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(25 Posts)
Falsetto Sat 15-Nov-14 13:04:11

Dear All

...Falsetto makes the long-awaited debut on these esteemed MN pages!

DS has a firm place at WinColl (2015) and is very very keen to go. His second and third choice schools are WinColl've guessed it...WinColl. He is just not keen on anywhere else. DS just loves Winchester College and his House, got on brilliantly with the fabulous HM too at the assessments etc. So now, DS has the May 2015 Entrance Exams (he is not taking Election) to look forward to. With no Plan B, this is "Do or Die" for DS since there is no school for him if he fails his May 2015 Entrance Exams. Yes, he is bright but just hopeless at Latin and French and is bound to fail these papers. Guaranteed. Tutors are not an option, he would literally die of boredom, and we want the final year at Prep School to be happy, not for him to be miserably hothoused into oblivion.

Will DS be allowed into WinColl with great English, Maths and Science and absolutely terrible French and Latin? Scared to call up the HM or Registrar and ask so I am resorting to MN for some wonderful counsel!

Advice so much appreciated. Thanks so very much.

Falsetto leaves the stage...

WorkingItOutAsIGo Sat 15-Nov-14 13:15:09

Welcome to these exciting pages!

Sorry to say I suspect your desire for him to have a happy year 8 may not be at all realistic. When DS1 did CE we reckoned he did 400 hours extra revision at home that year on top of school homework in order to ensure he passed his CE for a similarly academic school. It didn't wreck his year I promise, nor was it hothousing, it was just what needed to be done for him to get to the school of his dreams.

If your DS is bright it won't be that hard!

Falsetto Sat 15-Nov-14 14:36:39

Thank you, WorkingItOutAsIGo - I needed to hear that. Now to pass that message on to poor DS!

Much appreciated - please accept this falsetto as a token of my appreciation of your counsel (Handel's Julius Caesar)!

happygardening Sat 15-Nov-14 15:37:29

Hi welcome to the education section. DS2 is in the L6th at Win Coll like you we had no plan B as we'd turned down the place at SPS.
First question why isn't your prep school preparing him? If they're not then you'll have to get a tutor(s) and if he's that desperate to go there he'll have to grow up and get on with it even if he does "die of boredom" end of story. Win Coll is about hard work from the moment you walk in the door, this is not a school for those who want to have a jolly time and when the hit the L6th the work load double at the very least the Pre U is a very significant jump from IGCSE.
The good news is that few fail and I understand that they are more lenient about "failing" Latin and French than they would be about "failing" say math or. English, more and more come from outside of the UK and are not overly competent and either Latin or French.

FlyingFortress Sat 15-Nov-14 15:40:00

Latin is compulsory for him at Win Coll. Do you want him to be behind at the start?

If his attitude to these two subjects is that he is unwilling to improve in them over the next 6 months then I think that you need to seriously rethink your senior school choice grin. Much of Latin at this stage is decoding so if he is a good mathematician then it shouldn't be too challenging to scrape a pass?

Falsetto Sat 15-Nov-14 16:03:23

happygardening - many thanks for the kind welcome. DS tries hard and his prep school is trying hard but sadly he just can't do the Latin and French to the high standard required of WinColl. One look at the Entrance Exams made that clear. Realistically, he has no hope of doing well in these papers. No Plan B for him but I would say that all your advice is very helpful. DS is an English, maths and science boy, not a language one. We will see how to engage DS's mind over the Christmas and Easter holidays. Not hopeful though; sad as DS loves the idea of going to WinColl and we would hate for him to fail to get into such a great school. He must earn his place though and we always encourage DS to work hard!

FlyingFortress - thank you for your honesty. I don't think that DS particularly cares much if he is in the bottom set for Latin and French (we wish that he would care!). Not the right attitude I know, he is happy if he gets a place at WinColl (needs more ambition!). Mind you, he is getting good grades in French and Latin at prep school, just not up to the impeccable standards of WinColl. Difficult being a parent of a teenage DS...

Thanks for your advice.

AgnesGrey Sat 15-Nov-14 16:07:11


First "400 hours extra revision" shock . Just before you break that news to your DS just to say my DS is at Win Coll and did nothing like that.

