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westminster at 13+ for an american(15 Posts)
My DS is in Year 5 at a prep school in central London with a track record for sending boys to Westminster. He is performing very well. Here's the catch: We have lived in London for 2 years but are American.
Recently my DS has gotten is heart set on Westminster. If he were English, I think he would have a chance - not a shoo-in - but he would have a shot. I am curious if he stands a chance as an American. Thoughts?
Please understand this post in the spirit in which I write. I am not railing against tradition or screaming 'unfair'. The truth is the tradition and history are exactly what appeal to us. At 40 years old, I understand that I have chosen to live in a country that is not my own -- and so some doors may not be open to me. I just would like to soften the blow to my 10 year old if his chances are extremely slim and I will point him in another direction.
It won't make any difference at all. Westminster, as it has boarding houses, has loads of international student who aren't even usually resident in UK. And being in central London it also has plenty of pupil's from expat families of many nationalities.
He will have as good a chance as any. Schools are not perfect here but they are not racist.
I can't get your reasoning here - do you think the school would be biased against your boy simply because he is American? I would say absolutely not. As long as he can meet the incredibly high academic standard required, and you can pay, they will welcome him. Most of the top public schools are extremely international - always were to an extent but now even more so. If your prep school is used to preparing boys for Westminster why not just talk to them, I am sure they would say the same?
I have got a nephew at Westminster. His best friend at school is American. Good luck to your son.
Thank you for the responses. slickrick, I was not suggesting the schools are racist. My apologies if that was how it appeared.
Your DS will have the same chance as any other DS applying. They want the brightest and the best (in their eyes!) and do not discriminate on grounds of nationality (or anything else) as long as you can afford the fees. So stop worrying and leave it to your prep if this is the school they are recommending for your DS.
My son is at Westminster. It is very very international with loads of Americans and a strong track record in sending students to Ivy League colleges.
The only possible issue might be if you had plans to leave Britain before her turned 18. The strong expectation is that pupils starting at 13 stay through to 18.
Otherwise be guided by the Prep. It is a fantastic school for the right child.
Agree with previous posters. Have American friends with two boys at the school - not an issue.
They were asked the question at a non-related central London prep school level many years ago when applying for that (it was a small prep and the head mistress was concerned at having kids who would be there for more than one or two years).
Sorry op but I am staggered you can even ask this question if you have been here for 2 years and your DS attends a school with a "track record of sending boys to Westminster"! I'm no great supporter of private schools as such but accusing them of favouring UK boys versus other nationalities is ludicrous. Unless you were suggesting there was an even more specific anti-American bias at the school? Bizarre.
Thank you for the candor and responses.
I have tremendous respect for the English public schools and the accomplished boys that attend them. Obviously, that is why my DS is interested in attending.
I had hoped to make clear in my initial post that my question was not intended to incite anger or suggest some nefarious intent on the part of the admissions teams. On this very board, there are numerous posts suggesting that boys without the 'proper' accent need not apply (presumably those posters are not referring to a proper American accent So, my question was posed to get an honest assessment of whether there is an element of admissions that is not as obvious as it would seem. In the US (and probably in every country in the world), there are schools where a family need not apply without certain social or political connections.
I am pleased by the positive advice and I thank you for your honesty.
Private schools in the UK (as in most countries I suspect) are heavily reliant on foreign students for income, and they certainly are not at a disadvantage.
We are not English and not even American. We come from a country where English is not first language. My DS attended English speaking International schools before we moved to England 3 years ago - each international school came with its own accent. He is now in prep school here. Many great public/independent schools have opened their doors to my DS for 13+ (he is now the one who is choosing). Schools select children not on their nationality or accent but their abilities. I am surprised you are asking this question after living here for 2 years.
My DS is great in math: he knows it and I know it, he also knows that the moment he takes exam in math, schools send him an offer. Even for his current prep school he got an acceptance the same day he had an entrance exam though we were told the decision will be made within 3 weeks. If your DS is good at studying he can easily get to Westminster.
Not sure why people are criticising the OP for asking the question. It's a perfectly legitimate question and that is one of the points of MN - you can ask prettying anything. The answer re Westminster is clearly "No" and that is likely the case with the vast majority of schools. However, there are some schools where it appears to be a consideration - I know of at least one set of friends where the question was directly asked by the headmistress of a well known central London prep.
It only happened once, but a super successful American expat was unable to hide their surprise when I mentioned in passing that my son was at Westminster. As if top London academic schools should restrict their intake to presumably brilliant scions of London's international City elite, not ordinary natives like us.
I later discovered their child had been turned down....
My son has been absolutely happy but it might not be much fun if you did not really enjoy learning or if you were struggling academically. He has friends who have swimming pools and tennis courts, and friends who live in council flats. They come from all over. As far as I can tell it does not matter, as long as you share an intellectual curiosity.
If your son really loved the school this is a good start. Apply and let Westminster sort out whether they will think he will thrive.
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