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Anyone with conditional offer failed May/June entrance exam at Eton, Harrow or Winchester

(26 Posts)
comewhatmay81 Mon 18-Feb-19 14:41:54

My son has been offered music scholarship at Winchester subject to passing May entrance. WC has confidence that he will pass the exam. I understand that this must be a painful experience but has anyone with conditional offer and studied in state school failed entrance exam at Eton, Harrow or Winchester? I will be really appreciate your advice to guide me through this dilemma'!

OP’s posts: |
TeenTimesTwo Mon 18-Feb-19 15:03:41

What dilemma?
Surely he either passes or fails and then you act accordingly?
Or am I missing something?

comewhatmay81 Mon 18-Feb-19 15:56:41

He got a definite offer from Alleyn's as well. Accepting Winchester's music scholarship meaning he needs to give up Alleyn's offer but might fail May entrance exam but WC keep reassuring that WC is the right decision.

OP’s posts: |
peteneras Mon 18-Feb-19 15:57:51

You are missing something, TeenTimesTwo. If I understand it correctly from another thread, OP's son has won scholarships and bursaries from two other private schools, Alleyn's and Dulwich College both of which have a March dateline to accept. But I think OP's heart is with WinColl which has a May entrance exam. If she rejects Alleyn's and Dulwich in March and pins all her hopes on WinColl but fails the May exams, then she'd have ended with nothing. Hence the dilemma.

TeenTimesTwo Mon 18-Feb-19 16:05:13

Ah. Dilemma indeed. Good luck. smile

peteneras Mon 18-Feb-19 16:13:37

OP, one question - have you applied to Eton? Because this thread specified Eton as well as Harrow. I can only speak for Eton here; shame if you did not apply there.

For the last 15 or so years, I think nobody who's had a conditional offer from Eton failed the entrance exam (CE). This is testament to Eton's tremendous judgments in selecting their boys - no long played out multiple interviews over weeks and months like in other school(s) and then just to reject you or worse still, to keep you in limbo hanging on their "wait list" perpetually without ever telling you the final outcome.

comewhatmay81 Mon 18-Feb-19 16:30:10

He applied New Foundation Scholarship, got through 2nd stage but I think he failed the interview.

OP’s posts: |
peteneras Mon 18-Feb-19 16:56:26

OK, OP, without prejudice, I think your son will probably pass the May WinColl entrance exams. CE is no big deal even given the fact that WinColl sets their own exams or something. No doubt WinColl is a very good school - gives an "academic" education, I am told over and over again - but for the life of me, I've been scratching my head over the years wondering which school on earth does not give you an "academic" education?

You wrote on the other thread the idea of going boarding at Winchester will hopefully "man" up your son who according to you is rather timid and relaxed finding all creature comforts at home. I would say, that being the case, Eton and even Harrow would be a more suitable school than Winchester. OK, I gather at WinColl the boys there are more nerdy (that's how I interpret as "more academic") and if you'd hoped your son will morph into Rambo II after 5 years there, then I think it's unlikely to happen given all the nerds that congregate there.

Both Heads at Alleyn's and Dulwich College were former Housemasters at Eton. Both had learnt their trade at Eton's most illustrious House - College - being 'Master-in-College' there, i.e. Housemaster of College. No doubt, what that's happening at Alleyn's today will be largely influenced by Gary Savage's time at College; likewise, what that's happening at Dulwich today must be heavily influenced by Joe Spence's time as Master-in-College. Good luck!!!

comewhatmay81 Mon 18-Feb-19 20:40:33

You're right when you said they all offered good education. After wrapping my head around all useful advices, I think it's best to decide based on what we don't want to happen. Failing May exam means that he needs to travel 3 hours back and forth to his current school daily and we don't want that. Although the school is extremely challenging and he couldn't get higher grades due to lack of time for revision. Go for Alleyns. Thank you all againgrin

OP’s posts: |
happygardening Mon 18-Feb-19 21:37:51

My DS2 went to Winchester (now left) this is what we were told, in 2011, that every year a couple of boys loose their places because a couple of boys sit the Winchester entrance exam who dont have a places in boarding houses hoping to do significantly better than a boy who already have a place and get their place. HM's don't really like this because as you know they carefully select their boys but it does happen.
I agree with peteneras if you think your DS need to "man up" Winchester isn't really the place to send him; its a very civilised and peaceful environment which is why we choose it over our offer, a very very well know super academic super competitive boys school. I didn't feel it was would suit my DS. In fact I would question the whole ethos of sending a child to any boarding school to get him to "man up". I genuinely believe that you choose a school who's ethos suits that of your child and you rather than choose a school whose ethos you like in the hope that your DC will change to fit in.

