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So Eton, everything I expected and more

(965 Posts)
JoanBias Fri 02-Nov-12 16:03:27

My DS is at a private school, so I have experience of private schooling, but my word Eton was like another world.

Not just the school, but the people there.

There was one prep school being shown around, all in tweed jackets, and to a boy the spitting image of Draco Malfoy (well there was one Chinese boy, but otherwise....).

One of the mothers doing the tour was not quite right in some respect, I'm not sure how but something wasn't wired up correctly or something. She was immacuately dressed, 6-inch heels (pretty daft considering the confirmation letter warns about having a long walk), but she was just bizarre. The admissions tutor said 'we have a waiting list of 80 boys and typically 35% of these will make it through', and she asked afterwards 'so 80% of the boys from the waiting list make it through?', and it was then explained again, but you could kind of hear the cogs going round and she clearly didn't get it. She had asked several other similar questions; e.g., it was explained that some Houses are catering and others go to a central cafeteria, so she then asked 'so they all eat in the cafeteria'? She pointed at the Fives Court and asked me 'what do they play here?' I said 'Fives' 'Is it squash?', she said. 'No, Eton Fives.' 'So is it squash?' It seemed as if this woman had had the benefit of the 'Finishing School for the Terminally Dim', because she was otherwise every inch the presentable upper middle-class wife.

Another family had a son who looked the prototypical pre-Etonian, and sure enough Daddy spent the tour braying on about his House when he had been there.

The facilities were extremely impressive, although they didn't bother to show us any of the academic parts, and basically the impression was 'if your son is incredibly pushy and self-motivated, send him here and we will teach him to be entitled'. They said 'every year we reject about a third of the highest performers on the test', essentially because they aren't pushy enough. (The House Mistresses seemed quite nice though.)

Fantastic training for future managing directors and whatever, but not for us.....

Well worth it to sign up for a tour, very illuminating. They take about 100 a day from what I can see, so obligation at all....

indefinate Tue 08-Jan-13 19:10:43

Thank you all, your help most appreciated.
DS is looking forward to visit but it is a shame that no siblings are not allowed to attend. My 2 daughters were also looking forward on visiting a perspective school for younger bro. I will probably take them there on a paying tour later on in the year - has anybody been in same situation as myself?

difficultpickle Tue 11-Dec-12 06:04:19

When I spoke to Winchester they were very encouraging about the level of bursaries that are available.

happygardening Mon 10-Dec-12 18:25:32

"For boys without scholarships the normal maximum level of assistance is half the school fee, but growing funds are now enabling us to make a number of bursary awards beyond that level and indeed to subsidise the fee entirely in cases of need. No parents with a talented boy should feel that Eton is necessarily beyond their means."
Taken directly from Eton website. Scholars are guaranteed more. Others with generous bursary pots are St Paul's but impossibly early registration, places are very fought over and you're DS would have to be a brilliant well rounded boys, Winchester are also very generous average bursary is 60% and some get 100% again to thrive you need to be brilliant although probably less well rounded especially on the sporting field!! As said above Christ's Hospital is definitely worth looking at.

JoanByers Mon 10-Dec-12 15:06:56

Christ's Hospital specializes in such children.

peteneras Mon 10-Dec-12 14:34:59

Other than Eton, I can think of no other school in the UK and possibly in the whole world that offers a bigger bursary for a well rounded and very bright boy from the very poorest background. There must be at least 10 or 20 boys (my guess) who pays absolutely not a bean at all of the School's £32,000 annual fee. On the contrary, the School pays them for their uniforms and even gives them pocket money! Last year alone Eton spent more than £4 million on scholarships and bursaries.

PlaySchool Mon 10-Dec-12 13:56:48

Does Eton have bursaries for "well rounded" boys from less affluent backgrounds? Would it be ridiculous to consider sending a poorer boy there?

JoanByers Sun 09-Dec-12 15:51:21

I would dress smartly, including full school uniform for your son.

dapplegrey Sat 08-Dec-12 19:41:48

What journeythroughlife says.

