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Entrance to St Pauls/ Westminster / Eton

(79 Posts)
MGJO Tue 05-Jun-12 05:11:52

What is the best way to check if my son has the academic skills to have a chance at getting into these schools? To what extent is a strong result in the entrance exam critical to getting in? Do you have children at these schools, and what feedback do you have on the admissions process and how to maximise the chance of acceptance? My son is in year 4 now.

nokissymum Tue 05-Jun-12 09:11:46

For Eton, your first port of call would be your prep school. Headmasters are very good at advising on suitability of child to school. He or she would also be able to answer your second question on how critical a strong CE result is to enter said school.

In the meantime i'd look at your preferred school websites, most of them state quite clearly what the admissions criteria is. Don't forget some of these schools also rely quite heavily on performance at "pre test" stage (this is at least two years BEFORE common entrance.

In any case all 3 schools are pretty heavy on academics, and definitely 3 of the most selective schools. Confidence plays a bit part, as does general knowledge about current affairs etc.

Good luck.

IndridCold Tue 05-Jun-12 11:21:45

I agree with nokissymum that your current Headmaster is the best place to start, and now is quite a good time to have a discussion about next schools (in terms of your DS's age). We had a long meeting with our DS's Head, and he raised lots of points we would need to consider - eg how committed we were to full boarding, how far away the school is (for going to watch matches and plays etc), mixed or co-ed and many other factors that you may not have thought about yet.

It is also worth looking at the websites for the schools in question, there is quite a lot of info on there about the schools and their admissions processes.

I only know about entrance to Eton; you have to register your son before he is 10 1/2 (I think) and he will be called for assessment when he is around 11. Places are offered on the basis of their perfomance in the assessment, which is made up of a computer test, and interview with a Master and a report from the school. The places are conditional on passing CE with a good grade too.

I wish you luck in your search, and hope you find the best school for your DS!

ClaireBunting Tue 05-Jun-12 17:06:48

Get your son to do some Bond Assessment papers for his age and see how well he does on them. If he aces them, he should have a good chance on public school pre-tests.

Colleger Tue 05-Jun-12 21:32:14

Eton is not looking purely for academics and many boys fail to get in but get offers from Westminster and St Paul's. Eton are so oversubscribed that, on the whole, a child needs to be a very bright all-rounder.

marriedinwhite Tue 05-Jun-12 21:53:50

If your son is at a prep school the head will advise. If he is at a state school, I would say he needs to be in the top two or three in the class, across the board, to stand a chance.

happygardening Wed 06-Jun-12 08:59:19

Agree with others what does your prep school head say? Mind you does your prep school have a recent history of sending boys to these three. I only know about Eton and St Pauls both are very over subscribed St Paul's has quite an early cut off for registration and 50% of the places have already gone to Collet Court it's CE mark is higher 70% in all papers. Eton is much bigger and has 200+

happygardening Wed 06-Jun-12 10:22:12

Woops Somehow managed to only post half of what I wrote! Eton is much bigger and the CE mark is 65% but I've heard on the grapevine that this is increasing to 70% although this might be wrong!
I think colleger is right Eton are looking for bright all rounders three super bright but off the wall types that we know and definitely not all rounders did not get offered places.
There is a big difference St Pauls and Eton the most obvious being the boarding and the uniform but other differences too. I loved St Paul's and hated Eton although I know it's a good school and has lots of very happy parents.

Colleger Wed 06-Jun-12 14:30:33

You're being very restrained HG! wink

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Wed 06-Jun-12 16:47:30

My understanding for St Paul's and Westminster is if you don't get 70% on all the papers you are at risk of being failed so its quite tough (i.e. your 83% in Maths might not be enough to offset a 63% in English).

