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

(168 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.

happygardening Thu 30-Jun-16 05:57:38

"So yes Eton is still the most superior of all the schools mention and a lofty 25 places above the so called and much hyped "academic" school in Hants.
In my experience of looking at top universities sadly the A level has been so down graded that an A or even an A * has become the essential grade to get! As everyone knows it's been the case for a long time for those wishing to do medicine veterinary science, Oxbridge etc, but I'm surprised by how many other universities are now asking for at least 1 A* and then A's even from those educated in the state sector who many feel lack the advantages of those being educated in the independent sector. So not in my "dreams" but here are the cold hard facts taken from the two schools websites. Winchester beats Eton hands down, 47% achieving A* or A** and in the significantly harder Pre U in comparison with Eton just over 35%. When it comes to A grades the comparison is more complicated to make as the M1 is often seen by unversitues as an A grade if this is the case again Winchester did better than Eton by a few %. Interesting Eton also now offer the significantly more academic and less prescribed Pre U for some subjects, when you compare these grades against Winchester results again for the A* or A** grades Winchester does do significantly better.
But ultimately this is all completely irrelevant, as I've repeatedly said on here it's a about finding a school that fits you and your child, this could be an inner city comprehensive, a state boarding school, a independent school no one has heard of or a big name boarding school. The four schools mentioned in this thread have quite different ethos's and I believe that this is what any perspective parents should be looking at, let's face it a bright motivated boy will do well at all four. I is know enough about Radley to know that it would never be the right place for my DS, Harrow was never on my radar because its location for us might as well be Mongolia and many went there from DS's prep and I felt some (not all) were looking for something that I personally don't like, those with DS's there as a general pricinole seem very happy with it. As most people on here know I didn't feel Eton was not a good fit for my DS or us again nearly all we know there seem delighted with their choice, though I over the last five years I've heard more rumblings of discontent than in the previous five years but this might be parent related. My DS has two days left at Winchester, no where have I said it's perfect for all very bright boys, I believe I genuinely give a warts and all portrayal of it and like Eton I meet parents who aren't happy with it but for my DS it was, as I felt all those years ago when I first started trying to work out what it's all about, an excellent fit. I'm know intellectually it's provided him with the level of interest and stimulation I felt he'd enjoy and needed and fingers croseed this will also be reflected in his exam grades. He has been generally happy there, happy children thrive, happy children are more likely to do well in their exams, miserable stressed children rarely excell in their exams. Therefore for us and many others it ticked all our boxes and is. the top school and it was absolutely the right choice.
Most of us are grown up enough to accept that one mans meat is another mans poison.

peteneras Wed 29-Jun-16 22:47:11

” And, quite simply, the crime of defamatory libel no longer exists.”

Since when, JudyCoolibar?

Like I said before, it’s wise to do some research before coming out with a statement like the above. Given that the crime of defamatory libel hasn’t been used for a mightily long time, it does not necessarily mean it “no longer exists”.

From a Law source:
If a class of people has been libelled then this a criminal offence not a tort. However it is only a crime if the prosecution can prove that the object of the publication of the defamatory statements was to excite the hatred of the public against the particular class in question.

Which is why I said to the poster who claimed that “two OEs have messed up the UK between them” was not too far short of criminal slander/libel.

1.The statement was clearly designed to “excite the hatred of the public against the particular class in question”.
2. Europe have always been a contentious issue for the UK since time immemorial.
3.The two OE’s nor their school, have nothing to do with the “mess” in the UK, if there is one - they are merely trying to do their best for the UK albeit in different directions.

Even if a criminal case cannot be advanced, a civil case served on the poster by the individual(s) and/or class concerned would be worrisome enough.

peteneras Wed 29-Jun-16 22:37:59

”. . . I don't think you will find that Harrow is too far behind Eton academically these days with the full effect of the new head there now beginning to come through.”


So that’s why you reactivated this thread after almost half a year just to tell us that, Quiosegagne?

Because your son is going there and the school has a new head and so Harrow is suddenly not too far behind Eton academically. Talking about inferiority complex and trying to live your life through your DS . . .

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Jim Hawkins has been there for almost 5 years and Harrow is still the joke and the wannabe of the academic world. If anything, Barnaby Lenon was a much more superior Head.

”You are harping back to the days 10+ years ago when E was superior to some of the schools mentioned, though not all.”

People have been deluding themselves taking great pain telling all and sundry how very “academic” their DC’s school is. And there would be gullible people who’d swallow it hook, line and sinker. Well, they can be as academic as they like in their dreams but it’s the hard facts and figures (scroll down to pg 6) that float my boat!

So yes, E is still the most superior of all the schools mentioned and a lofty 25 places above the so-called and much hyped ”academic” school in Hants in this latest very respectable table - not 10 years+ ago. You’d need a magnifying glass to find where that ”not too far behind Eton academically” school is!

For your info, my DS left Eton 5 years ago, not 10, and I’m still involved in a certain aspect of Eton school life since 2007 on an annual basis whereby I interact with masters, parents, etc. So yes, I’m fully up to speed as far as E is concerned.

