisional bursary estimate is insufficient without the 10% fee reduction and music lessons paid for as part of the music scholarship?
TBH is n't it better to go through the choice of house process at the same time as everybody else unless you really think the sums might not add up?

PriscillaLydiaSellon Fri 12-Jul-13 23:12:55

Thanks, all, for the congrats. We are very happy!

Britishsummer: got it in one! Though we have asked that they already put the bursary application into action, so we will see what they say.

That said, DS is a distinctly tricky customer, and we feel that he would 'fit in' best if he has a pre-made niche as a music scholar. He got a Distinction in Grade 8 piano when he was 10, and should - if he keeps his momentum going - be at a similar level on two other instruments by the time he has the music audition in Year 8. Plus he's a cathedral chorister, so is getting a great musical training on a daily basis. All v fab - but I will qualify it by saying that we pay for this particular form of high-functioning in all sorts of other ways...

Peteneras and bico: it's interesting that you should mention David Goode, as we have encountered him. When we first went to look round, he was in the chapel organ loft, and asked DS to improvise something for him. They got on very well (and DS by no means gets on with everyone...)

peteneras Sat 13-Jul-13 02:37:32

’ When we first went to look round, he was in the chapel organ loft. . .’

He lives up there, OP, - that’s his second home! grin

Seriously, with a stellar musical achievement like your son’s, if he can’t get a MS, well, I don’t know who can. What kind of house do you hope for him to go to; one with loads of MS’s/ME’e, a mixed house with all sorts or a house with not many scholars of any type so that your DS could be the star of that house?

Just over 20% of the whole school is given financial help averaging 60%. That’s around £20,000! The school is working towards 25% to be given help. Some receive anything up to 100%+.The plus being (new) uniform and pocket money given on top of the 100% school fees. Last year the school spent more than £5m on scholarships and bursaries. It really is putting its money where its mouth is!

britishsummer Sat 13-Jul-13 05:41:38

With that sort of musicality, prospective housemasters would already know his niche without waiting for the music award. However I suspect the admissions tutor is advising you to leave it later since then the school would know what boys were going to be in which house and which personality mix of these boys would best suit your DS, very important for his future happiness particularly with his AS. Eton's reputation for pastoral care means you should be able to trust them with their advice on the timing of house selection and that they will go for the best match for your DS.
I'm curious (if you don't mind) following on from a previous thread, how your DS has achieved the balance of practice needed together with his chorister schedule and academics? How does he slot the time needed or are his chorister duties not onerous?

PriscillaLydiaSellon Sat 13-Jul-13 08:43:03

peteneras: thanks for your insights. I just hope we will qualify for enough of a bursary to make it possible!

If I could choose a house for DS, I would choose one where he will flourish socially/personally. He will obviously thrive musically - but our experience thus far is that he finds his peers very hard to cope with, and he would need a house/housemaster who understood his difficulties and could help him through the rough patches (which there will undoubtedly be).

britishsummer - that is very good advice, and ties in with our own inclination to do as the admissions tutor suggests. We have been overwhemed by how supportive the school has already been, and have been v impressed by the standard of pastoral care in evidence in the school on both our visits.

As to the practice/academics/chorister-ing: his AS comes rather into its own here, as he does very well academically with very little effort, having a fantastic memory. He has won the prize for the highest exam results every year since moving into the prep school - though the exams do test the children's recall of facts rather than an ability to work things out/make new connections - so that suits him. His chorister duties are v onerous (choir at 8am, school day, choir rehearsal, service, home at 7pm), but we have to fit in as much practice as he can reasonably do. Then there's homework as well (ugh). And food, and his desire to stew on the computer.

I think this is why choristers are sought after by secondary schools - though, of course, it's largely the parents who are well organised rather than the children!!

peteneras Sat 13-Jul-13 14:58:14

Put it this way, when he gets his MS (not if), Eton will give him a bursary large enough to provide a margin to cover your comfort zone.

'Eton's aim is that finances will not be an obstacle to any boy who is offered a scholarship'. The middle paragraph here. So, just relax and concentrate on getting that scholarship.