The Common Entrance Syllabus will give you an idea

Both St P and W require the level 3 Maths paper

happygardening Wed 06-Jun-12 16:55:36

We were told the same thing by St Paul's they will still take you if you get 69% on one paper but not 68% because according to them anyone can get 68%!

happygardening Wed 06-Jun-12 17:07:28

I believe Latin is level 3 unless you've can give a really good reason why it shouldnt be e.g. been state primary until yr 6 not your prep school are crap at teaching Latin!

nokissymum Wed 06-Jun-12 17:47:32

Is OP still there ?

peteneras Wed 06-Jun-12 23:40:45

What has a school done to someone who has never even had a child at that school for the individual to come and tell the world that she hated that school? shock

Bloody ridiculous!

Not to mention such comments show an utter disrespect for the OP who clearly has designs to send his/her child to this school.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Thu 07-Jun-12 14:58:48

petenaras why do you get so protective? The school and its reputation is hardly going to be dented by the view of one MNetter. For some parents your beloved school is going to be be somewhere they really really don't like and for others somewhere they really really love.

I really don't think you do Eton any favours by such defensive posts (in fact it would put me off if I thought everyone involved with the school was that defensive - however, I know that isn't the case). If someone had posted that they hated St Paul's I doubt you would have leapt in with such enthusiasm.

peteneras Thu 07-Jun-12 18:20:43

Does challenging someone on some ridiculous remarks make me ‘protective’, Chaz? I merely asked a sensible question in response to an outrageous remark and till now neither you nor the poster has an answer to my question. Too true, the big ‘E’ doesn’t need me, a minute fry, or anyone else for that matter, to protect what that has stood there since medieval times and getting stronger by the day.

Yes, if someone had posted that they hated St. Paul’s, I more than likely wouldn’t have responded simply because I don’t know about St. Paul’s like I know the big ‘E’. All these negative postings only serve to deflect (intentionally or otherwise) what the OP is seeking on this thread - not very helpful.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Thu 07-Jun-12 18:31:56

If the poster in question had considered Eton for their son and then ruled it out because they hated the school then its hardly a ridiculous remark is it?

This is not the first time you have reacted strongly to any perceived criticism of Eton, it may be a great school but that doesn't make it a great school for all boys nor will all parents like it.

I am seriously considering St Paul's for my sons because it has many good points but I am well aware it has bad points too and that some parents might find it a bit of a "dog eat dog" type of school whilst others will like its "push yourself to be the best you can" approach. They are both seeing the same thing but feel very differently about what they are seeing.

I really believe that the most helpful thing for any parent considering senior schools is to get feedback on the pros and cons of each school because it is only then you can pick the best fit for your child.

Colleger Thu 07-Jun-12 18:52:35

Our decision for choosing Eton over Wetminster and Winchester was because we felt it mollycoddled the boys a bit more and pushed them into activities whereas the other schools are more liberal. I prefer the ethos of the other schools but my son needs to be pushed and he's not a self-starter. For my other son, he would get involved in everything without being guided and would suit a less conventional school. If I was to describe each school I'd say:

St Paul's : intense and competitive - need to be self-driven or pushed by a parent.
Westminster : intellectual, quirky and liberal but with a London edge.
Eton: traditional and conventional.
Winchester: as Westminster but with a more civilised feel and very university-like (Oxford College).

As a parent these views would be negative to some and positive to others.

marriedinwhite Thu 07-Jun-12 19:07:26

Colleger what about KCS?

We went rather by default in that we decided to let DS do the entrance when he was 8 to see how he got on. We hadn't done any tours, but once offered a place we had a look round with DS and he was up for it and we decided we liked it and it would suit a sporty, clever boy and boarding hadn't entered our horizon. It was also very convenient. He's in 6th form now and has loved every minute.

DH was very keen for him to go to Eton (comprehensive boy done good and he rather liked the idea of his son going there) but DS wouldn't contemplate it. We did have discussions with Winchester who were incredibly helpful but again DS wouldn't contemplate leaving.

DS has since said from time to time that he wishes we and he had thought of Westminster but I think that's because he has palled up with a couple of boys and likes them and occasionally feels he would have preferred not to do the IB. Westminster honestly just didn't occur to us.

