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Winchester, Westminster, or Eton?(89 Posts)
Our son is currently at prep school. He will be starting secondary school in two years. He is a very intelligent child who consistently gets good marks, and his favourite recreation is reading. He is indifferent to sport. Thus, we thought a school that is unashamedly academic would be best for him. The head has recommended Winchester or Westminster. They both sound great, but our son is worried that Winchester is too connected to Oxford, and he is leaning towards Cambridge. As for Westminster, apparently they only have boarding throughout the week, which is an issue for us because I live and work on the continent.
Even though Eton is not as academic, a relative suggested looking into having our son sit for the King's Scholar test. I know it is very hard.
For anyone who knows, how is the lifestyle different for the scholars and commoners in these three schools?
Have a look at the people they've been producing of late and see what you think ...
Sounds like hed be far happier at Winchester,Eton really aren't that interested in boys who have nothing to offer beyond academics.
but our son is worried that Winchester is too connected to Oxford, and he is leaning towards Cambridge 😂
Loving the idea of OP’s DS leaning towards Cambridge in year 5 but definitely not Oxford!
Surely you just apply to wherever you want. Students from Winchester aren’t ‘allocated’ to Oxford, They apply and go through tests, interviews etc. A lot go toOxford but I doubt They would frown at you applying to Cambridge.
And just to further put OP’s mind at rest. From Winchester:
A significant number of pupils go to Oxford and Cambridge each year, and the remainder will nearly all attend a Russell Group or premier US universities, such as Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, UNC, UPenn and Yale. The careers department provides guidance to all pupils on course options, university choices, work experience and gap year opportunities. We also welcome many university admissions tutors from the USA and Canada, including Ivy League universities.
our son is worried that Winchester is too connected to Oxford, and he is leaning towards Cambridge
1. Where on earth does a 10/11 year old get that idea?
2. Is that even a thing anyway? (Given that it's no longer the 14th century.)
3. Your son should think about the right degree course for him, not just a shade of blue.
4. He should give himself about 5 years or more before he gets too fixated on a degree course.
(5. Is he blond? (Hopefully someone else remembers that thread!))
I wouldn't choose any of these schools based on how academic they are as they all have so much more to offer..
You don't say what else your child is interested in beyond studying? This might help?
Also it might be worth applying to all as well as having back up options, as he might not get offered a place. I know some very bright boys who didn't get a place and the reason wasn't apparent...
We visited Cambridge over the summer and he just fell in love. It's never too early to be thinking about the future.
Of course his mind may change in a few years, he's only twelve. No one is denying that.
I don't see how the colour of my child's hair even remotely matters.
"Even though Eton is not as academic, a relative suggested looking into having our son sit for the King's Scholar test. I know it is very hard."
I struggle somehow to make some sense out of this statement. If Eton is not academic enough for your child, what problem might the King's Scholarship tests prove for your apparently "unashamedly academic" son? But personally I'd say don't bother. Eton will not fit your son. Also, I'd suggest you update yourself and read up on (say) the last 5 years or so secondary schools league tables from a reputable source.
Here's a quick guide from "yesteryear" to help you search. Sorry, this is the latest that I have but I'm sure it won't make much difference to the current standings.
Clue: 4 - 16 - 41
I have to say, OP that if your son is due to start senior school in two years' time, it's hard to understand why you have not yet visited possible schools and gained a better understanding of how they work.
Westminster is not a suitable school for overseas boarders in Years 9-11.
your ds is 12 so in Y7? - haven't you missed some of the key pre test dates already?
I assume that's why the OP is only considering the KS and not the more usual entrance route.
OP I'm sorry not to have given any practical advice - but your post is full of so many misapprehensions that I wouldn't know where to start. You really need to do some proper research, starting with the schools themselves. You (and your son) are relying far too much on uninformed hearsay.
I'll be honest, due my dd "having an attraction" to ex public school boys I've met a few, none from Westminster but from the other two, plus rugby, Oakham and gordonston - all were not very nice people to be frank, I really don't understand how she liked them (their bank balances i suspect, she's a student). They are all the rugby playing, bullying type - sorry they were. Look at all the schools around especially those more suited to non sporty studious types even if not as famous - might be a better fit
Seems a bit mad that you are worrying about Oxbridge entrance already but are only now thinking about secondary school?!
I don‘t see how the clour of my son‘s hair even remotely matters
Can anyone find a link to THAT thread? One of the funniest things I have ever read on this site.
Peternas, above, has it if you are after exam grades, but all 3 are fine.
The poster probably isn't British (because they say their son is very intelligent) but we will not hold that against them......laughing as I type....
Why not try him for all 3 (if key dates are not already missed) and just see where he gets into? In most cases there is luck involved and the school picks the boy not vice versa so it's a good idea to have few choices up your sleeve rather than pinning hopes on one place.
I am not a fan of boarding schools and may be one your options would be to move to an area in the UK near a good privae day school. I see my daughter's school is above all 3 of those boys' schools in the linked list above for example and Habs Boys and St Paul's well ahead of Winchester and Eton.
I don‘t see how the colour of my son‘s hair even remotely matters
Found it - suddenly remembered the jumping which narrowed it down 😂
OP you are overthinking. Consult your child's prep school. Ask them. I presume they offer Common Entrance or whatever it is now? Although Winchester College was founded by the same person as New College, Oxford, they also send pupils to Cambridge and wherever the pupil best fits including gasp Other Universities or Nowhere At All. As does this East End Academy School www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5295621/Londons-East-End-Eton-sending-22-pupils-Oxbridge.html
But then it doesn't offer boarding.
While your son's love for Cambridge - who wouldn't for its beauty and comparative calm and academic excellence and opportunities - is totally understandable, don't make it yours or his life's ambition. By 18 he could be wanting to study medicine in Edinburgh, started up a boy band or left school to set up his own software company.
It's never too early to be thinking about the future
Errr yes it is. And you shouldn't be encouraging it. Your ds is what 11, 12? A child who should be living a happy carefree existence not considering where he might go to university.
Nothing wrong with children considering university possibilities.
But it's utterly pointless to base decisions being made now on total misinformation about the relationships between various schools and any particular university.
And I don't understand how these misunderstandings could have arisen if the prep school is doing its job.
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