Agree very much with HG. My thoughts are (and sorry if HG if I repeating some of what you said )
If his prep school have encouraged his application and know the Win Coll process they should know whether he will genuinely struggle on those papers. Win Coll are very supportive of teachers who phone for advice in preparing boys for the exam. You should get his Latin and French teachers to give a realistic idea of his ability against that paper and if he is going to struggle , and he wants to go so badly then I am afraid that I agree he will need to put in some extra and focussed work. The Win Coll exam is not exactly like CE anyway so his teachers should be gearing up to focussing on this anyway. This can be done without ruining his year , surely. Boys can have a jolly time at Winchester (pace HG) but, be in no doubt, HG is right when she says they are expected to work hard as well. I suspect you meant the die of boredom comment tongue in cheek , but he won't help himself at Win Coll if he can't work hard and apply himself to the subjects which come less easily.

The good news is that as I understand it you don't need straight As in the entrance exam to get in , but if you and his school genuinely think that without extra work he would fail those papers, if it were me , I would be feeling a little uncomfortable and be looking to see what could be done for him to improve. If he wants to go , he'll do the work.

We didn't have a Plan B either - that is very common , if uncomfortable.

Best of luck

AgnesGrey Sat 15-Nov-14 16:09:00

Sorry x post

Falsetto Sat 15-Nov-14 16:09:52

Dear happygardening and FlyingFortress:

A falsetto to thank you for your time and help....

Handel's Faramondo...great countertenor...

happygardening Sat 15-Nov-14 16:20:22

He will have too keep up French and Latin till he's sat his IGCSE in them and the school currently wants 6 A's min at IGCSE to be allowed into the 6th form. They only do 9 IGCSE's, there is no Eng Lit or History at IGCSE or drama ICT or similar, so choices are limited, nearly all DS2's friend if not all have also picked up another MFL on top of French in fact the time tabling has recently changed partly to make it even easier to do three MFL's!
The boys do have a great time but the academic side is very serious and takes priority over everything else as the boys were reminded by Dr T recently.

Falsetto Sat 15-Nov-14 16:21:16

Thanks so much AgnesGrey

DS is a hard worker and will certainly make a massive effort at the languages. Perhaps he will focus on Latin and French the most as the English, maths and science are pretty easy for him - it helps that he is fascinated by these more analytical subjects.

In short, we were all very impressed with WinColl; we quite see why it is so popular. Just so hope that DS gets in and makes good his firm place.

Please accept this Handel aria in gratitude:

From the Orotorio Jeptha...

Again, much obliged.

Falsetto Sat 15-Nov-14 16:26:00

happygardening, thank you.

DS is keen to learn Russian so we got some Russian books and CDs for him to get him going. He seemed to like that idea a lot. Can DS start Russian in his first year there?

Also, how much longer will Headmaster be there?

Any ideas please?

Thanks again.

happygardening Sat 15-Nov-14 17:34:12

Yes Russian is offered from the first year, well at least it was when my DS started Im sure it hasn't changed. The options just over three years ago were one choice from Spanish, Ancient Greek, German and Mandarin and then you had to choose one or maybe it was two from I think from Art, Music, DT and Russian and then choose one at the end of the first year, it all seems such a long time ago. As I said with the newly introduced time table things might be different now. My DS was asked to choose when he got the confirmed place after sitting the entrance exam, you don't get a chance to try all and then decide. Your first choice wasn't guaranteed either and as all Win Coll boys and parents know the very obvious choices/routes are frequently not those chosen/allocated by the school!
Dr Townsend was meant to retire at the end if this academic year but the boys have been told he stills feels he has lots to do so is staying on, no one I've spoken to knows for how long. The boys have virtually nothing yo do with him, my DS met him once when he started and rarely sees him. His HM is the most significant figure and he see's the deputy head around the school frequently who he says is always very kind and speaks to him.

summerends Sat 15-Nov-14 17:45:46

Falsetto you do sound very similar to a previous poster this year, maybe there are more than one parent underestimating their DS' potential with regards the Winchester 2015 entrance exam and have a msuical bent. The others have said it all really If your DS is getting good grades in French and Latin at his prep school and wants to learn Russian then he has sufficient linguistic skills to do fine even if not relative to his other subjects. In my DS's old prep school which has a regular reasonably large entry to Winchester and a number doing Election, the boarders did no more than 4-5 hours of prep a week and pupils were advised to do some revision over Christmas and 3 hours of revision per day at Easter. There will always be parents who are anxious about their DS's chances and push them to do a lot more and probably some of the parents who get tutors for the same reason but I honestly think that was not the norm even for those doing and successful at the Election and Eton scholarships. As I have said before, too much preparation and hard work can mean that a boy sits back and is less enthusiastic for the learning and work once they get there so you need some longterm perspective. I am sure from what you say that your DS already has a good work ethic installed in him.
Russian is started in the first year for those who want to do it. The rumours are that the head will be there another year with the present head of music taking over the position of second in command.