Ultimately, I think the boy's opinion counts for as much as the parents' once one gets to the teenage years. Certainly at 13 we wouldn't have countenanced looking elsewhere.

peteneras Thu 07-Jun-12 19:12:54

Hate is a very strong and emotive word. Nobody in their right mind would ‘hate’ a school. A school is there to impart knowledge. Some do it with excellence. Some do it OK. Some do it in a bad way. But they ALL try their best to educate our kids for which we should thank them and not to ‘hate’ (it) them.

The poster in question has many times in the past given unfavourable views of the school. That’s certainly her prerogative and I have no problems with that whatsoever. But now to hate it without giving any reason(s) is pushing it a bit.

I’ve said so many times I don’t give a monkey’s who goes to this school or not. But I’ve seen many misconceptions and outrageous rumours and comments about this school and I feel I have to put things in perspective. From my postings you may perceive that I’m ‘protecting’ the school. Believe me, I’ve better things to do than that. ALL my postings are an attempt to reassure prospective parents considering this school that most unfavourable comments/rumours they hear are totally unfounded. I learnt it the hard way and this is speaking from personal experience when I came within a hair’s breadth from withdrawing my DS from this school due to frightening rumours.

marriedinwhite Thu 07-Jun-12 19:18:06

peteneras DH "hated" Putney High. Probably not in a biblical sense but in a way that made it very clear he didn't want dd to go there and didn't feel comfortable on the tour and found it overbearing, overposh and overpushy. This from the man who loved Eton and Winchester. I think you can use a strong term to explain how you feel even if it isn't quite the absolute definition.

Colleger Thu 07-Jun-12 19:19:07

I'm only looking at boarding schools so KCS would not be on our radar, nor would St Paul's but I know a number of friends whose sons go there but not KCS.

I wanted DS to go to Westminster as I felt it was a cross between Eton and Winchesterand cheaper! But he point blank refused and he was fortunate to have the choice. smile

happygardening Thu 07-Jun-12 19:43:52

In life we all have different views my DH likes what I call "serious opera" Blue Beards Castle (wince) etc I personally cant stand it. I feel a need to leave the room being a lover of more "accessible operas"; Mozart Verdi. He likes 18th century organ music again I cant stand it I like Chopin. Neither of us can necessarily explain are likes dislikes its just how we are. Neither one of us is a better person or of course right. More importantly neither of us feel insecure in our choices so thus have no need to defend them.
My DH and I acknowledge our different tastes and most importantly respect them, in my above posting I believe when I said "I loved St Paul's and hated Eton although I know it's a good school and has lots of very happy parents" I was also acknowledging peoples differing views including peternas's and respecting them!
Just to add to collegers comment; "St Paul's : intense and competitive - need to be self-driven or pushed by a parent." IME St Pauls is a 21 century school it has done away with meaningless ritual, ridiculous uniform and does what it says on the can provides and outstanding education for 21st century boys.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Thu 07-Jun-12 19:48:06

I'd have to say that I sometimes see flashes of quirkiness in DS1 which makes me think Westminster may be the better school for him. Its difficult to know what's best sometimes.

I know someone who sent their son to Harrow because he felt he would be better in a slightly less pressured environment where he could be nearer the top of the class than in the middle or lower third. He was right and his son got very good results.

peteneras I understand that you don't want people to rule out Eton just because of misconceptions about the place but the reality is that some people will go to look at it and just not like it, that is a perfectly valid point of view. If someone rules out a school on trivial grounds, for example, because they don't like the PM, Deputy PM or Chancellor (that's all three schools covered!) then I would question their decision.

happygardening Thu 07-Jun-12 20:02:04

?PM I know I'm tired tonight and DH on annual leave so a little too much organ music and inaccessible operas playing for my taste; it's hard to hide in the garden all day in the pissing rain but whats a PM?

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