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Applying to Eton, Harrow, and Winchester

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DeTamble Fri 27-Sep-13 14:52:56

I am considering applying to Eton, Harrow, and Winchester.

My son has not yet reached the registration cut-off dates, he has a December birthday, and is in the state system. Without making this long, he's a bit of a chameleon and would be okay in any of them. It's too late for us to go the Prep route, as I can't seem to find any schools which accept boys late and also give out the necessary bursary we would need.

Has any one got any experience about applying to those three schools? Yes, I know I can call the schools, but I want to hear from 'real' people and their experiences. Also, do people even apply to that many schools, and what happens if you get conditional places to each? Any other details? Any knowledge of the realities of coming from the state system?

Amber2 Fri 27-Sep-13 15:11:46

i am curious, DeTamble, as you say your "a chameleon and would be okay in any of them". Have you visited the said schools? I changed my impressions of two on your list after I visited. The third one I did not bother with as I did not think it would suit.

If your DS has not reached the cut off date (10.5 for Eton), also not sure why it would be too late for you to go the prep route as the above senior schools all start at 13 not 11?

abear Fri 27-Sep-13 15:20:32

I have visited Harrow and wrote it off straight away for my DS but he has just been offered a provisional place at Winchester for entry in 2015, he still has to pass the final entrance exam. I think these three schools are very different and suit different boys but am happy to tell you what I know about Winchester so far if you are interested.

Your son will probably end up in a prep for 2 years as these are 13+ schools as a state school might not cover the topics he needs for the exams. Its not unusual for boys to move to a prep in yr7 from the state sector.

happygardening Fri 27-Sep-13 15:57:27

My DS2 is at a Win Coll and boys do join yr 9 from state sector. I think like the HK Chinese boys they are let off the Latin if they haven't done it. Eton and Harrow probably do the same you need to talk to the individual schools admissions office. There is or at least there wasn't any official pass mark for the Win Coll entrance exam they don't do CE but it is possible to do badly enough to loose you provisional place. My DS knows two boys who've come from the state sector both were top of their yr group both in their respective state schools, one at a grammar, they were surprised by the academic standard and are definitely not at the top now I think they've found this a little demoralising.
All three schools are very different we liked a Win Coll and didn't like Eton and never looked Harrow as it was right out of our area. Others at both my DS's old prep and on MN loved either Eton/Harrow and didn't like Win Coll some on MN will tell you Eton is the only school you should consider. You need to look carefully at all three preferably not on a guided tour/open day which do not give a true reflection of the school and meet the boys and staff and form your own opinion. Both Eton and Harrow have more applicants per place than Win Coll who restrict the number of applicants because of the lengthy interview process, so this makes them harder to get into, but don't let this put you off but do have a back up if you only try for one or other of those two.
Win Coll is in many ways very old fashioned although in other ways very liberal. This is proper full boarding, no day boys, no coming home Sat evening, parents are kept slightly at arms distance, being a slack parent and having done 6 yrs of boarding prior to going to Win Coll I don't mind but if your not used to it it could come as a bit of a shock. My DS is really thriving there but I'm sure like all schools some don't and some parents aren't happy this is the nature of the animal. Do PM me if you want to know more.

DeTamble Fri 27-Sep-13 15:58:21


We have visited. I have a preference, and DH has a preference, and DS has a preference. He would be 'okay' in any of them, though I think he would suit one more than the others, but he may not get into that one. I said he's a chameleon because his personality is quite happy to be quiet and studious, and also perfectly happy to be brash and sporty, and he swings between them depending on which friends he is around which is why I think he would be okay, maybe not fantastic, but okay in any of them.

He's past eight, which is when preps have their main intake. I've not found a prep which has a place (and bursary of more than 50%) for a random new student in a non-intake year.

happygardening Fri 27-Sep-13 16:06:31

Just saw the thing about you needing a bursary. As far as Im aware Harrow aren't overly generous to non scholars although this may have changed. Having left prep school we are out if the loop. Eton were very recently only guaranteeing more than 50% to scholars this too might have changed check their website. According some publication we received from a Win Coll the average bursary is 60 ish % about 15% of the school receive a bursary but I've seen correspondence saying that as the demand for bursaries is increasing yr on yr and they might not be as generous as they might like to be. At a Win Coll I don't know about the other two you can apply in advance of I think even before registering but certainly before being interviewed to get a ball park figure for what they might offer you

Preps do have a bit of an intake at 11+ as some boys will leave then especially if they are going to a mixed senior school. The bursary is more problematic. I don't know where you live but there was a thread on here a while back about someone going for one of the Harrow scholarships that might be interesting. I'll see if I can find it.

DeTamble Fri 27-Sep-13 16:12:59

@abear Yes, I would love to hear anything you would like to tell me about Winchester! I had originally written of Harrow as well, but we went back a second time and revised our decision.

@ChazsBrilliantAttitude You wouldn't happen to know any which take boys at yr7 and offer up to 100% bursaries? I've seen up to 50% bursaries, but it wouldn't be enough. I know Eton does take from the state system, but they don't sit the 13+, they have to take a different exam. Harrow also takes state boys, but again, they have to sit one of the scholarship exams from what I understand, and obviously Winchester has its own exam.