Regarding houses, I was thinking perhaps a house with lots of MS’s/ME’s will offer him a better chance of meeting boys with similar interest like his although I’ve no doubt he will equally flourish socially/personally in any of the 25 Eton houses. I know of a particular house that currently has a combination of 17 Music Scholars and Music Exhibitioners out of 50 boys that live there. The housemaster seems to be a pretty understanding man with great patience and sympathy towards boys with particular difficulties when they come to Eton.

britishsummer Sat 13-Jul-13 16:23:25

Thank you OP, so the combination of your organisation and his gifts means that he is able to fit everything in a concentrated single hour or so in the evening. Even more impressive! Despite the rushing around it must be lovely to have him at home in the evenings and have his practising as background music.

bico Sat 13-Jul-13 17:09:54

I assume he isn't a boarding chorister so at least you can keep an eye on homework and music practice. It is next to impossible if they board. He's done fantastically well so far though so I'd be amazed if he doesn't get a MS at the levels he is performing at.

David Goode was lovely with ds (who likes to talk, a lot).

PriscillaLydiaSellon Mon 15-Jul-13 15:53:42

Thanks, peteneras, for the link. We've now had the bursary form, so are now trying to work out how much our fine art collection is worth.

It is amazing that one house can accommodate so many musicians. To judge by the child musicians whom I know, the housemaster must be pretty special to cope with them...

Britishsummer, it is not quite that simple - sadly! It means he ends up going to bed far too late, and I have not sat down in the evenings for the past three years. And I fear the background noise is often DS having an Asperger meltdown about something that someone said to him in the playground at school...

bico - indeed he isn't. We ruled out boarding then, as we thought he wouldn't be able to cope with it (plus I didn't want him to go then!!)

I laughed at your 'likes to talk, a lot'. That's my DS too...

britishsummer Mon 15-Jul-13 20:45:04

I'm imagining him playing some crashing chords to convey his frustration with his peers! Choristers must be extremely tired at the end of their day so I suppose meltdowns are a byproduct of that.
IME of boarding, however good the supervision, there always some late night chatting so it is amazing how the boarding choristers manage to keep on going and sustain their concentration.
Does your DS want to try the King's scholarship or would that be a challenge too far for your powers of organisation?

PriscillaLydiaSellon Mon 15-Jul-13 21:43:46

We had crashing chords today - and that's despite a day off!!
We have ruled out trying for the King's scholarship, as I think there's already a considerable amount of pressure on him as it is. He may be top of the class in a provincial non-Eton-feeder prep school - but I suspect the competition would be so fierce that he would end up having to be tutored as well, which is definitely a bridge too far...

IndridCold Mon 22-Jul-13 15:38:05

OP I would follow the advice of the Admissions Tutor - he knows his stuff.

Although they try and organise the hand over between Housemasters, there can still be unforeseen changes within two years.

The house with the 17 MS and MEs that peteneras describes sounds ideal, but the very musical HM who brought about that mix was replaced last September. I know people, with sons in that house who have just finished F block. They all chose the previous HM two years in advance, but by the time their boys started last September they had a completely different HM.

The new man is great, but in a slightly different way. I don't think he shares the same deep love of music, particularly the active participation in playing music with the very gifted musicians in the house, that his predecessor had, and thus the emphasis will change over the next two years.

It might seem that you won't have a good enough choice if you wait, but you will. Boys who have conditional places do decide to go to other schools, either because they have changed their minds or won scholarships to other schools, or they have been successful in the KS exams, so quite a few places in a variety of houses will become available nearer the time.

Finally, remember that your son will have not only his HM but his Tutor as well. The Tutor is as influential (if not more influential in some ways) in the pastoral care as the HM, making sure that boys are coping and happy. There will be a lot more flexibility of choice here, and I'm sure that Eton will make sure that your son has a tutor who will be best suited to his needs.

Very will done to your DS. I hope your bursary application goes smoothly too.

Disapdad Tue 19-Nov-13 12:28:02

PriscillaLydiaSellon

well do for your DS and best wishes for your bursary application. Have you got result yet?

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