JourneyThroughLife Sat 08-Dec-12 16:39:30

Hi Indefinate, if you are visiting Eton just go dressed smart casual. No-one will be judging you, as someone else has pointed out. Most parents will be ordinary, just wanting the best for their child. There may be a few unusual characters but that's true for any gathering of parents. If you're going on the tour and it's cold weather, dress WARMLY as there's plenty of walking around outside from one building to the next. Ask all the questions you need to ask, Eton takes great trouble to welcome everyone and answer all your queries. If you get as far as paying visits to a selection of boarding houses, understand that there are 25 of them and each has a very different "feel" so your decision should be based on what feels right for your child. Eton is surprisingly non-judgemental about parents and families (despite what the media would have you believe) and only cares that your child is happy to be at Eton and will gain all he can from his time there....

Copthallresident Sat 08-Dec-12 13:30:27

Just to clarify contextual data is used at offer stage by unis including Cambridge at least Stats being compiled by 1994 unis at the moment are coming out with firm evidence that students admitted from disadvantaged backgrounds as a result of contextual data being considered are still out performing other applicants by a significant margin.

grovel Sat 08-Dec-12 09:56:16

Agree with HG that uniform is fine.

happygardening Sat 08-Dec-12 09:41:53

Many preps insist their children wear school uniform even on informal visits. You DS wont look out of place if he does and at least you wont have to struggle to create "smart casual."

grovel Sat 08-Dec-12 09:29:09

DS. Smart casual/
You. Ditto.

No-one is judging you.

IndridCold Sat 08-Dec-12 08:47:54

The people from the school will be very nice, some of the other prospective parents might be a bit meh, but most will be totally ordinary.

Enjoy your tour!

indefinate Fri 07-Dec-12 23:13:57

hi i am new to this. We as a family have an invite to visit Eton on 1 of its open days, I am very interested in sending ds there, need advice on what to regards to snobbery, my son already is at local public school in midlands, which is prob nothing like the public schools in London - maybe I feel less confident in going on tour as I wouldnt for start know how to dress ds or even myself as i would not like to have the so called mick taken out for dressing in a certain manner like the poor darling woman in heels pls help

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 24-Nov-12 22:13:16

I think that to help Peteneras take all this a bit less seriously and cheer him up, I might ring him up pretending to be a funny African who doesnt speak idiomatic English. He will like that. Of couse it will probably turn out later when people suggest that might have been a little on the racist side that all I did was hand his personal phone number over to the racists.

joanbyers Sat 24-Nov-12 22:08:31

Lol @ peteneras taking the Fred so seriously. It's just words on a message board. No standing required.

Yellowtip Sat 24-Nov-12 10:00:58

In fact re-read all your linked articles. The message is clear: to seek out first rate potential. Seems fair confused.

Yellowtip Sat 24-Nov-12 09:56:07

Incidentally you need to read up on the flagging system peterenas. It doesn't extend to the offer of places, only to the offer of interviews.

Yellowtip Sat 24-Nov-12 09:50:45

You have no place whatsoever to ask me to leave Eton threads peterenas. After all, I don't ask you to leave the Oxbridge threads. I might start though grin.

In my dreams indeed! This would be grin if it wasn't quite sad. Etonians are out there in the real world peterenas and I've known and know plenty. A mixed bag, as one might expect. Some charming and some complete dicks. Some clever and some really not clever at all.

All universities (including Cambridge as well as Oxford) use contextual data. Etonians don't get more adversely affected by this than the highest achieving states or any other good independent however. Are you implying they do, or that your DS did? It would have been marginal I'm afraid. Though I have heard a few independent school students (the weaker ones) moan that they're being discriminated against. That's just sour grapes. Students are only flagged up right at the other extreme.

You don't get the Chris Patten thing peterenas. Oxford and Cambridge have both said officially and emphatically that they haven't so far taken second best and they won't be doing so now or in the future and that the government can bog off if it seeks otherwise. The corollary of that is that the students currently there are all first rate and merit their place.

peteneras Sat 24-Nov-12 00:57:40

’ Joan hasn't so far objected to my being on her thread and I believe you lack the standing yourself.’

Oh really? The parent of an Eton King’s Scholar lacks the standing on an Eton thread as opposed to an Eton wannabe? Like you say, get a grip!

’I've been to university with Etonians, worked with Etonians, lived next to and amongst Etonians and currently have friends who are parents of Etonians’

In your dreams perhaps?

