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Ds, age 11 wants to go to Eton......

(13 Posts)
boyhasadream Tue 06-Nov-12 04:29:21

Um, that's it really. A lad from his primary school won one of the newer type of scholarships where boys join from their state school (at the beginning of Y9 I think). He's not arrogant at all about his abiliies but is all-round extremely bright (as was the boy he knows, which is why we think he wants to try for it). Having discovered there's a new type of scholarship for boys currently at state school (we don't remotely have the money for the fees), we are wondering if we should try to help him realise his dream.

He's in his first term at a fantastic grammar school, where he is thriving and no doubt will do very well, and he is not boarding (I find that idea really hard - the separation). Funny, when I talked to ds about it, he said he wouldn't be ready to board now but would feel ready in a couple of years!

The competition for scholarship places will obviously be enormous. We think he has a chance though and if he wants to try..............

What do fellow mumsnetters think? Any experiences about dc's at Eton, scholarships etc gratefully received.

I'm a bit thrown by it to be honest because I thought we'd got him sorted! Then he throws this curve ball but is serious about it.

Something that worries me is if by some chance he did get a place, what would it be like, with him not coming from a prep school background like the majority of other boys? There are a lot of boys from prep schools at his grammar and whilst he's v confident and outgoing, he says some of these boys are really pushy and want everyone to 'follow' them grin! We've told him he's encountering a wider range of personalities being in a much larger school now and he doesn't need to follow anyone. He's developing a sound friendship group so seems to be steering his way through the class/form/house dynamics.

We love it that he has this dream and we don't want to dismiss it and say, 'you're fine where you are.'

What to do?

AuntieStella Tue 06-Nov-12 08:46:52

Ring the admissions office ASAP: the cut off for applications is normally the month when the boy turns 10 hrs 6 months.

I wouldn't worry in the slightest about suitability from state school; you'll find out if you think it's the right place for your DS over the course of normal admissions procedures.

But I would be concerned that offers for Sept 14 have already been made, and there is a waiting list.

AuntieStella Tue 06-Nov-12 08:54:18

Sorry, ignore most of my last. Too late for most places, but from state school most of the entrance rounds are in year 8. But still worth getting on to their admissions office asap.

You'll only know if it is the right place for your DC by going and visiting. If your DS is keen to try, it's definitely worth a go. As intake is now on merit (not synonymous with most academic, btw), and as it is a big school, then there are a wide range of personalities there too.

IndridCold Tue 06-Nov-12 09:14:13

Can't tell you about the scholarship stuff, but there is a lot of info on the Eton website, and the people in the Admissions Office are very helpful, so don't be afraid to ring them up and ask. You are not too late I don't think, applications for the scholarships seem to be in year 8 .

Agree with AuntieStella about fitting in. There is a huge variety of boys at Eton from different backgrounds and including many from other countries. Your DS would not stand out to his disadvantage in any way. There seems to be a very positive and friendly vibe at the school. My DS is very proud of the older boys in his house, and the older ones do mentor and look after the younger ones. Some of the parents of DS's friends are quite high flying, but the boys don't seem to talk about what their Mum or Dad do, and I don't think they care.

Competition is fierce for scholarships but that doesn't mean that your DS won't be successful. You won't know if you don't try! I know several boys who have tried and failed, apart from some initial disappointment they are all now happily settled in their new schools.

I wish your DS the best of luck!!

happygardening Tue 06-Nov-12 11:11:34

The competition for any scholarship into Eton and of course others is going to be fierce but I posted this on a thread on secondary education;
My friend wanted his DS to sit the Kings scholarship (KS) into Eton his prep school head was horrified (the school had a long history of getting Eton scholarships) "Henry is a very nice lad" the head said cagely as my friend can be very difficult "and he's doing well but how can I put it he's only in the second class I was thinking more about .. well maybe Stowe? My friend reply if he doesn't sit it he defintely won't get it.
A year later he came third in the notoriously difficult KS and thrived all through his five years at Eton!
It is also looking at others there are other good boarding schools out there that will take bright state school educated children who haven't been prepared for CE.

