Advanced search

If Winchester College don't accept DS1 what about Charterhouse?

(224 Posts)
yotty Mon 14-Mar-11 19:36:17

Probably going to apply to Winchester for DS1. If he does not get offered a place would Charterhouse be an alternative? He is bright, quirky and likes drama and music, but not good at sport or art. He would have to be a full boarder as we live a short plane ride away. I'm worried that the boys will all be busy playing sport or going home at the weekend. Should I be concerned or am I just being neurotic?

FloreatEtonia Wed 16-Mar-11 12:59:52

Bedales!!! No!

ZZZenAgain Wed 16-Mar-11 13:02:24

I don't even have a son so I don't know what I am even doing on this thread.... why is bedales so awful, tell me, I like the sound of it...

grovel Wed 16-Mar-11 13:05:16

It's tricky, propatria. Our DS went to Eton and loved it (left in 2009) but we were not sure until he was almost 13 - after he had taken the test at 11 - that it was going to be right for him. Our fallback was Canford - country campus, gentler approach to life, more cocoa with the housemaster's wife etc but still quite capable of preparing pupils for Oxbridge.

Kingsroadie Wed 16-Mar-11 13:12:25

Well your son won't spend all weekend by himself at school as most boarding schools have Saturday morning school and games in the afternoon (which he would have to do sporty or not, but obviously that is only an hour or so and matches against other schools would take the whole afternoon). This was the set up at my school anyway.

There were quite a few boarders who had parents living abroad and some who chose to stay for weekends anyway. Your son could also go and stay with another boy for the weekend, assuming, like my school that is allowed with the relevant parental permissions etc (God, making sure both sets of parents phoned up my housemistress was one of the stresses of my youth!).

Anyway, I am sure they won't all be playing sport all weekend so your son won't be left alone! And there will be drama and music at the weekend too (plays to rehearse, concerts etc).

My school was mixed but the boys played both Winchester and Charterhouse and I have lots of friends who went to Winchester. They are fairly different schools I think and all the ones who went to Winchester are extremely bright. (and often slightly eccentric but great fun!). I would also say consider Eaton/Harrow. Assuming you don't want mixed? (Have just properly read the thread and most of this has been said but too late as have typed it all!)

Kingsroadie Wed 16-Mar-11 14:01:05

PS ZZZen - I know someone who went to Bedales and I thought it was all fairly wishy washy hippy call your masters by their first names, let's talk about how being caught smoking makes you feeeeel, and kids make the rules/punishments etc? Although not 100% as to how far it actually goes!

propatria Wed 16-Mar-11 14:02:59

I said Bedales as it seems to be the default post whatever school is mentioned,Winchester is actually Ithink the trickiest to come up with an either or,but Idont really see for example Wellington or Bryanston as viable alternatives(based on the child being right for Winchester) its horses for courses and some people it seems just fire off the first name that comes into the head.
Canford is an odd one,Ireally dont get why people get so excited about it, fine but not really that diff than several other schools
bedales is fine for a very specific type of child and parents its just not us or I would say a sutable alternative to Winchester.
Now dont get me onto sorry cant even say it..

grovel Wed 16-Mar-11 14:24:36

propatria, do we know how old OP's DS is? It's fine to aim for Winchester or Eton when a child is 8 or 9 but a lot can happen before he hits 13 (academically and in terms of character development). So if a son at 12 turns out not to "right for Winchester" it seems sensible not to have a Winchester "lookalike" as fallback.

harvalp Wed 16-Mar-11 15:02:00

"I used to work for a Wykehamist who is just the loveliest person and still a close friend. "

I used to have a Wykamist working with me and while on the surface very pleasant, he was actually the most two faced individual I have ever met. But then one mustn't generalise...

harvalp Wed 16-Mar-11 15:11:24

Whoops, Wykehamist...

FloreatEtonia Wed 16-Mar-11 15:20:31

For years I thought DS was a Wykemist through and through and so did his Headmaster who tried to dissuade us from applying to Eton. We did apply and he got in so although we still weren't sure we had to assume that Eton knew how our child would develop at 13 based on what they saw at 11. Well, they were right. One year before entry he developed his character and I can now see that he would have bored of Winchester - not academically but in terms of the spark and buzz (or lack of) of the place. No bright child could ever be bored at Eton, there is just far too much on offer.