ReaganSomerset Mon 18-Feb-19 21:42:07

For me, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

comewhatmay81 Tue 19-Feb-19 07:07:13

happygardening- thanks for your information. DS definitely don't want to be the few boy and traveling for hours to his current school again. The main reason that we tried Eton and Winchester is because they sent many students to Oxbridge. Boarding saves lots of traveling time and all facilities are within grasp. Extra time can be used for studying and doing lots of extra-curricular activities on offer. They even have more choices for languages.
ReaganSomerset is so to the point! Unless DS is super confident that he can nail the exam or we have nothing to lose, it's best that we put what's on our hand in the pocket, not being too greedy. The dog and his reflectionhmm

OP’s posts: |
ReaganSomerset Tue 19-Feb-19 09:54:35

Can't tell if you're being sarcastic there, OP.

Ohallright Tue 19-Feb-19 11:04:20

Hi, if your DS is marginal academically, but was offered one of the music scholarships, I think it is likely he will keep his place. They will look at the whole package. If he has a music exhibition (much easier to get) he needs to do reasonably well.

They will have looked at your DS’s academic record when they awarded the scholarship. They know he is coming from the state sector and the provision for some subjects may be a bit patchy eg Latin, MFL..... it is likely that unless they think your DS will sink academically, they will give him a place.

comewhatmay81 Tue 19-Feb-19 12:06:30

ReaganSomerset I completely agree with your point of view, definitely not being sarcastic. I could picture myself as the dog holding a bone(Alleyns) while drooling for bigger bone(WC).
Ohallright Although they have looked at DS's school report and we've sent English and Maths answers of previous year to WC to assess and DS doesn't need to do language test, WC repeatedly assured me that DS will pass. But DS is not confident on History and Geography papers as it has lots of 'weird' words according to DS. I questioned myself and DS that why couldn't we have the confidence to rise up to the unknown challenge? If we don't have the confidence in our ability, I guess we don't deserve to study in such a prestigious school;( It's because he failed Tonbridge entrance exam in November last year and Eton's interview which lower our confidence.
Thank you all for advices which undoubtedly has given me a clearer picture.

OP’s posts: |
happygardening Tue 19-Feb-19 12:07:54

Can you not speak to Winchester admissions dept and get some advise. It is true they do make allowances for state educated boys (I hadn’t realised this).
By the sound of things your DS is doing a lot of travelling will it be the same if he chooses Alleyns. I personally would want my 13 ye old travelling for hours every day. I can understand your interest in boarding if this is the case, perhaps the “man up” comment was a throw away and not really your number one hope from a boarding education?

TonTonMacoute Tue 19-Feb-19 12:36:05

Winchester have offered him a scholarship and have reassured you on numerous occasions that all is on course. They want him, he is not going to fail that exam. If he is going as an MS they are not going to turn him down at the very last minute because his history or geography papers are a bit weak.

It sounds as if your dilemma is that it is you who don't really want him to go there.

Ohallright Tue 19-Feb-19 12:38:53

Confidence is a funny thing. My DS suffers dreadfully from imposter syndrome. All A* at Gsce, D1 D1 D2 at pre-U, 1st at Oxford, distinction at Masters etc. He is continually looking over his shoulder, expecting to be told it was a mistake and he shouldn’t be there.
Forget about the Eton interview, as it completely different to an entrance exam. They only have interviews for the Election. It is a completely different skill.
I absolutely understand about Tonbridge. Does he know where he went wrong? Can you get feedback from them? Use it as a learning opportunity.
For Hisory/Geography, could you go through how questions are asked eg Watershed in history, Turningpoint in history, Pivotal point in history are all the same question.
Finally, I agree with happygardening that you should speak to the school. Andrew Sheddon is the registrar, but also taught at a prep school. He is one of the most helpfull, knowledgable and truly nice/kind people you will come across. A 5 minute call could save a lot of angst.

Good luck

peteneras Tue 19-Feb-19 16:42:18

I think, OP, you are being unwittingly and unnecessarily swayed by Winchester's reputation which could prove detrimental to your son's education in the long run. You talked about Oxbridge, distance from school, manning up, etc in your various postings. But I hear precious little of what your son really wants or what you want for your son in the future besides your Oxbridge aspiration. Indeed, Winchester was a big deal of yesteryear but circumstances have changed beyond recognition in the modern day.