@happygardening I was rather hoping you would swing by, I've seen some of your other posts about Winchester.

happygardening Fri 27-Sep-13 16:13:39

There are plenty of preps out there with places for an 8 yr old especially if you would consider boarding but bursaries unattached to scholarships of more than 50% in the prep school sector are like hens teeth. Do some boarding preps do scholarships into yr 7 or even yr 6 also if he has a provisional place at any of these although Harrow wouldn't be till year 7 you might stand a better chance of getting a bursary/scholarship into a boarding prep; looks good on their website.
Frankly I'm unconvinced anyone with a "sporty" "brash" personality would really like Win Coll sport is definitely not their number 1 priority especially team sports.

happygardening Fri 27-Sep-13 16:16:18

Harrow do that thing where they take a boy from the state sector who are going into yr 7 I think and pay the prep school fees and then his fees through Harrow. The Beckwith scholarship?? Or something similar.

happygardening Fri 27-Sep-13 16:19:46

I see you live in Uganda so your looking for boarding because otherwise Colet Court/SPS would be the obvious one to look at if you need a large bursary although completion for places into both is fierce.

The thread I was thinking of was about a 6th form scholarship but did have some info on Harrow more generally

DeTamble Fri 27-Sep-13 16:27:12

I've heard on the grapevine that the earlier you get your bursary means test in the more you're likely to get allocated the financial help you'd need. Not sure if it's true, and I'm not quite ready to ask the schools, I'm still gathering information to arm myself, and to have decent questions for them.

@ChazsBrilliantAttitude We don't live anywhere, we're overseas at the moment, but are moving back soon, and will move to anywhere if it'll help our kids get a better education.

happygardening Fri 27-Sep-13 16:30:28

Channel did this programme about boys going for the Beckwith scholarship or what ever it's called at Harrow. I thought it was a bit grim when they went for a lunch thing to meet him and thank him but the idea is good. Might still be on channel 4 or YouTube maybe.

happygardening Fri 27-Sep-13 16:36:20

Bursaries are decided in the academic year before they are given. Not sure that makes sense! If you were applying for a bursary for the academic yr 2014/2015 you apply in the academic yr 2013/2024 most have a deadline for applying and I suspect all parents are notified of the size of their bursary about the same time.
London City Boys I believe takes in yr 6 and is meant to be generous with its bursaries, ditto Whitgift and of course as I've already said if your in London Colet Court/SPS are definitely ones that should be on your short list. I'm sure CC has an intake at yr 7.

happygardening Fri 27-Sep-13 16:36:50

Meant to say channel 4.

Its just that Harrow have some bursaries limited to boys living in certain London boroughs's-charity-bursaries/

DeTamble Fri 27-Sep-13 16:59:31

@happygardening DS will not die without team sports, he enjoys them and will play if any one asks, but in no way could he be described as fanatical. He can be brash and sporty if that's what the group dynamic requires, but he's not that in general, he's just a happy kid who's willing to join in with whatever any one's doing, and if that's swotting, then he'll swot. Hmm, not sure I expressed myself the way I wanted to there, but I hope you'll understand what I mean. He likes music and singing (and dancing), but I'm not sure he's musical scholarship material, and these three schools are all great for music. He's academic enough to have a shot at getting in to any of these schools, not sure about academic scholarship though.

But anyway, getting off topic here. Supposed to be learning about state school children getting into these three schools, and other things, not learning about my son's interests and personality.

happygardening Fri 27-Sep-13 17:03:33

Speak to the individual admissions office and see what allowances they will make for state educated children all, well at least Eton and Win Coll are don't know much about Harrow, are trying to widen their access hence their bursary policy etc.

difficultpickle Fri 27-Sep-13 19:03:10

Harrow told me within the last two weeks that there are very generous bursaries for scholars and little if anything for non scholars. Not sure if it is different for non scholars from state schools.

happygardening Fri 27-Sep-13 21:33:20

I'm not surprised Harrow were not generous to non scholars when my DS was at prep and that was when bursaries seemed more readily available.

summerends Fri 27-Sep-13 23:09:25

DeTamble I am guessing from one of your posts that you might have a preference for Eton, perhaps because it accommodates the whole range of different personalities and interests that your DS might develop into. I think Harrow interview at the start of year 7 whilst with Eton and Winchester, you would know whether your son had a place by the end of year 6.
Getting such a large bursary will be the major obstacle unless of course your son has outstanding potential in one or more areas or there are a special set of circumstances particular to a type of bursary.
I would be very surprised if all those three schools did not have some flexibility for state school boys at the final entrance exam once you got to the stage of a conditional offer and a bursary offer.

happygardening Fri 27-Sep-13 23:30:25

Have you looked at Christ Hospital big on bursaries and lots come from the state sector into yr 7.

happygardening Sat 28-Sep-13 07:54:28

Or Magdalen College School in Oxford very academic and has a prep school and a senior school but no boarding. I think they offer generous bursaries.

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