I am also of the opinion that if one is going to pay these shocking fees then it may as well be at the best schools, assumming the school is right for the child.

grovel Wed 16-Mar-11 15:26:08

Floreat, why the i?

peteneras Wed 16-Mar-11 15:50:26

I would be curious to go and see Eton to compare it to the other schools we are considering, unfortunately my DH will not even consider it so there is little point. I think Winchester appeals to him because he thinks DS would really enjoy the curriculum and the location is perfect for our family in the UK. I don't know anybody who has gone to visit Eton and Winchester recently so it is difficult to judge. DS's headmaster is definitely steering us towards Winchester and yet he is steering others towards Eton so I feel we are on the right track. Just looking for a back up.

Many points here. Disregarding distance as I don’t know where your family live, why will your DH not consider Eton? I’m quite comfortable in saying he must have a very badly misguided concept of the school. Please remember Eton today is a far cry from Eton since the 2nd World War never mind about Gladstone’s Eton of the Victorian era. Another pointer how this great school moves ahead with the time.

Next, it may be inconvenient for you to visit the school but let somebody who knows something about British education who had recently visited for the first time relate to you her story.

But I would still strongly advise you go look for yourselves and take DS along. If you can afford the time, visit the other two schools too. There are parents about who know of nothing but only one School and they don’t need to look anywhere else. What makes parents pack their sons off to Eton?

Although I agree that Winchester is very academic, I’m not for one instance suggesting that Eton is not. The Windsor School have more than enough praises bestowed upon it in all avenues and it would be courteous to let Winchester take the academic front. But should push comes to shove, then this Financial Times 2010 Top 1000 Schools (pg 4 - ranking 9/10) would suggest Winchester would not be holding that academic crown much longer.

But hey, let's not dilly-dally here; your son is in Yr 5 and there is an absolutely firm date to beat should you decide Eton. No boys over 10 years & 6 months will ever be registered unless through scholarships. Final point to remember is that there's no guarantee of acceptance - there are more than 800 boys chasing after 250 odd places! Good luck!

yotty Wed 16-Mar-11 16:28:56

I think that Winchester is a priority for my DH because geographically it is perfect, both in terms of distance from both sets of grandparents and other family members and for our DS to travel to school by himself. He can fly into Southampton airport, jump on the train and be in his boarding house after a 10 minute journey. Also DH likes the concept of 'Div' which he thinks DS would love. DH went to a liberal public school with no school uniform and struggles with the Eton uniform and quite likes the fact that when we looked round Winchester the boys clearly looked suitably dishevelled for teenage boys. DH will avoid wearing a suit at all costs now!
Although it may sound ridiculous, I think it can sometimes be a disadvantage coming from such a well known public school. The old Etonians I know definitely keep it under their hat until they know you well. Unfortunately, others will pigeon hole you as posh if you went to Eton, whereas you are pigeon holed as clever and quirky if you went to Winchester assuming people have heard of it. If my DS has to be pigeon holed I would rather my son was in the later category.

grovel Wed 16-Mar-11 16:50:40

Yotty, as I said above, I think Winchester is a great choice if you, your DH, your DS and his headmaster all think so. Both of my brothers were there and were happy (and are now successful).
A couple of points about your post above. My DS and his friends would have preferred to have had no uniform but if they had to wear one "it might as well be distinctive and wind people up. We don't want to look like old people in blazers or tweed jackets".
Eton have "divs" as well.
You're right that some recent Etonians (most?) play down where they went to school. On the other hand people seem to find them (irrationally) fascinating when they find out.

yotty Wed 16-Mar-11 18:27:52

Thanks for all your input, but I think we are going slightly off the point. I can't get DH interested in Eton, so you can all tell me how marvellous it is, but he is not budging. I have already gone to look at King's Canterbury against his wishes, which incidentally I thought ticked all the boxes but he thinks is too far into Kent to be sensible (ie. 3 hour drive between Granny and school). So that leaves me with Charterhouse or Canford. Have visited canford which I thought was a really nice, safe choice, but one could say a bit too safe and possibly boring, although when you consider their intake they get very good results so I would like to think the kids must have a pretty good work ethic. However, I know the school empties out at the weekend which seems a shame. Not sure where to go from here.

FloreatEtonia Wed 16-Mar-11 18:49:33

Based on entry procedures you will have the outcome of Win Coll before you even need to register with any others. Wouldn't touch Canford with a barge pole. Sherborne would be a better option.

StillSquiffy Wed 16-Mar-11 18:52:54

I'm another person who has found that old Etonians have always been unfailingly pleasant, interesting and charming (and seemingly class-blind), and that most of their peers from other schools have been twats in comparison.

There's something about Eton that seems to turn out rounded adults, not adolescents.

