The big Eton, Harrow, Radley, Winchester question...

(226 Posts)
TinkerBellThree Thu 27-Feb-14 14:29:25

I have been reading a lot of threads on this site and found it hugely informative (and sometimes quite amusing). I hope you don't mind me picking your brain as I find that I am increasingly confusing myself.confused

Our DS is in year 5 and we have started to visit senior schools for him.
We have seen Radley, Harrow, Eton and Winchester, and been to a few co-ed schools as well, but have decided that single sex is probably more right for DS.

DS is quite academic (though I tend to believe he is not as much so as his school tells me he is), sporty and very competitive. He is very social and he loves to try out new things.

Our DS' Prep is adamant that he is made for Eton and Eton is made for him, and I must admit we loved the school when we visited, so we have put his name down there. However, it is exceedingly hard to get into and I am not counting my chickens (and I think the likelihood of a place is slimmer than slim) so I believe we need (several) back-up(s) - so here is where I am getting confused...

Radley (who I understand is a "normal" backup for Eton) is not encouraged by our DS' school (not sure why) and Harrow worries me a little with its reputation of not being very challenging academically (has this changed?).

Originally we ruled out Winchester as it was not "sporty" enough, but having been to visit, we have had to re-think as we found there were lots of opportunities for our DS to do sports. Our DS' Prep think it should be on our list - but is a boy so "suited" for Eton really suited for WinCol?

All the above schools are within easy reach of where we live, so we will have ample opportunity to see matches etc.

Where should we put DS' name down? For all the schools on our list + some (as he may not get into any of the above)? Or should we be more focused?

I know a lot of you have vast amounts of experience and possibly been through the same conundrum yourself, and I would really very much appreciate your input.

IndridCold Fri 28-Feb-14 10:40:53

I'm a bit confused reading this OP. Are you asking about Winchester as a back up to Eton? I would have thought that it was just as hard to get into.

Your DS does sound like an excellent fit for Eton, so he probably has a pretty good chance, although numbers applying do seem to be increasing.

handcream Fri 28-Feb-14 10:46:05

There is little difference between boarding fees for say Eton, or Bradfield. All virtually the same

TheBeautifulVisit Fri 28-Feb-14 10:50:52

It isn't compulsory to send your 13 year old to boarding school you know. There are day schools. And at 13 you can't claim a childcare problem.

propatria Fri 28-Feb-14 12:35:22

the op asked for single sex full boarding schools that are selective then the list makes sense,just as if they are asked for co-ed I imagine for example Rugby and Oundle were on the list.

Lottiedoubtie Fri 28-Feb-14 12:40:58

Quite rude Thebeautifulvisit the OP is allowed to ask about boarding schools simply because that is her preference for her son. There doesn't have to be a reason to justify it.

TheBeautifulVisit Fri 28-Feb-14 12:56:16

If he goes to Radley he gets to put his Maltesers in one of these:

Surely that should be the decider?

mateysmum Fri 28-Feb-14 13:39:41

Beautiful. If you want to argue the toss between private/boarding or state education, there are plenty of other threads on which to do so. The OP has made her choice and simply wants guidance between schools.

Sorry OP, I have no knowledge of any of your short list schools, just wanted to respond to Beautiful.

Have you visited Winchester yet? Did it feel like a suitable alternative for your DS?

Lottiedoubtie Fri 28-Feb-14 13:46:11

That kind of comment would fit in well on the thread you started that Zero linked to, fwiw it's a very funny thread. as most well observed satire is.

It's not really relevant to the OP's question and pretty rude in this context though.

nongnangning Fri 28-Feb-14 14:12:22

Coo, I am loving the tuck box. Left wing or not I am thinking of getting one now I have seen it. Not for my DS, obviously ... for me grin grin

TinkerBellThree Sat 01-Mar-14 08:12:56

Zero - thank you for the link to that thread! Made my morning wink. Should I be upset my DS is not blond - do you think i have to bleach his hair??? Will that better his chances grin

TinkerBellThree Sat 01-Mar-14 08:52:26

Thank you all (most of you) for your insight!

