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Eton scholarship admissions: advice please!

(82 Posts)
PriscillaLydiaSellon Tue 13-Nov-12 10:46:41

DS (10.5) is dead set on going to Eton. We can't remotely begin to afford it, so he is going to try for a scholarship/bursary. We have been told that he doesn't need to do anything until Y8, as he's only applying via the scholarship route - but teacher friends at two other boarding schools (which DS won't even look at, being fixated on Eton) have said that that in practice, children need to be registered in Y6 even if they are only applying for 13+ scholarships. Has anyone been there and done this? If so, I'd be very grateful for your advice...

milkshake3 Tue 13-Nov-12 11:12:52

Ring their admissions dept and discuss it with them. They are best placed to give you the most accurate answer!!

PriscillaLydiaSellon Tue 13-Nov-12 11:19:39

Thanks, milkshake3. We did ask them, and they did say Year 8 - but we just then started to wobble a bit in the light of friends' 'inside knowledge' of other schools!

difficultpickle Tue 13-Nov-12 12:03:10

I thought Eton also gave bursaries not connected with scholarships? If that is the case I would have thought you did need to be registered. I may well be wrong as I've lost track a bit whilst looking at school options!

peteneras Tue 13-Nov-12 12:21:11

PriscillaLydiaSellon, what a fantastic and wonderful boy you have . . . smile

At age 10.5 he is already ‘dead set’ and ‘fixated’ on going to Eton and ‘won’t even look at’ any other school! Wow! This alone tells me there’s something in your boy who knows exactly what he wants, i.e. excellence in everything and Eton is the way forward indeed.

And fear not, your teacher friends at other boarding schools don’t quite know what they are talking about though I’m sure their intentions are genuine. Eton have a very strict deadline (no exceptions) to have registrations in by the very latest 10 years and 6 months BUT ONLY for those who wish to enter the school via the normal route, i.e. through Common Entrance.

As for those entering with The New Foundation Scholarship the boy will normally be:

Eligibility : applicants will normally be in year 8, the school year in which their 13th birthday falls. A boy who will be 14 before September 1st is too old to enter.

There was an Open Afternoon (10 Nov) held just three days ago at Upper School (US). Perhaps you might want to put in your diary to attend next year with your son. It is usually held in early November on a Saturday which includes a tour of the School just prior to the meeting. Well worth attending. If your son is successful in winning a scholarship, then money is the least thing you should worry about as Eton can top up the scholarship with a full bursary and more! Good luck to your son!

Yellowtip Tue 13-Nov-12 12:50:29

Priscilla so what's the plan if by any chance your DS doesn't get a scholarship given that you can't remotely afford the fees and given also that your DS is totally fixated on Eton?

Wouldn't like to be in your shoes I must say.

PriscillaLydiaSellon Tue 13-Nov-12 13:01:12

bisjo: they do indeed. But for various reasons (some of which I don't want to go into, but one of which is his very striking level of ability), it would be better for him to apply only for scholarships.

Peterneras: thank you for your very kind post. We did visit the school for an informal music audition last year, which was when DS decided that there was no other school for him. However, we also need to see the rest of the school, so will definitely put that in the diary.

Yellowtip: we do have a couple of other possibilities up our sleeves, but it's true that he's almost certainly ruling out other good boarding schools by his fixation on Eton. This does scare me slightly, but I can see why he thinks that he and Eton would be a good mix.

Yellowtip Tue 13-Nov-12 13:08:47

So presumably all of the boarding choices depend on scholarships?

Out of interest is he gifted all round or primarily in terms of music?

difficultpickle Tue 13-Nov-12 13:38:39

I'm not sure I understand the distinction between a scholarship bursary and and a non-scholarship bursary. Historically it used to be that a non-scholarship bursary could only be for a maximum of 50% of fees but I understand that has changed now.

It does seem that you are putting all your eggs in one basket in only looking at the scholarship option for your ds.

My ds is very keen to go to Eton but I reckon that is only because of the Youtube Gangnam video they did. I've told him he needs to be stellar in his music and academic performance if he is going to have a fighting chance of getting there!

Colleger Tue 13-Nov-12 13:46:22

If you've told them you're looking for a scholarship then you can only do Y8 tests. If you had said bursary you should have registered by the end of Year5. The bursary is easier to get than the scholarship...

PriscillaLydiaSellon Tue 13-Nov-12 13:53:42

Thanks, Colleger. I am just hoping that it all works out.

Yellowtip, he's going for music and academic scholarships. He is astonishingly good on both scores (though very, very difficult too...).

Bisjo, we have likewise been entertained by Eton Style grin.

difficultpickle Tue 13-Nov-12 13:53:50

Colleger I assume that both the non-scholarship and scholarship bursaries are both means-tested in the same way?

Colleger Tue 13-Nov-12 15:34:09

Yes they are. The scholarship does give 10% non means tested though.