<Except current cabinet members from Eton of course. They're still twats>

grovel Wed 16-Mar-11 18:54:41

OK, my "problem" with Charterhouse is that our friends (a sample of just one couple with a DS there) think it is full of people with more money than manners. And, as Winchester says, Manners Makyth Man.

southeastastra Wed 16-Mar-11 18:55:30

etonians are taught to behave like that, it's disingenuous and kind of creepy

Kingsroadie Wed 16-Mar-11 19:16:29

If you are willing to consider Canford (ie mixed), have you thought of Sevenoaks? That is in Kent but not deepest Kent like Canterbury - not sure where you are based though...

yotty Wed 16-Mar-11 20:23:55

Yes, I have considered Canford. I like it. It seems a lovely rounded and safe place to send a child to school. However, I would say that my DS is a bit quirky and therefore, I worry that I am trying to force a square peg into a round hole. He loves having conversations with people (preferably adults) about things he has read or current affairs. Would any of his peers be interested at Canford, sevenoaks, or Charterhouse?
I visited Sevenoaks last summer on a Friday afternoon. An enormous cavalcade of cars was leaving the campus at 4pm. It made me feel like it was more of a day school with boarders, than the other way around, which is an issue in our circumstances. Otherwise I like the IB and the internationalism. You are certainly buying into something different there, which we like.

Kingsroadie Wed 16-Mar-11 20:31:49

One my my best friends went there - she is lovely, v clever, funny, outgoing etc. I do think it may be slightly more trad than some. I actually went to Sevenoaks. It is 1/3 boarding 2/3 day - well, it was when I went there. But the boarders are rather like the hub of the school - for some reason the day pupils always wanted to hang around til supper or even til prep at 7. Lots of after school stuff too so lots of pupils around. It is highly selective and has become even more competitive since I went there (left 10 years ago). The current headmistress has really put a lot of effort into re vamping the school and the sports centre and performing arts centres are fab (as you probably will have seen). There were lots of musical and drama people as well as the sporty ones and some rather eccentric ones too. I would have thought your son, if you think he is suited to Winchester, would be more suited to somewhere like Sevenoaks than Canford. But of course this is just my opinion and I don't know your son!

It is also pretty international (although less so until 6th form), and lots of my boarder friends also had parents living abroad like me. Therefore lots of us were around at weekends and we could also go to stay with day pupils if we wanted. So although only approx 1/3 boarders they often have parents living abroad so most hang around at weekends - perhaps more so than the more English schools. And of course the IB is very good.

stleger Wed 16-Mar-11 20:32:11

(I only looked to begin with as I thought it would be a fun threadblush. I did know someone who went to Stowe... That aside, I was always led to believe that names were put down at birth for all 'these' schools - so if a child doesn't get a place at one school, is there a hope of finding one elsewhere?

happygardening Thu 17-Mar-11 09:08:45

Its all down to personal preference we looked at Eton and I wouldn't send the dog there but we've got plenty of friends with children there and in fairness I've never heard a bad word about it. The general consensus from thoses in the know at my sons prep school is that Winchester is for the more intellectual child not just an academic child. Plenty of parents I spoke to felt that their son who are now at Eton and academic would not have been happy at Winchester - parents often say - "not that clever". We had no viable alternative if my DS has not got a place at Winchester or St Pauls. But as someone has already pointed out if you dont get Winchster you've got another two years to find an alternative and thats how we veiwed it. I looked at Tonbridge head came from St Paul's (where my husband was) and really liked it. Its very similar to St Pauls but I admit there are not that many full boarders and we were too far for my son to come home at weekends but there are good train links if you happen to live in the right place. The other schools that boys who dont make it into Winchester/Eton go to at my sons prep school are Oundle and Marlborough.

larrygrylls Thu 17-Mar-11 09:35:06

Absolutely hate Eton with a passion. My two observations (admittedly from 20+ years ago).

Went to play them at tennis when I was at school (academic London private day school). Our tea: orange juice and dry cheap biscuits, served at one end of the room. Their tea: full on cream tea. Great hospitality!

About 5 years later at Cambridge Uni. Everyone mixes regardless of money and background excepy Old Etonians. They drank together and brayed and laughed together.

There were plenty of Wykehamists, Westminster boys and even a member of royalty at college, none of whom joined in with their blatant snobbery. I am not alone in making this observation re Eton. Many people whom I have spoken to since have concurred.

If it has changed 180 degrees, it might be worth considering. Otherwise, seriously, leave Eton well alone if you want your child to be able to interact with anyone not from Eton.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now