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Winchester and Eton Question

(16 Posts)
alexddr Tue 14-Nov-17 15:42:08

Hello, I am wondering whether to visit and register my DS at Winchester and Eton as he is in Year 5 but we are living in Paris, for the moment, and my son's school here can't advise.

We are moving to London in September 2018 and DS will be attending an English school but by then he will be in Year 6, too late to apply to the schools above.

DS is doing ok at a very academic school here in Paris but I don't think he is at the top of his potential as he doesn't love his school (it's very strict and not super friendly, if I'm honest) and they are more than thirty in his class. He took a WISC V test last March and got 113 (81st percentile) which I think is "high average" but not "gifted".

My question is, are most boys at Winchester and Eton considered "gifted" academically or are there a fair amount of "high average" hard working kids too? I would rather my DS went to a less academic school if he is going to be struggling but don't want to pass on the opportunity of registering him if it turns out one of these schools could be right for him.

Thank you for your help! wine

Gruach Tue 14-Nov-17 16:20:55

Interesting question!

I guess it depends on what "gifted" means to you. But you also have to bear in mind that at least one of those schools (probably both) might be inclined to prefer a "normally" (wrong word, can't think of better) clever boy with other strong personal qualities to one with an extraordinarily academic brain who couldn't or wouldn't fit in with a robust and competitive boarding school life.

E. certainly, wants boys who can take academic work in their stride while being brilliant in all sorts of extra curricular stuff as well. They are all expected to work hard.

Does he want to go? If so there's no harm in visiting - you'll never know otherwise.

AnotherNewt Tue 14-Nov-17 16:24:20

In your shoes, I'd register him, just to keep your option open. You can always drop out if you decide these schools are not the right fit.

Shannaratiger Tue 14-Nov-17 16:28:51

I think Winchester is slightly more relaxed and may be better, but definitely register for both and then go and visit when you can.

happygardening Tue 14-Nov-17 22:30:04

Years ago I read somewhere that over 2/3 of Wykehamist were in the top 3% don’t know how true that is.
Winchester has a longish and personal selection process. You meet a few HM’s decide which one you like and then register your DS with his house. Between Jan and March of Yr 6 they interview your DS, the interview last over an hour and your DS gets asked to do an activity maybe math, a comprehension, write a short piece etc, but he’s also interviewed. The interview is informal and the HM’s know what they and the school are looking for. We were told (many moons ago) that you could for example do poorly in the comprehension but if you shone somewhere else and the HM’s gut feeling was that were what they wanted in all other respects you could be offered a place. Winchester is oversubscribed but restricts the number who register but I have also heard that the individual candidates are getting stronger year on year, So there is a strong case for saying register and if he doesn’t get offered a place then it’s not the right school for your DS.
On the other hand HM’s can make mistakes. my DS felt that there were lots and lots of —math geniuses— super bright at Winchester but also a smallish number of really not that bright some really struggled. For example a friend thought her DS fell into the not that bright “high average” category and she regretted sending him to Winchester because he was always on the bottom and constantly struggled with this.
Winchester is not just an a academic school it’s a school where the pursuit of all things intellectual is written through it. It has a strong non examined intellectual curriculum in the form of a daily “Div” lesson, and weekly prep, that some might say serves no other purpose than intellectual study for the sake of it. Again most boys love it but my DS has said that the “not that bright” weren’t always so keen because it wasn’t obviously aiding in the passing of public exams.

holdbackonthewine Tue 14-Nov-17 22:53:43

If he’s in Year 5 I think he’s 9/10? These schools are tricky to get into and many people put them down at birth (especially Eton). You do have to be clever and do very well in common entrance so I think the first thing you need to do is get him down for a prep school which is a feeder for these schools, I’m out of touch but people on here will know which ones to head for. I think some come by other routes these days but this is still the accepted route.

alexddr Tue 14-Nov-17 23:01:28

Thank you for your messages, very interesting.
Thanks happygardening for your long reply. I am thinking Wellington and Radley rather than Win Col and Eton now... my elder DS is going to Teddies, by the way! Your posts here helped me fall in love with the school. It's also an option for my second DS, of course.

Crumbs1 Tue 14-Nov-17 23:01:42

My daughters boyfriend was at Eton and he’s definitely not gifted. Not even especially bright just quite bright.

happygardening Tue 14-Nov-17 23:11:00

You can’t register your DS for Winchester until he’s 8. Winchester doesn’t do CE it writes its own entrance exams.
I don’t think you necessarily need to be in a feeder prep for either schools the yr 6 selection but you probably do need to be in a good solid CE/Winchester entrance exam preparing prep for the entrance exam in yr 8. .

Gruach Wed 15-Nov-17 05:16:43

These schools are tricky to get into and many people put them down at birth (especially Eton)

Jeez ... Hasn't MN been running long enough for the entire world to now know this is NOT TRUE?

What on earth would be the benefit of this "putting a name down at birth" when the only way you can get in is through a rigorous process of examination and interview?

tricky suggests some element of smoke and mirrors ... I'm not sure the independent school application process - across all schools - meets all the expectations of 21st century "transparency" - but the main barrier, I would say, is being aware of the existence of the process in the first place. And having access to clear information - from the school websites - rather than being put off by outdated assumption and incorrect "information".

christmaswreaths Wed 15-Nov-17 16:10:26

My son got into Eton not from a feeder school and he is what you would describe as very bright, very high Iq but lots of interests too. Not the most confident or sociable but he did well at the interview.

I am having a similar dilemma as the as his brother is just above average and I don't think he stands much chance - however he is desperate to try. Tricky!!

LoniceraJaponica Wed 15-Nov-17 16:14:28

"You can’t register your DS for Winchester until he’s 8"

He is in year 5, which means he is either 9 or 10.

alexddr Wed 15-Nov-17 16:28:17

Yes indeed, my DS was 9 in July 2017.
Thank you for your input everyone!

happygardening Wed 15-Nov-17 16:34:21

Lonicera Im responding to holdbacks comment “many put them down from birth” this is. A common mistake.

LoniceraJaponica Wed 15-Nov-17 16:53:21

Whoops. My apologies happy

happygardening Wed 15-Nov-17 17:59:43

You don’t need to apologise smile.

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