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Documentary - Eton New Foundation Scholars

(116 Posts)
pusspusslet Wed 12-Mar-14 21:03:05


On 18th and 19th March at 5.30pm on CBBC is a documentary ('The Most Famous School in the World' -- part of the 'My Life' series) following the three New Foundation Scholars at Eton at the start of the 2013 academic year.

Sounds very interesting!

givemeaclue Thu 13-Mar-14 09:44:08

That is a good series. The girl mountaineer was amazing. There is some great stuff on cbbc

JumbledAndTumbled Sat 15-Mar-14 00:53:20

That does sound interesting.

Dapplegrey Sat 15-Mar-14 08:39:18

Eton must be daft letting the BBC anywhere near the place.

givemeaclue Sat 15-Mar-14 09:40:20

It is cbbc though!

pusspusslet Wed 19-Mar-14 20:51:41

Very interesting, I thought! Especially the second episode, with all the focus on exams. Made my head spin a bit. I wish I'd taken it all that seriously when I was at school.

herdream1 Thu 20-Mar-14 08:33:00

My DD really enjoyed the program and wants to go to a school like Eton when she is older. I do not think there is an equivalent of Eton for girls?

In the league table, Eton is among the top schools, but not the very best. One of the three boys came from a grammar in Essex and I would think he would have achieved just as well academically if he stayed there. I guess what Eton offers is status/pride, experience, facilities and making connections.

Retropear Thu 20-Mar-14 09:09:26

Not sure I'd want my boys engaging in such a micro managed,structured day or the pressure.shockI push my 3 but bloody hell the pressure all the time,reading your results out,those exams,continuously doing something worthy etc.And letting your 13 year old leave home,I just couldn't not even for Eton.grin

Found it really interesting though and was quite surprised re how nice the staff and kids all seemed.

Made me laugh when the house master said one had done a "stellar performance" or something in the exams and the kid was like err what does that mean.grin

ZeroSomeGameThingy Thu 20-Mar-14 10:24:20

Just caught this on iPlayer. Great that it was done for CBBC - I may try to see the rest of the series. It did seem to have quite a narrow remit - so virtually no input from any other boys and not nearly enough from their families.

Retro why were you surprised by niceness in staff and pupils? What were you expecting?

herdream I guess for girls you would be looking at somewhere like Wycombe Abbey or a few of the London day schools. But I suppose there's no exact equivalent because girls' education just hasn't hasn't been formally prioritised in England for nearly as long as boys' education has been.

Retropear Thu 20-Mar-14 10:28:27

Knobs like David Cameron and George Osborne(the only Eton pupils I know).

Retropear Thu 20-Mar-14 10:29:47

On and Boris Johnson.

Retropear Thu 20-Mar-14 10:32:43

That said the focus was only on the 3 foundation scholarship boys maybe it wasn't a true representation of the demographic there as a whole.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Thu 20-Mar-14 11:01:12

Hmmm - surely if a school offers fee assistance to 20% of its pupils......

And the programme was anyway dealing with now, not 30/40 years ago.

I also don't think the school is offering status/pride as herdream suggests. It was very clear that each of the three boys had oodles of inherent status/pride and wanted to do well for themselves. It's not impossible that that kind of drive and ambition can mature into becoming.... a member of the Cabinet. But I wouldn't blame the school for that.

Retropear Thu 20-Mar-14 11:05:16

I think the three boys that were focused on are a world away from O,C and J.At 33k a year for 80% of the pupils I'm sure their equivalent are there today.grin

propatria Thu 20-Mar-14 11:28:26

Sorry retro,St Pauls is responsible for Gideon ,not Eton.

Retropear Thu 20-Mar-14 11:37:03


nibs777 Thu 20-Mar-14 12:00:25

Eton is not the best academically even if it is one of the most selective ...but then I don't think it aims/claims to be the best academic school in the UK ....I think they look for broader talents which means some very academic clever boys may miss an offer ..I also think that kind of micro-management/highly structured environment 24/7 won't work for all teenage certain personalities will not suit.