’ Chris Patten is saying in the 2008 article that Oxford will not accept second best. Not that they have done so in the recent past or are doing so now.’

So what’s all this nonsense about targeting the poorest postcodes* and flagging up students, etc.? And why the need to address this issue by both the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor if the university had not been criticized for doing so?

Even their own website clearly states that contextual data of applicants would be used and have been, and still being used in their admissions process.

I’m not against widening access; on the contrary, I’m all FOR it. But social engineering is not the business of universities. That’s best left to the government and schools to do it in the early stages of a child’s education. University is the final arena where everyone competes on an equal footing just like the Olympics.

'Alex Ferguson needs to make judgments based on football ability and Oxford needs to make judgment on intellectual ability,' said Smithers. 'The only issue should be the talent of the person. The government is keen on social engineering and [Oxford] university seems to be bowing to that.'

Mo Farrar, an immigrant from deprived backgrounds wasn’t ‘flagged’ up by the IOC and given a 4-lap head-start in last summer’s London Olympic games. Neither was triple Olympic gold medalist, Usain Bolt flagged up because he came from underprivileged Jamaica. Both competed in their events fairly and squarely without asking for special favours.

Yellowtip Thu 22-Nov-12 09:47:05

Of course in neither case did I say anything about Oxford being superior. The whole notion of arguing that one is better overall than the other is utterly lame.

Yellowtip Thu 22-Nov-12 09:43:45

Very, very difficult for you to found a charge of viciousness on my part peterenas grin. I assume what you dislike so much is that I couldn't give a toss and remain completely unruffled.

Joan hasn't so far objected to my being on her thread and I believe you lack the standing yourself. Since I've been to university with Etonians, worked with Etonians, lived next to and amongst Etonians and currently have friends who are parents of Etonians I think I have an entirely legitimate place on the thread. It really isn't that cloistered a club.

Chris Patten is saying in the 2008 article that Oxford will not accept second best. Not that they have done so in the recent past or are doing so now. Get a grip of your tenses.

I've taken issue with one wife of a Cambridge don who gave out totally misleading advice about the process for offering interviews for Medicine at Oxford (all very clearly set out on the Pre-clinical page of the university website and totally at odds with what she was saying). Pretty important for any MN parent who wants accurate info, not waffle. And I recall taking issue with a Cambridge don who went over the top in attempting to encourage applications, since she said B grades were fine.Her intentions were obviously good but that's an irrelevance really. MN is supposed to be a source of good information and so far I don't believe I've ever got anything university related wrong. There may be a reason for that.

peteneras Thu 22-Nov-12 03:49:01

’Unlike you, who has to have it that the school her kid attended is vastly superior . . that the uni he now attends is vastly superior. . .’

No, I don’t have to have it. Everything I said on MN are just my opinions and opinions of some professionals and learned individuals (thus the many links in my postings) who’d spent time studying and writing on the subject on schools and medical schools. You don’t have to agree with any of these opinions the same way I don’t have to agree with yours, so what’s the problem?

Whoever sends their kid(s) to which school/university is none of my business - remember, they’re just faceless individuals in cyberspace. But you seem to be very obsessed with my son’s Eton education which caused you to launch head-on into vicious personal attacks on me right from the beginning when I first joined MN. I took your personal insults and attacks as a kind of MN joke but you’d assured me they were not.

Just wondering what are you doing here on an Eton thread anyway?

’I've just looked at your links peterenas and I don't get any particular point.’

That’s because you refuse to see it, Yellow. Oxford’s own Chancellor has expressed concern about his university accepting students who were ‘second best’. That’s his words, not mine.

’State pupils should not be favoured over those from private schools, the Chancellor of Oxford University insisted yesterday.’

’Lord Patten accused 'social engineers' of trying to force universities to make up for the failings of comprehensive education.’

’He said that while Oxford would strive to be socially inclusive and dig out hidden talent it would be ' suicidal' to accept students who were 'second best'.’

peteneras Thu 22-Nov-12 03:44:53

’My originality is stifled when I wipe my backside.’
Especially when you have haemorrhoids!

’I can just see his passport application being thrown in the bin. 'I refuse to tick boxes, I went to Eton!' Followed by call from various Eton Masters to someone in Croydon. . .’

No need for phone calls and all that . . . they run those god-damn places! grin

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