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Eton visit

(38 Posts)
difficultpickle Mon 28-Oct-13 21:33:28

We attended today in the hopeful anticipation that this will be the right school for ds. Tour was good, our guide was informative and we saw lots of lovely buildings. We had a film and a talk at the end by the Admissions tutor which was informative and interesting.

During our tour we saw no classrooms, no science labs, no language labs, one teacher (in the DT room), no pupils (it is not half term). The latter was explained because the boys have an afternoon break in lessons until 4.30pm (our visit was 2pm to 5pm). We had a nice cup of tea at the end and there was one current pupil to talk to probably about 100 parents.

Is that a normal tour or were we just unlucky? I find it impossible to form a view of a school without having the opportunity to talk to teachers and pupils. All the schools we have visited this term have fab facilities so what will distinguish our choice will be what attending the school is actually like. We can only get that from meeting people who live and work there.

Interestingly most of the other people on the tour were from overseas although at the end of the tour we met up with other parents whose boys were attending today's assessment and they all seemed to be UK based.

grovel Sat 02-Nov-13 17:13:09

My DH went to Radley. My DS went to Eton.

1805 Sat 02-Nov-13 18:05:20

nice to know that someone who went to Radley can afford the fees for Eton. grin

Chottie Sat 02-Nov-13 18:10:57

Regarding meeting pupils, at my DC school, the boys meeting and greeting parents were carefully selected.

peteneras Sat 02-Nov-13 20:41:08

And which one did you go to grovel, Cheltenham Ladies’ or Wycombe Abbey? grin

summerends Sat 02-Nov-13 21:09:13

Bisjo, if only because it is so close to you and well funded for bursaries it is worth keeping Eton on your short list. You can make a more informed decision after the admissions process and subsequent visits. Personally I think the main problem with Eton won't be pastoral care or teaching since it must be a large well run and well financed school but the social label after. Charming with a big C can be regarded as a veneer for arrogance in a proportion of Eton boys. Radley is often kept as an alternative choice, however getting a Warden's list place means committing to Radley as first choice in the December of year 7. Radley has excellent academic teachers and has a very good reputation for singing and musical theatre.

Amber2 Sun 03-Nov-13 00:39:09

summerends....I think about the label too...Eton's an amazing school with great teaching and facilities, ...but I imagine the social label is something an OE may or may not want to reveal when he meets people depending on the circumstances ...as they say once an OE...always an OE...

I don't think there's quite another school that carries the sort of preconceived notions among the public at large as Eton does.

And if an OE is not enormously wealthy or aristocratic, I wonder if that makes it worse in a way ...i mean to carry the OE tag and the weight of preconceptions that goes with it....including the reputation of arrogance or entitlement (which is hard to dispel in the public's mind no matter how charmingly one behaves or however many clever boys are on bursaries there or however much work Eton does to outreach to the community) .

I speak as one of the "squeezed middle" who would be a first time buyer of the brand Eton and would be making sacrifices to send DS there as make too much to qualify for a bursary, While it costs pretty similar to most good boarding schools ...if DS went there, I do wonder about the pros and cons of the Eton label being the first thing folk would judge him by at uni and afterwards as if it defined him or his politics or outlook above anything else.

summerends Sun 03-Nov-13 04:44:32

Poor old Eton; it has managed to make itself as good a school as possible (and, as you say Amber, no more expensive than other boarding schools) and its selection procedure is as fair as possible to pick bright teachable boys with get up and go, including some from families that could not normally access it financially. Most boys there have an amazing time by all accounts, not surprisingly with all the opportunities and the large number of peers to mix with. However, to counterbalance that there remains the label of OE and the unfortunate propensity of some of their number to mistake privileged education for inner superiority (not always successfully camouflaged by their charm), thus perpetuating the label. Luckily Eton has grown to such a large school that the sheer volume of its output may provide increasing safety in numbers when penetrating the wider world wink.

difficultpickle Sun 03-Nov-13 09:24:02

I'm not worried at all by the OE tag. If ds went there I think he would get a good education but I doubt he'd also get a personality transplant. The benefits will outweigh the negatives imo and I'm prepared to put up with giving him the OE label if it's the right school for him.

SthingMustBeScaringThemAway Sun 03-Nov-13 10:08:43

Bisjo you put that so well. (BTW I think you were a bit unlucky.)

Could you please, please elaborate on why you preferred the Radley visit?

difficultpickle Sun 03-Nov-13 10:54:40

The Radley visit just felt more engaging. We met the Registrar, we were shown around the school by two pupils and we had a meeting after our tour with the Academic Director. It just felt as if Radley were genuinely interested at the prospect of ds coming to their school.

The Eton tour was lovely but it was a tour it wasn't a school visit. I know little more about Eton today than I did before we visited. If Eton had been our first school visit I wouldn't actually bother visiting any schools as I'd figure I'd get more information from the prospectus.

The only interesting part of the day was the talk from the Admissions tutor and some of the facts and figures he imparted about the admissions process.

Interestingly a couple of boys on our tour were sitting the pre-test later in the week and the tour was their first visit to Eton. It felt as if we were being sold a brand rather than a school. Obviously some people are happy to buy into the brand without actually really knowing much about it. Clearly those two families (and maybe some others on the tour that we didn't speak to) are. For me that isn't enough.

SthingMustBeScaringThemAway Sun 03-Nov-13 11:08:35

I guess there might be an element of separating the wheat from the chaff? So many people do only know the "brand" and might get to the tour stage purely because of that. Given the very slim chance of any particular parents boy "getting in" it may be that the non-handy-holdy nature serves to put off anyone who isn't actually serious. The Admissions tutor talk is hardly comforting!

And the truth is that most (obviously not all) serious contenders will be very much guided by their school. It may not make much difference if parents enjoy the tour or not. They're not taking pre-assessment.

summerends Sun 03-Nov-13 12:41:28

Going back to OE tag, I agree it is a minor consideration if only Eton can supply what a boy needs. However I would n't discount the risk of boys at Eton (and certain other well known schools) developing "self superiority" during their time there, it is after all a fine line between that and promoted self confidence. This is n't helped by a reputation in particular circles that if you get into Eton or certain other public schools you are a talented elite. There are a huge number of equally or more talented children in the state system. Having said all that. I'm sure parental influence can counteract all of that and the teachers will certainly try to.

difficultpickle Sun 03-Nov-13 13:00:14

I agree about being guided by the school although in ds's case they've recommended quite a broad range.

I'm state grammar school educated and some of my peers had a very superior attitude so I think you can get that anywhere. In their case it was fuelled by their parents. Fortunately for ds he doesn't have those sort of parents grin

I'm also not particularly interested in names, ie if the local comp was the best place for ds then that is where he will go. If it is Radley or Eton then the same. That opinion probably puts me in a small minority of parents looking at private schools.

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