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Eton - sibling policy(23 Posts)
Or lack thereof - as far as I can see this topic is not addressed in the school prospectus/admission policy/etc. I'm convinced that if its not in print asking in person would be pointless. Does anyone have any opinion/experiences/anecdotes they'd like to share which might provide some insight on what Eton's unofficial sibling policy might be (for those of us that aren't members of any royal family that is!)
I thought it was purely on ability these days and the days of family connections were long gone. (A huge step in the right direction). However, this is no more than my belief.
Simply observation, but being a sibling does not seem to convey more than marginal advantage, eg it probably helps that the child knows the school.
Really difficult if the first child is thriving and the second or third appears to be just as bright, at least to his family and prep school. How do you explain that this is not a rejection but simply down to performance on the day?
The same also applies to very selective London day schools, and is worth taking on board so expectations for younger siblings can be managed. It happens quite often, even when two or three children are already in the school with just the youngest to follow.
It is the problem with selective schools. You need the admissions criteria and if it is important to have siblings together go for one that has it near the top and forget selective ones.
They don't have a sibling policy, each boy must get in on his own merit. I'm sure they won't mind you asking about it, nevertheless.
I'm aware of current prep school parents being distraught that a child has been rejected or only made the B list while older siblings are already there.
And I've known men casually mention that their brother(s) went to other schools - so it's not a new thing.
I'm not even sure that the same school will suit both my DS. I don't any of the main London / near London schools have a sibling policy any more. There is too much competition for places. The only advantage I can see would be that they might be able to give a better answer as to why they want to go to the school as they will know it better.
I know a family whose second son recently got into Eton but not the first. I don't think there is any sibling policy - most highly selective schools don't have one.
Siblings can be so vastly different in interests and academic ability
...so having a sibling policy in a highly selective school like Eton which promotes a meritocratic entrance test, does not seem right...and would create an unlevel playing field for other talented children hoping to get in on merit...as much as it may upset some parents with a child there already with others waiting to get in.
But agree having a sibling there must offer you some advantage in the entrance process overall in the sense that they know the "inside track" for the purposes of the interview and test (even if they don't recall exactly what was in it and it is liable to change) having been through the process once and succeeded.
I wonder if Eton ever had twins apply and only one got in got in??? Now that would be hard!
Actually I would seriously doubt that an older brother can tell a boy anything about pre-assessment that he wouldn't get from his prep school anyway. Sibling guidance would only be of use if your school does not regularly send boys for the test.
The only benefit of being the second or subsequent applicant from a family with someone already there is that a boy might be involved in a similar range of extracurricular activities as those that gave his brother something to talk about at interview. But it's just as likely that the second boy is a completely different character.
I have it on the very, very best authority that the most nervous boys on pre-assessment day are the ones with a family history to live up to.
Twins constantly have that problem. You get cases with 11+ where one passes and one fails. Eton would be the same and then it would be up to the parents if they sent one or sent them both elsewhere.
Thanks very much for your responses. Merit first, of course. They must make the cut, just wondering what happens after that.
In terms of choosing a house I think that you would be given priority for a particular house if there was an older brother there already. I do know younger brothers who have chosen different houses though.
I think they also try and put boys in their father's old house, if that's what they want.
At the 2 indept selective schools that are 1st choice for twin DDs at 11, the sibling policy is essentially that if there are two or more girls on the same mark at the cut off they would give priority to the sibling. Does not sound like much, but I suspect there are quite a lot of applicants bunched around the cut off mark and I think there are quite a few siblings at the schools so suggests there is some benefit in being a sibling. I plan to ask them whether this policy applies to twins, i.e. if one comes well above the cut off and the other is more marginal, would they apply sibling policy in her favour even though sister not already actually at the school. I am also not sure how the interview factors in, i.e. do they give a specific mark for the interview and add that to the specific mark for the test, and then look at the combined mark in making offers.
It may be DDs would prefer to go to different schools anyway.
I don't know Eton (so ask them for theirs!). But generally for selectives, the younger sibling needs to make the grade in the exam, but them when it comes to interview they have a slight advantage, because they are
looking to see if there is any reason why not to admit, rather than choosing from scratch (IYSWIM).
I have two friends whose first son goes to Eton and the second doesn't. One failed to get in. The other didn't even try as they thought he wouldn't make it. I also have a friend whose first 3 boys went to a selective London day school and the 4th son didn't make it... It's tough.
EdithWeston thank you very much I get your logic and will cling to the hope that it holds true!
Didn't intend to post in this thread, but must admit I'm laughing at the idea in this thread that entry into Eton is on merit. (And yes, I know, it's on the entrance exams and all that, but if you think performance in exams at that age is not heavily dependent on the time, money, opportunities, individual attention and aspirations surrounding the children in question for the previous six years, then, well.)
doorkeeper.. ...I understand that times have changed and Eton seems to be pointing this out everywhere in any interview with Eton head, Tony Little, you come across (he himself having gone to Eton on a scholarship entirely on merit given his relatively modest background) ...and that there are many who have had the "time, money, opportunities, individual attention and aspirations" who don't get in today who would have easily done in years past ...the Eton test is supposed to be one you can't tutor for and no-one knows much about it as it's not predictable unlike some of the VR/NVR tests that the superselective grammars use (someone else on a thread called it a "wacky IQ test") in any case, it was devised for Eton by CEM at Durham University ...and I hear more than 20% now at Eton are on financial bursaries many more than at other leading public schools ....so it is much more of a meritocracy in terms of entrance than it used to be. Anyway, the test is just one facet for selection and not necessarily the be all and end all..Eton say they are looking for that something extra ...a real spark ..or potential ...and that has to be reflected in the interview and Head's report also. Some do better in the test and don't make it because others who score lower have done better in the interview. I think their entrance process is sound....there may be misses but they must know who is going to suit the school and get the most out of it.
that's not too say the odd rich, thick toff full of entitlement who is too cool for school won't occasionally slip through...but I suspect many less of those do these days.
I did use the expression 'on his own merit' in answer to the specific question in the OP about sibling policy. This does not mean the same as 'on merit' as you have used it in your post.
Indy5 is right though. Eton is still an unashamedly elite school, but you might be surprised at how many of the boys come from (what I consider to be) an ordinary family, and who have some or all of their fees paid.
doorkeeper, isn’t that true for all selective schools, both private and state, including the grammars? I personally can vouch that my DS had gone in there purely on merit on the back of two Eton scholarships. Believe me, I’m no great aristocrat and I don’t wish to tell you what I had to do to survive my first few years in the UK alone and penniless eh . . . a million years ago.
What I can certainly tell you is, if the present day Eton had a policy of admitting the fabulously rich and privileged irrespective of the boy’s capability, Eton can charge a fee three, four or even five times the current fee and still be oversubscribed. For a start, the new moneyed Chinese and Russians and the old moneyed Arabs would fill the school twice over!
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