JudyCoolibar Sun 26-Jun-16 12:13:45

Peteneras, extraordinarily you don't seem to have gone even so far as checking your own post when you tried to refute mine. Just to remind you, what you said, in answer to one saying that two OEs have messed up the UK between them, was:

Either you are supremely ignorant, sendsummer, or your knowledge of British history is absolutely zilch in order for you to make this kind of comment which is not too far short of criminal slander/libel. I reckon you owe the two OE’s and the great School at Windsor all of whom you’ve defamed, an apology, after you’ve educated yourself with this short article.

Now, if you had been properly taught to argue, you would have realised that the issue here is not what British history says, but what the law says. And, quite simply, the crime of defamatory libel no longer exists.

If you want to claim that either Johnson, Cameron or Eton have been defamed in civil law terms, again it doesn't work. The statement of a political opinion with which you disagree cannot found a claim for defamation.

Peacefully8484 Sun 26-Jun-16 12:05:01

And I dis not vote for him either. I would never have supported manifesto which included a referendum on Europe in order to appease the right of the party. I blame DC for a seriously misjudged tactical decisions and I blame yen leave campaign for the lies they told. There is no justification for any of it

happygardening Sun 26-Jun-16 10:57:25

Just to add (in case any one wondered) I didn't vote Conservative.

happygardening Sun 26-Jun-16 10:56:20

It's extraordinary that this thread completely innocent and old thread has been hijacked by the disasterous results of the EU referendum
DC is Im afraid only himself to blame, he promised a vote in 2017 when campaigning in 2015 and now he has to live with the consequences.
Boris has been a Eurosceptic for many years and is also a very shrewd operator and is clearly hoping that he has timed it perfectly (I happen to know that this has been being planned for many years) and that he day is about to come. Apart from the fact that both are completely it of touch with the ordinary man on the street none of this has any relevance to which school either attended.

Quiosegagne Sun 26-Jun-16 10:39:50

I may not agree with much peteneras has to say re H vs E, but he is spot on re DC!

peteneras Sun 26-Jun-16 10:27:39

i.e. assuming they could be dragged out . . .

peteneras Sun 26-Jun-16 10:19:01

”The blame has to be laid squarely at the feet of an old Etonian who did not need to call a referendum..”


Not exactly my favourite OE, Peacefully8484, but the OE you blame for creating the present havoc has truckloads of principles which cannot be said about the immediate past few PM’s. I saw the better side of DC in the last few days which now makes me change my mind about him. Don’t forget, that man won a General Election against all odds just over a year ago and he could have easily kept his job for the next 4 years like many of the hypocrite Labour PM’s.

But just to remind you of the BBC Referendum time line:

2007: The European Commission proposes a replacement treaty, which comes to be known as the Lisbon Treaty. The Labour government says it is a different document, amending not overwriting existing treaties, and a referendum is not needed. Conservative leader David Cameron gives a "cast-iron guarantee" to hold a referendum on any treaty emerging from the Lisbon process if he becomes PM

22 January 2013: In a long awaited speech Prime Minister David Cameron says that if the Conservatives win the next election they would seek to renegotiate the UK's relationship with the EU and then give the British people the "simple choice" in 2017 between staying in the EU under those terms or leaving the EU.

8 May 2015: The Conservatives win a majority in the House of Commons in the general election and immediately pledge to make good on their election manifesto promise to hold a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU by the end of 2017

”That act is what has caused this havoc.”

Wrong again!

Rather than blaming DC for causing “this havoc”, perhaps you should blame yourself if you had voted Conservatives last general election for putting him at No.10.

The Referendum last Thursday was in his Manifesto. The man was merely acting on his principles. After having lost the vote and on his first speech to the nation, he tendered his resignation. This is ole’ Etonian value for you! I know of very many “leaders” throughout the world who would have to be dragged out kicking and screaming if they found themselves in the same position.

Quiosegagne Sun 26-Jun-16 09:47:53

Oh do give it a rest peteneras. You go on and on about the same old thing when those of us with boys currently at or due to attend no better. You are harping back to the days 10+ years ago when E was superior to some of the schools mentioned, though not all.. Now things are very different but you are stuck in history. Do get over it, sounds to me like an inferiority complex, and trying to live your life through your DS. Mr Henderson is a breath of fresh air at E and will change that school considerably - for the better. I can see more of a Bradfield feel to the school which as you very well know will continue going forwards. I guess you are just upset to see Eton change, don't worry it will be better for the school and as the HM has said less focus on A grades more on well rounded boys. Get over it!

happygardening Sat 25-Jun-16 20:03:29

"Absoltely nowhere near this list that the other three schools on this thread can come near too"
I guess we all choose a school for different reasons, some may be shallow enough base their choice on the success of its alumni, but I and most other parents choose a school that we feel is the best fit for our DC's. Where the ethos and approach to education is in step with our own.

peteneras Sat 25-Jun-16 19:33:52

"Absolutely nowhere near this list that the other 3 schools on this thread can come near to."