Ingrid - I am, sort of - but not a back-up as such, more a "contender" for our list and worth going for. I was surprised that a boy who could be a good fit for Eton could also fit at Winchester.

Fwiw - I don't believe anyone would base their decision on what they are told in a forum such as this - it is just one more piece of information to the puzzle which is the bringing up of our DC.

TheBeautifulVisit Sat 01-Mar-14 12:14:04

Tinkerbell - he may not be blond but I bet your son's brunette locks are luxe. And when the sun catches a lock of his hair and an elixir of honey and sweat bead from his handsome brow, I'll bet his hair creates a rainbow of hi lights in tones of deep caramel, saffron and Manuka honey. grin. Good luck with the choice of schools.

grovel Sat 01-Mar-14 13:05:49

A Winchester teacher (slightly tongue-in-cheek) once said to me that there is a spectrum of boarding schools. At one end is Winchester - an unashamedly academic/intellectual environment with some high quality extra-curricular activities to keep the boys alert. At the other end of the spectrum are the "country clubs with a bit of teaching thrown in".

I'd put Eton at Winchester's end of the spectrum but closer to the middle.

TheBeautifulVisit Sat 01-Mar-14 13:43:18

grovel - I like that. smile

dellon Sat 01-Mar-14 14:05:42

agree completely with that analogy grovel

quirkyscholar Wed 23-Dec-15 21:47:35

Harrow is the better option. Eton is better academically for the time being but i see this changing very soon. Harrow's new headmaster is turing it into a super-selective school and this year, the school went from only 88% A*-C grades to approximately 40% 10+ A* at iGCSE. 100% A*-C and about 90% A*/A. Harrow has superior sporting facilities than all of the above; Winchester are truly useless and rugby but are incredible academically. In terms of fame Eton has the edge followed by Harrow; outside the UK Winchester is a name known to few. The hardest to get into is Harrow since it is more oversubscribed and is becoming equally academically selective to Eton, only 1 in 11 get into Harrow compared to about 1 in 8 at Eton, these are still fierce odds. Eton got about 30 boys into oxbridge this year compared to 22 at Harrow, however what people don't take into account is that Eton have about 250 boys per year compared to 150 at Harrow so proportionally Harrow are doing better. The term 'Didn't get into Eton so I went to Harrow' is becoming more obsolete and I feel that Harrow is soon to become the best. Radley is the best back-up option although it it is greatly inferior compared to the rest.

Eton2017 Thu 24-Dec-15 08:44:18

where did you get "about 30" from, quirky? As Eton has averaged 70-80 a year for the last many years, that would be surprising indeed. (Source: )

cosmobrown Thu 24-Dec-15 15:06:10

what makes Radley so inferior? It's fee's are pretty much the same...

peteneras Thu 24-Dec-15 15:12:00

”Harrow has superior sporting facilities than all of the above”

Of course it has . . . . in its dreams!

Never mind about the minor sports but a quick look at the major sporting facilities of these two public schools soon establishes the facts:

Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eton . . . . . . . . . . . . Harrow
Cricket Squares: . . . . . . . . . .24 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Practice Nets: . . . . . . . . . . .18 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Football Pitches: . . . . . . . . .25 † . . . . . . . . . . . . insignificant

Rugby Pitches: . . . . . . . . . . 12 ‡ . . . . . . . . . . . . . inferior

Rowing Lake: . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 (Olympic Std) . . . . non-existent

” oxbridge this year compared to 22 at Harrow”

More like 18 - four took it in their gap year (different cohort).

† enough for each house to have a pitch to themselves - some schools don’t even have a single pitch. Eton (OE’s) won the FA Cup twice.

‡ almost the entire school can play rugby against each other at the same time.

oxfordboy Fri 25-Dec-15 01:22:26

you raise a valid point with the statistics of the sporting facilities, however what you don't take into account is that Harrow has 830 boys in comparison with about 1,300 at eton so there would be no point in having a stupidly large amount of cricket or rugby pitches seeing as there are about 500 fewer boys. Furthermore, I am pretty sure that in terms of major sports, Harrow tend to beat Eton very regularly, particularly in rugby.

oxfordboy Fri 25-Dec-15 01:24:38

I think what he/she meant is that in terms of prestige Radley is not in the same league as the other two; this is mostly due to elitism, academics and alumni.

peteneras Sat 26-Dec-15 13:41:46

On the contrary, I’m fully aware Eton is the larger school - the largest British public school in fact. Your figures about the number of boys in the two schools seem about right which suggest therefore, that Eton is 53% larger than Harrow.