Colleger Tue 06-Nov-12 11:28:55

Just make sure you manage your son's expectations because the odds of getting an NFS are very slim.

dapplegrey Tue 06-Nov-12 11:51:24

Have a go you've got nothing to lose, tho' as others have said , don't raise your boy's hopes as competition is stiff.
My dc's grandparents pay their school fees. Our house is scruffy and our car is old, but we never felt out of place and nor did our ds. The other parents in ds's house were really nice and I've stayed friends with some of them after ds left.

Colleger, what is a NFS?

happygardening Tue 06-Nov-12 11:59:48

NFS = New Foundation Scholarship only state educated children are eligible.

happygardening Tue 06-Nov-12 12:02:04

Here is the link

boyhasadream Tue 06-Nov-12 12:05:10

Thanks very much everyone for your useful replies.

Positioning this with ds, and as has been pointed out, managing his expectations are going to be really important because of the competition for these scholarships. I think he'll be able to cope with giving it a go and not getting in, as long as we position it with him in the right way. What seems good, is any additional push he's given in the subject areas tested for the scholarship, would benefit him in his current school if he continues there anyway.

We'll get in touch with Eton's admissions office asap.

Something else I wanted views on - what do you think are the benefits of going to Eton compared to an excellent grammar school, and how much of a difference does getting a scholarship make? I'm thinking in the longer term here, so applying for university. Eton on the application form rather than his grammar school (v good record for gaining Oxbridge places)?

A couple of weeks after starting grammar, he said he wanted to go to a good university like Oxford (we thought, well ok, it's good that the school is already getting the children discussing and thinking about these things!). I did then say to him he might find he wants to go to university in the US, which he thought sounded interesting.

dapplegrey Tue 06-Nov-12 12:06:46

Thank you happy.

Boyhasadream - re boarding, you can go and see him and take him out to tea or just sit and chat when he's got free time.

boyhasadream Tue 06-Nov-12 12:30:56

That's what I'm thinking dapplegrey. Eton isn't too far from us (40 minute drive). That's helping me cope with the idea of my baby possibly going to boarding school grin!

So strange really, because in one way I know a fair bit about Eton as I lived 10 mins away when I was young. I was a keen singer in our school choir and we would go along to join with the boys, performing oratorios etc on a regular basis. It was great fun!! Our music teacher was v naughty though as she would flirt outrageously with the choirmaster (they went to music school together and were 'old friends'). Then she'd ask us if there was anyone who had caught our eye!!! Bear in mind we started going when we were 13, and would all go scarlet with embarrassment!!

happygardening Tue 06-Nov-12 12:44:31

"what do you think are the benefits of going to Eton compared to an excellent grammar school, and how much of a difference does getting a scholarship make? I'm thinking in the longer term here,"
I have a friend who's head at an outstanding boys grammar he will tell you that the really bright and able children will probably do well wherever they go. My DS is at Winchester and we have an "outstanding" comp on our door step sending between 6-10 to Oxbridge a year they are identified early and given every conceivable bit of help to get in Oxbridge. I have no doubt that if my DS wanted to go to Oxbridge then he would probably would stand as much chance of getting in from our local comp as Winchester who currently send just under 40% a year. But he currently wants to go to university in Europe/US/Canada I know our local comp is currently not geared up for this and has no intention of going down this road at present.
Without reopening the private versus state debate the sort of education your DS will receive at Eton is not just about exam result universities its an all round education that will stay with him for life. Boarding itself is a positive life changing experience and at schools like Eton a myriad opportunities exist that can never exist in a state school or even in most independent day schools.
Do look at others where they're might be less competion for places and your DS might if he's very able might be able to get a scholarship into somewhere even though he's not been at a prep.

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