And I do mean the other 3 schools put together . . . of course!

MidLifeCrisis007 Sat 25-Jun-16 17:05:09

It wasn't the Eton referendum poll result that surprised but.... but rather the TEN houses one!

peteneras Sat 25-Jun-16 15:05:18

Thanks Indrid for reminding me about the Eton Referendum poll. Got to say it was a poll not amongst the boys only, but also amongst the masters, general staff and the entire Eton community. The result surprised me too.

As for me . . . my mind was made up a long time ago.

peteneras Sat 25-Jun-16 14:54:05

”I'm staggered that peteneras is slinging around accusations of criminal libel with so little foundation and without bothering to check what on earth s/he is talking about. If that's a demonstration of what Eton produces, no thanks.”

Seems to me, JudyCoolibar, that you’d do yourself a power of good by taking your own advice, i.e. do bother to check what on earth you’re talking about so as to have just a little bit of foundation!

Perhaps, read more widely like, e.g. this interview that I read some four years ago,
‘The world according to two old friends’ between the former German Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt, no less, and the other, a brilliant man with exceptional vision, someone I’ve admired since my childhood days, Lee Kuan Yew.

LKY: ”I think Europeans are mentally far developed, as a consequence of two world wars. They were witnesses of pointless feuds and hostilities, hope and ambitious plans, that have led to nothing but tragedies. Napoleon tried to unify Europe, later Hitler did as well.”

Didn’t that OE, Bojo, said something similar during the recent Referendum campaign re Hitler?

German newspaper Die Zeit: ”Especially against this backdrop: Is the European Union that we have today not a great achievement and an inspiration for other regions in the world, despite all its flaws?”

LKY: ”No, I do not view the European Union as an inspiration for the world. I view it as an enterprise that was conceived wrongly because it was expanded too fast and it will probably fail.”

It will probably fail?

Well, Nigel Farage will tell you, it’s dying!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
”If that's a demonstration of what Eton produces, no thanks.”

Believe me, Eton produces more types than you can ever imagine, be it Oscar winner, Nobel Laureate, Archbishop, Prime Ministers, Multiple Olympic Gold Medallist . . . well to be honest, the list is too long to mention here. Absolutely nowhere near this list that the other 3 schools on this thread can come near to.

happygardening Sat 25-Jun-16 14:11:27

He is completely out of touch with the Man on the street, for a variety of reasons, I doubt having attending a school like Eton 30+ years ago gave you much insight into the lives worries and opinions of the working proletariat.

sendsummer Sat 25-Jun-16 13:37:24

Fair point Indrid, 'education' is not restricted to a person's school. However a certain poster uses OEs in prominent positions as emblematic of the desirability of the school, that logic works both ways. I feel parents should not use those views to guide their school choice.

IndridCold Sat 25-Jun-16 13:23:00

I think that DCs political misjudgements could more realistically be laid at the feet of his political educators at Oxford. Just saying!

happygardening Sat 25-Jun-16 13:20:42

Cameron is clearly at fault for agreeing to the vote and I'm no fan by any stretch of the imagination but I very much doubt that being an old Etonian has anything to with it. He just completely misjudged the mood of man on the Clapham omnibus who's worried about immigration, stirred up by the likes of the DM and economically illiterate.
A complete tragedy.

sendsummer Sat 25-Jun-16 13:09:56

Indrid I know that Peteneras has a unique glorified view of Eton and its auminis' contributions to the UK but many posters reading this board may take his views as typical.
BTW I am not commenting on the political stance of present Etonians but the responsibility for incompetence and misdirection for two 'powerful' OEs. I have ranted enough now.

Peacefully8484 Sat 25-Jun-16 12:28:43

The blame has to be laid squarely at the feet of an old Etonian who did not need to call a referendum.. That act is what has caused this havoc. All parties are responsible for ignoring great chunks of our society but that decision to appease the right in his party led us to where we are today.

IndridCold Sat 25-Jun-16 11:37:18

summer I'm sorry, but you are sounding as unhinged as Peteneras! He has a very strange special feeling towards Eton, shared by no other Etonian parent, or Etonian, that I have ever met.

You may be interested to know that the poll held within the school this half resulted in a resounding vote for Remain, at 65%, significantly higher than in the country as a whole.

IMO the havoc has been caused by the failure of the Labour Party to get to grips with their voters, and explain to them that Brexit is not going to have any effect on immigration whatsoever!

Good grief, I came on this board to get away from the inanities on this subject which abound on the other boards. This may well be the thing that is finally going to wean me off MN for good actually. So if you don't see me around, you'll know I'm in the garden, instead of wasting time on my iPad.

Gruach Sat 25-Jun-16 08:54:09


JudyCoolibar Sat 25-Jun-16 07:15:49

I'm staggered that peteneras is slinging around accusations of criminal libel with so little foundation and without bothering to check what on earth s/he is talking about. If that's a demonstration of what Eton produces, no thanks.

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