Even state schools today are giving the big-name public schools a run for their money as far as Oxbridge goes! For example, in my part of north London here, it is not a big deal now to see the local grammar schools sending dozens and dozens of kids to Oxbridge each and every year. Queen Elizabeth's Boys (Barnet) send more than 30 kids to Oxbridge yearly on average; and the girls' school, Henrietta Barnett is not far behind. The same as Latymer's in Enfield, north London. Do I hear these schools boasting as being "very academic"? Not a word!

This Sunday Times League Table from a couple of years back (the latest that I have) will tell you the true state of affairs as far as academic school goes. You'll soon discover Winchester's "bone" isn't as big and juicy as you might have thought, compared with Alleyn's. But for the full fee-paying parent, we are talking about doubling the fee for that little insignificant extra.

What I personally look for in a school is their alumni's final destination - not Oxbridge - i.e. who has this individual become in society. It's no good to me being highly academic and intellectual with a First from Oxbridge; able to appreciate to the finest details Bach's and Mozart's obscure Movements but living like a hermit in your own world. It's as if you can live on air and water alone (perhaps with some apples from the garden)? And you pay a quarter of a million £'s school fees to have this privilege? 🤔

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 19-Feb-19 17:00:07

Peteneras may have a point about the Oxbridge results. I have been told by a parent that Eton had their worst offer year ever. Does anyone have the figures because I can't believe the number I was told. The top unis are under huge pressure to increase the number of places given to state school pupils. If it was all about Oxbridge I would go state.

Ohallright Tue 19-Feb-19 19:03:26

Hi Op,

There will be a lot of partisanship here peteneras really rates Eton and appears defensive re Winchester. I preferred Winchester and rejected Eton. Many of DS’s school friends went to Eton, most went to Winchester. All are lovely, articulate, polite well balanced young men <at least they are to all the parents>. It doesn’t really help you as your current options are Alleyn’s and Winchester. Both are brilliant schools with strong music departments and are excellent academically. However, one is a day school and mixed, the other is boarding and single sex. I think worrying about the exams coming up is natural, but not necessary, other than to provide your son with a little motivation to prep for them and practice some old papers.
Every single mum I know worried if their child would get in, even those who went on role at Election. The reason it is worse for you, is that you are not with a group of others in the same situation with whom you can panic 😉. Hence Mumsnet......
To be able to choose between two such good schools is a luxury few get - just pick the one that is best for you son and your family. Which one do you instinctively feel fits best? Then, after the exams (for no other reason than it would be tempting fate before) start planning for your son’s new school. Again good luck.

BasiliskStare Tue 19-Feb-19 19:08:05

I would also say that no school should be chosen for an 11 or 13 year old child because they send many to Oxbridge. If your son wants to go to Oxbridge ( and he won't really know whether he does or whether realistic for him until nearer the time ) a school which is capable of sending those to & does have successful Oxbridge applicants is all you need IMHO. That said I think Winchester is a great school. It gets a rap on this site re "nerdy" boys - I am not sure about that at all. It can be the most brilliant place to be for 5 years . Carpe Diem . They tend to be self confident boys but not arrogant. Also many now actively choose to go to US universities or Imperial or LSE / UCL ( and many others ) etc rather than Oxbridge.

I would agree speak to admissions if you can. I suspect if he has done interviews etc they want him so without failing the entrance test dramatically he will be OK - BUT speak to admissions. It's a hard choice I will admit OP. I wish you & your son all the best with it.

happygardening Tue 19-Feb-19 20:37:37

I wouldn’t choose a school on either Oxbridge results or IMO even worse alumni “who had this Individusl become in society”. I personally would wish politics or fame on my worst enemy and there is no measure or league tables for the turning out a decent caring human beings able to form successful loving relationships with his family and friends, turning up at work everyday and doing a good job in all circumstances and equally importantly being able to not only takes pleasure but at time find strength and consolation in the world around him or her be it from art music literature etc etc. That is my main ambition for my DS’s. I’m proud to say that my DS2 who went to Winchester has turned out a caring decent individual he has high emotional intelligence he goes to a RG university and he’s doing very well he has experienced quite a lot of significant sadness and the intellectual curiosity whether it be a love of art music literature etc which underpins Winchester whole curriculum has given him great comfort over the years. Professionally I see many children who sadly haven’t faired so wel when they experience the sadness he’s experienced. So in my book every penny of my money well spent.

happygardening Tue 19-Feb-19 21:04:22

"I personally would wish" = I personally wouldn't wish

BasiliskStare Tue 19-Feb-19 22:09:07

@Ohallright [ smile] - what a nice post - and @comewhatmay81 - I am sorry if this sounds trite , but this is what my husband would call a "high quality problem" . flowers

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