You chose to ignore the previous poster’s (?) claim i.e. ”Harrow has superior sporting facilities than all of the above.”

Although 53% larger, Eton’s sporting facilities are disproportionately much, much larger than Harrow’s. To suggest that ”there would be no point in having a stupidly large amount of cricket or rugby pitches” only goes to show that Harrow’s sporting facilities are, to put it mildly, inadequate.

Unlike Harrow, Eton’s pitches are not shared between the various sports e.g. football, rugby, hockey, etc. For sure, Eton would not allow itself to incur extra expenses by having unnecessary pitches. The School employs a team of 25 full-time grounds-men/women to manage and maintain these sporting facilities at an annual cost of more than £900,000. Just a little insight to show how very seriously sports is taken at Eton. Needless to say, its facilities are second to none - almost certainly embarrassing the facilities of many a university around the world, never mind schools!

Statistics vs Harrow
Cricket Squares: 24 vs 10 . . . . . 140% larger (not 53% as it should be)

Practice Nets: 18 vs 8 . . . . . . . . 125% larger (not 53% as it should be)

Football Pitches: . . . . . . . . . . . . Eton’s 25 pitches make Harrow’s look like a child’s playground

Rugby Pitches: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Like said earlier, the number of dedicated rugby pitches makes it possible for almost the whole school to play rugby against each other at the same time which is quite unlike Harrow’s pitches being shared between various sports.

Rowing Lake: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . To this day I am still flabbergasted how a full-boarding boys’ school could call itself an “elite public school” without a single rowing boat in sight, never mind a rowing team and best to forget about a rowing lake. Even girls’ schools and state schools that I know of have rowing as a sport.

”I am pretty sure that in terms of major sports, Harrow tend to beat Eton very regularly, particularly in rugby.”

Not as far as I’m concerned. The last time when I was in any way involved with Eton rugby - admittedly a few years ago when DS was there - Eton whitewashed Harrow in a single afternoon!

So much for Harrow’s ‘superior sporting facilities’ over all the other schools.

wurzeldrink Tue 29-Dec-15 11:08:14

One area that Harrow does have the edge is in a far more supportive Old Boy network,on the sporting front-worth remembering that Harrow very actively recruits sportsmen for the 6th form,Eton doesnt,,so people like Compton,Vunipola etc were all just in the 6th form(I think..)

Eton is far ahead in Oxbridge places,3 or 4 times as many each year, far higher general academic standards, better situation,better sporting facilities and the societies/co curric are not even close,we were/are very happy with Harrow,but being realistic,its still for the vast majority of British based boys a second choice,if they wanted boys only boarding most had applied to Eton and not got in,or been put on the waiting list,we know several boys over the years that have dropped the Harrow place when a place at Eton has become available,never seen the reverse.
Harrow is a great school,but it will never catch up with Eton,does it really need to/want to?Some of the Harrow posts on this forum,read like a younger brother going"look at ,look at me"

Quiosegagne Mon 30-May-16 13:17:35

As seen in other threads there are individuals on here who sound as if they are marketing execs for a particular school (dear Peterneras, no guesses for you!).... Ultimately having viewed both H, E and Tonbridge, we chose H and DS achieved a scholarship there. They are all excellent schools and will help set your DS up for adulthood. Despite the somewhat puerile comments plastered on this website by pushy mummies?!, any parent having done their homework and visited the school(s) on several occasions will get a feel for the school and what suits their boy. Just remember the school is to suit your DS not you as parent for those coffee morning contests...

hertsandessex Mon 30-May-16 16:10:02

Some of the posts above comparing schools are hilarious. Waiting for somebody to post statistics on average penis length soon.

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