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Winchester is the first choice

(27 Posts)
Rightsideofthetracks Wed 17-Feb-16 11:29:08

We hope our DS will go to Winchester but obviously it can never be a guarantee,what is a good second choice?There just doesn't seem to be anywhere else like Winchester and I'm not sure where else my son would fit.Thank you in advance.

TinkerBellThree Wed 17-Feb-16 14:58:03

What is it that draws you to Winchester? What about it suits your DS so down to a T?
This might help us identify some possible alternatives...

Rightsideofthetracks Wed 17-Feb-16 15:14:41

The academic side of the school to start with,my son loved it when we visited.He liked the extra circular activities on offer.He is a very clever little boy,musical and loves drama.Prep school headmasters we visited thought he would ideal for Winchester.He is a little quiky and has always been in a class with older boys.He joins in sports but will never be a sports man.He is boarding now and loves it so I hope that will continue.

happygardening Thu 18-Feb-16 09:03:06

Difficult IMO what makes Winchester what it is is that it is quite different from the others some see this as a negative but I like it. We never had a second choice school when he sat the pre test for Winchester (he also sat SPS but not exactly a fall back school). I guess if he hadn't have even successful would have reconsidered all our options state and independent day and boarding, our head made some suggestions of other big names Marlborough Kings Canterbury and we also have an excellent top performing grammar nearish to us ?we might have moved closer, I could have given up work and then tried and failed to provide some of what Winchester provides in his spare time maybe. My DH was completely convinced he'd get it so wouldn't discus it! I can't tell you a relief it was when we didn't have to think about this anymore. When DS went for the interview there are approximately 2.5 applicants for every one place if it's still the same Yoir DS stands a good chance.

TinkerBellThree Thu 18-Feb-16 09:27:03

Dear OP - your DS sounds like a perfect fit for WC and I think that if you find a house master you 'click' with, you will stand a very good chance indeed.
In my DS' year (2017 entry) there were some 400 applicants for the 140 places.

I think HAPPY is right, WC is unique in many ways and the schools it compares to academically can hardly be called "back-up" as they would have to be places like St Pauls, Westminster etc. Although saying that, I know a boy who did not get into Eton or Harrow, but got a place at WC (which was their 'back-up') so you never really know.

I think you have to visit a few schools (the above?) and think about what you are after and the ethos of the place.

Not entirely sure I am being very helpful, sorry sad

sendsummer Thu 18-Feb-16 09:44:32

Some schools like Marlborough are attempting something similar to Div.
Are you limited by full boarding? Outside London the closest in academic atmosphere and type of boys is MCS in Oxford IMO (although more restricted for the whole package offered compared to Winchester). It is the present head of MCS who takes over at Winchester.

Rightsideofthetracks Thu 18-Feb-16 09:50:19

We have applied to a house,the house master seemed to like my son.My son certainly liked him.Would love to hear any advise on the interview/test.He is 9 so would be 2019 entry.We want full boarding boys so not that many choices really and nowhere will suit my son so well .All 400 applicants are probably of the academic level needed for WC so we will just have to hope he does well on the day.How long after did you find out the results and congratulations to both your DS's

happygardening Thu 18-Feb-16 10:31:35

DS was interviewed in March (2009!!) and we were told he was successful at the beginning of June, (assuming nothing has changed) the HM will tell you what date the offer letters are sent to all applicants and your prep school head, they arrived on the date promised.
I know Marlborough very well it a good school but I personally wouldn't consider it a good alternative for Winchester in terms of ethos etc.
Best tip for the interview be yourself.

TinkerBellThree Thu 18-Feb-16 10:59:33

HG is right (as she tends to be!) smile, We interviewed in March (I think they start in January but offer date is the same regardless) and got the reply second week in June - exactly when it was promised.
Again, I can just ecco HG: just be yourself is the best advice. It is the most personal and relaxed interview of all the schools. One on one, very low key, and all the boys I know who have done the assessment have enjoyed the experience.

happygardening Thu 18-Feb-16 12:35:30

Where do you live? Are you in the UK or abroad? If in the UK distance would effect my decision, I have a 1 1/2 hour one way driving rule. I looked at Tonbridge (not many full boarders) and rather liked it, the head was at SPS and I felt was trying to create a similar type of environment, having said this I doubt they would like to be considered a 2nd choice for Winchester and due to its location maybe not for the quirky.
We know a few quirky types at Kings Canterbury who seem happy I believe a wide choice of extra curricular activities and possibly no major sport so you can choose something that interests you rather enduring a tedious team sport, but a friend who works there says it's not an intellectual power house like Win Coll and thought my easily bored DS would have been bored there.