I would think the foundation scholars are not representative of the demographic but can see why they focussed on those in allowing the cameras in.

grovel Thu 20-Mar-14 12:04:33

Retro, I think the documentary (while generally fair) gives a false impression re micro-management. My DS left Eton a couple of years ago. If anything I thought the school's approach was rather laissez faire. The boys are shown what's available and then left to get on with creating their own lives. Boys have very different experiences at Eton. One will spend his whole time (outside lessons) in the library, another on the sports fields, another in the theatre, another chilling in a coffee shop on the High Street etc.

dog1dog2 Thu 20-Mar-14 12:44:37

I agree with grovel. I think Eton is a bit of a sink or swim place. More like a university from the start. And also very big!! Boys have to be self starters to do well there and I think the selection process tries to find those boys.

peteneras Thu 20-Mar-14 13:43:09

I like the reward system of the School. People often wonder why and how is it that Etonians and OE’s are so competitive even long after they have left the school. I attribute that to the School’s reward system. You are encouraged to do your best with all the help and support there is which really are second to none.

A case in point here is young James in the film. Not knowing a word of Latin when he came to the school, he was encouraged and supported to really draw out his full potential. As it turned out, some weeks later he did really well in the subject and even earned a ‘Show-up’ which surprised even himself. This is a formal recognition of a piece of good/excellent work. Eton don’t mince their words in their school reports. Collect 5 ’Show-up’s’ (I think) and you are given a prize, often in the form of a voucher which you can redeem it for books, stationary, etc. to the value of forty or fifty pounds!

Seeing your peers collecting award after award can only push a boy to apply himself. I know of a boy from my DS’s prep school whose own father had sort of written him off for laziness but somehow got into Eton. Not only was his attitude towards work changed massively at Eton but he went on to become an Oppidan Scholar and even won a place at Oxford!

The other end of the stick in Eton’s reward system is a ’Rip’. This is given for “an extra bad piece of work” when the work is literally ripped off! Rubbish to you and I - fit for the dustbin and back to the drawing board. smile

Perhaps the most significant and extremely rare award given to a boy is a piece of work being ‘Sent Up for Good’. This is so rare an award that many Etonians have not even heard of it, never mind achieving one. It is awarded for a boy’s work in a subject which is “outstandingly good” (Eton’s Nobel Prize, if you like) and the work is then lodged in College Library - not School Library - to be kept there for posterity joining the ranks of some of the world’s greatest authors/writers together with some extremely important and rare books, manuscripts, prints, essays, etc. like for example, a copy of the Gutenberg Bible amongst thousands of many other items.

Proud to say DS has left an indelible mark up there with a piece of work ’Sent Up for Good’!

Toughasoldboots Thu 20-Mar-14 13:49:29

One of the boys came from a superselective grammar in kent- he is a friend of my son.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Thu 20-Mar-14 14:26:43

....Could you tease out your point Tough?

ReallyTired Thu 20-Mar-14 14:47:24

I think that the programme focussed on the foundation scholars as those boys have the most in common with cbbc viewers. I thought the boys were lovely and mature. I hope that they do well in life.

Toughasoldboots Thu 20-Mar-14 16:36:48

I was correcting someone who said that he was from a school in Essex and agreeing with the poster that said he could have done well anywhere.

handcream Thu 20-Mar-14 16:38:27

I think there are some people on this thread who have a chip on their shoulder about schools such as Eton. Why not teach children they are are capable of doing their very best and give them the encouragement and support to become what they aspire to!

Whilst my DS doesnt go to Eton he does go to a similar boarding school and has a number of friends there. At one point they did seem to be going down just choosing very academic boys from certain cultures where education is valued often to the detriment of everything else. We had a friend of his stay with us for a few days a couple of years ago. He could barely get up the stairs without losing something and was very shy. Not an Eton boy I would have thought, however he was extremely bright and he did get in. I do wonder how he coped.

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