Colleger Tue 13-Nov-12 15:35:15

What level is he in music and what instruments does he play?

joanbyers Tue 13-Nov-12 16:20:53

I'm not sure how your DS has decided Eton is the best if he's never even visited. There are so many schools, and no one is 'best'.

In your position I would be looking round schools in Y4, asking about bursaries and ensuring that you keep as many options open as possible.

As it is your options are much more limited with a child in Y6 and application dates already gone for many schools.

You shouldn't encourage him to fixate on Eton because it is very competitive, and unless your surname is Windsor there is no guarantee you will get in.

Lots and lots of other independent schools will provide an outstanding education and it would be a shame to put all your eggs in Eton's basket.

BTW in terms of music Eton told me they are looking for grade 6, in Y6, in one instrument, or grade 3 in two. I guess in Y8 the standard would be higher again.

PriscillaLydiaSellon Tue 13-Nov-12 16:35:49

Joanbyers/Colleger: he's Grade 8 in one instrument (solo), and Grade 6 in the other (an orchestral instrument, which he's been learning for just over a year). He's also a cathedral chorister. He's starting a third instrument at the end of Y6. By the time he's in Y8, he's planning to have his first Diploma in his first instrument and Grade 8 in the other two (again, that's the way he is - his planning is evidently better than mine grin).

Joanbyers, if we look at other schools, I know from 10 years of experience with this particular boy that it will be a case of taking the proverbial horses to water but not convincing them to drink. I'm by no means encouraging him to fixate on anything at all; he is quite capable of fixating on things without any encouragement from me.

DH and I are, of course, investigating the alternatives - but almost all are ruled out for various reasons specific to DS. You are quite right that there are all sorts of excellent independent alternatives - DH and I have/have had 5 children at various independent schools, and both went to them ourselves, so are by no means 'first-time buyers' into the system.

Specialist music schools are a possible alternative (handily, applications are fine for these in Y8). Local day schools are also fine for Y8 applications (the prep school system is prevalent where we live, so lots of children move schools locally at 13+).

joanbyers Tue 13-Nov-12 17:02:32

If you are paying other sets of school fees, schools may or may not take that into account in awarding a bursary/scholarship, and I think you need to be quite careful with how you proceed.

Also note that some schools award large academic/all-round scholarships of 50% or more but some such as Eton may tend to limit their scholarships to token amounts, and reserve the funding for bursaries, and in a situation where you have a boy who is obviously scholarship material, then it might be worth looking at the scholarship schools.

joanbyers Tue 13-Nov-12 17:03:13

i.e. schools that give big fee breaks to the best scholarship candidates.

PriscillaLydiaSellon Tue 13-Nov-12 17:57:55

Indeed. I think I could have school scholarships as my specialist subject on Mastermind. grin

PriscillaLydiaSellon Tue 13-Nov-12 17:58:56

(And sorry, Joan, I've just noticed that you referred earlier to my son not having visited Eton. Eton is the only one he has visited!)

happygardening Tue 13-Nov-12 18:24:08

If you DS is a cathedral chorister is he eligible for "The New Foundation Scholarship" I thought maybe incorrectly Im not Eton expert that that was only for state ed boys.
As Im sure many will cheerfully testify the Eton Scholarship is exceeding difficult. We has a child at my DS prep try for it and they had a fairly recent history of getting it but things have changed and they like many preps no longer have sufficient staff classes experience to teach to the standard required. If you not eligible for the new foundation scholarship your DS realistically need to be in the proper scholarship stream teaching to they Eton scholarship level not normal CE scholarship level from the beginning of yr 7 this is what most London prep and others with a good track record will do.
Thirdly I dont know if you can get in with only a music scholarship if you haven't been offered a non scholarship place at 10.5 again Eton experts will know.
Good luck.

PriscillaLydiaSellon Tue 13-Nov-12 18:34:31

Thanks. I am sure there are some Eton experts lurking on MN!

(I think you're quite right about the New Foundation Scholarships, btw...)

happygardening Tue 13-Nov-12 18:53:11

OP colleger is the one to speak to she has very recent experience of the scholarship and a DS recently started there I think she will give you an honest appraisal of both the requirements for the scholarship and Eton it's self. All schools present themselves very well on open days on their websites etc but the reality maybe different not necessarily bad just not what you and most importantly your DS imagined.

dapplegrey Tue 13-Nov-12 19:03:28

Best of luck to your ds, Priscilla - I hope he gets a place.

PriscillaLydiaSellon Tue 13-Nov-12 21:50:44

Thank you, dapplegrey.

Happygardening - we have always made a point of visiting schools not on their open days. You get a much better idea of what they're really like that way. All our choices thus far have been on gut instinct (based on visiting during ordinary days, and observing the pupils generally around and about), and we have not been wrong yet...

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