Rightsideofthetracks Thu 18-Feb-16 16:01:27

We are in Blackheath SE London,so Tonbridge is a possibility.My prep school headmaster said they don't have many full boarders.We will see it though as we need other options.My son is boarding close to Winchester now and comes home every three weeks.It would be nice to be closer but nowhere else seemed as good a fit for him.Winchester seems out on it's own in that respect .Has WC lived up to your expectations(and your sons)?He must be about to leave now.

happygardening Thu 18-Feb-16 16:34:16

Yes he leaves this year. I'm pleased and a little surprised (Im a disillusioned old cynic) to say that what I thought it was when we visited it (4 times) is what it is. Its not everyone's cup of tea and at times its makes some petty irritating rules/decisions, but generally it provides a liberal very intellectual education, I know some boys find it a rather serious place and others feel under considerable pressure but my DS hasn't found that at all. I haven't generally got much time for ISI reports but the most recent one states the following the boys "enjoy an excellent distinctive curriculum which encourages intellectual curiosity over and above exam preparation", "development stems from the freedom to be themselves at the school" and that boys "voiced how much they enjoyed the colleges ethos in encouraging individuality". For me that sums it up in a nutshell and that is what we personally are paying for.

Rightsideofthetracks Fri 19-Feb-16 08:54:54

You visited four times HG,did you go back again to visit after you had registered?

happygardening Fri 19-Feb-16 09:26:21

No we attended the open day which I found unhelpful and frankly put me off the school as I struggled to see what it was all about, (we'd recently visited SPS and its very obvious what that's all about) then we met three HM's without my DS and then went back again for him to meet the two HM's we liked. It was when we had lunch with the boys in one of the boarding houses that what it's all about began to fall into place, then we registered. Once you've registered there's no point in going back you just have to sit back and wait for the interview.

Rightsideofthetracks Fri 19-Feb-16 09:50:20

We visited two with our DS and we knew after that visit which one we all liked.We then registered our DS.We never got to have lunch in the boarding house is that usual?

happygardening Fri 19-Feb-16 10:21:02

My DS says that prospective parents/boys often have lunch in his house and it happens in others as well but I can't comment if they all do it, perhaps it depends on the individual HM and if he's actually in the job when you see him a lot are leaving over the next two-three years.

Rightsideofthetracks Fri 19-Feb-16 11:18:49

The housemaster we registered with is not leaving,I just hope that it's not a bad sign as lunch was never mentioned.Thanks for all the advise.

happygardening Fri 19-Feb-16 13:44:35

I wouldn't worry at all one of things Winchester parents and pupils quickly learn is that there is often significant variation between houses. I like it but it was one of things that friend didn't like about it.

Notatigermother1234 Fri 19-Feb-16 20:20:14

They have exeats every three weeks.We go to watch matches,see them singing in the choir and the school has lots of other events which we attend.When they first started boarding we lived overseas but we have no regrets about the decision we have made with regard to their education.

Rightsideofthetracks Fri 19-Feb-16 20:30:59

Thanks HG we will just have to hope it goes well on the day.Good luck to your DS with exams and moving on to University.

happygardening Fri 19-Feb-16 20:40:50

Thanks, it's the end of an era for us it's gone very quickly, good luck to your DS do let people on here know how he gets on.

Tanith Sat 20-Feb-16 10:42:40

We never really had a backup school either. DS wanted Winchester as soon as he heard about it and seems to have fitted in perfectly.

I remember the Headmaster seemed a bit shocked when he asked at interview and we said we had no other alternative in mind.

Tonbridge was suggested to us as a backup and I know two boys there who are very happy. DH and DS trotted dutifully to take a look and were very impressed, but DS's mind was changed not a jot smile

Rightsideofthetracks Sat 20-Feb-16 11:51:05

I hope your son is enjoying it there,I just hope my son is what they are looking for as I know that he would be so disappointed.We will just have to wait and see.

TinkerBellThree Sat 20-Feb-16 11:52:30

We were not invited for lunch RightSide, and have an offer.
I think it is just a matter what they have on that particular day, who else is for lunch (masters are invited every day) etc. So I dont think you should read anything into it.
I am sure your DS will do brilliantly - I believe it is very much about the 'fit'.

Rightsideofthetracks Sat 20-Feb-16 12:43:52

Congratulations to your DS,it must be wonderful to receive that letter.

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