Falsetto Sat 15-Nov-14 19:05:31

Dear happygardening and summerends. Thanks for the advice; it is tempting to be concerned when there is no Plan B in play and when the Entrance Exams seem to be of such high standard (certainly tougher than CE). Failure in May 2015 will involve difficulties for DS in various ways and no doubt all parents, presumably around 300 of us, are hoping that things work out for the prospective entrants. DS has a great work ethic and loves prep school, he is just not the best at languages although his interest in Russian is pleasing.

Great that Mr W might end up as 2i/c if I understand you correctly summerends.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend.

happygardening Sat 15-Nov-14 19:18:22

300 parents? I take you mean a grand total of 300 mums and dads. There are approximately 135 boys in each year, 14 sit the election the rest the entrance exam.
The year my DS sat it 2011 we were told that each yr 5-6 boys sit the entrance exam who don't have a place in a house on the off chance they do significantly better than boys who does have a place in a house and therefore take their place. But the housemaster will fight hard to keep the boys they've personally chosen rather than take one they don't know. Every year some do bad enough to loose their place but I understand that this only happens to two or three.
A poor showing in Latin and French could mean I suppose that the school thinks that your DS is not a natural linguist and therefore won't let him do a Russian which I'm assuming is harder that Spanish (which is apparently over subscribed) or German but as I've said I'm not sure decisions taken by the school are always that logical!

happygardening Sat 15-Nov-14 19:19:55

I didn't even know the current second in command Mr Wyke is retiring (I guess). Parents aren't generally kept in the loop about this kind of thing.

summerends Sat 15-Nov-14 19:34:50

You can take it with a pinch of salt HG until it is made official but WC have definitely been 'auditioning ' some candidates for head of music post.

Thereshallbeaspirin Sun 16-Nov-14 10:28:17

My DS is dyslexic so I get the linguistic difficulty with MFL - DS had to switch to Spanish instead of French. But I would however ask yourself why your DS is struggling with Latin? It's more maths than linguistics at prep level and he should be doing fine if he's got a maths mind. That would be the area I would focus on and would possibly consider getting a tutor for, because it can be taught 'mathematically'. It would be far easier to explain away a poor showing in French than in French and Latin.

byhisgrace01 Thu 23-Apr-15 13:19:55

Happygardening , i have applied to Winchester College for 2018 entry, please i need to ask some questions regarding houses(I really like your detailed responses ), please can i pm you?

VentaBelgarum Mon 10-Oct-16 10:35:29

"" Heureux qui, comme Ulysse, a fait un beau voyage,
(..) ,
Et puis est rentré au Collège , plein d'usage et raison,
vivre cinq années bien occupées et prometeusses .""
Based upon Joachim de Bellay, because it is quit undertaking
and hard work to get into Winchester, and I most admit as a father
and also speaking for my son, it feels like ' home coming ' !
So we passed the " Itchen without an itch " but it took as a Non Native,
North European boy, some extra work . This is my first entry to this website
and the Winchester-thread specific, and I would like to thank HappyGardening,
for all his good advice ( you could really take his opinion to the local Natwest).
Have a nice day, and all the best for the Winchester Boys ...

SuperPug Tue 11-Oct-16 17:31:54

From a teaching rather than parent perspective, the general school environment found in schools such as Winchester and others (I would rather not state ones I previously taught in) is extremely pressurised. Fantastic opportunities but an incredible amount of work and extra curricular activities. If you're struggling with a subject, you can expect a significant amount of support and/or to be flagged up as a academic concern. For some pupils, later on, this may result in politely being asked to look elsewhere for Sixth Form places. This is from my experience, teaching at a highly academic school in London. You really need to be of a pretty decent standard in every subject. I think that a number of parents have pointed this out. If your son is set on going there, he needs to do the preparation although I'm sure he is better than he thinks he is and will get through - best of luck.

Riversiderunner Tue 11-Oct-16 17:52:46

Have I been drinking or is Venta Belgarum on one?

(I have been drinking)

MrsBernardBlack Tue 11-Oct-16 18:49:50

Venta Belgarum has resurrected at least three other zombie Win Coll threads, and posted the same, rather weird, ramblings confused.

SuperPug Tue 11-Oct-16 19:03:01

Hmmm... apologies, my post isn't relevant here in that case, didn't look at the above dates.

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