Founded in 1440 for 70 highly able boys by Henry IV, Eton College is one of the oldest and most famous schools in the world. Steeped in tradition and situated a short walk over the bridge from Windsor Castle, ‘Eton the college’ encompasses most of ‘Eton the village’, with boarding houses and different parts of the school on either side of the street. The 70 King’s Scholars remain an important feature; roughly 14 new scholars are named each year and co-exist with 1130 ‘Oppidans’ (residents of the town), as the remaining students are called.
The school is full boarding and each boarding house caters for approximately 50 boys, with 10 in each year group, meaning that the Housemasters can get to know each boy in their care very well indeed. Mental Health and wellbeing are high on the agenda for the still relatively new Headmaster, Simon Henderson, who joined the school in 2015 (although he had previously taught History there). He recognises that the school’s traditions, of which there are many, need to stand up to scrutiny and that Eton needs to be able to move with the times.
Academic excellence remains a focus however, and as well as being the alma mater of 19 British Prime Ministers, the students’ exam successes mean that the school consistently maintains its place at the top of school league tables. The facilities too are outstanding across the board, and include the Farrar Theatre and the Tony Little Centre for Innovation and Research in Learning. Unsurprisingly, Eton boys are offered a wide range of co-curricular activities from rowing on nearby Dorney Lake to cookery lessons with Caroline Waldgrave OBE, MD of Leiths Cookery and wife of the Provost. There are 30 games on offer and 9 languages taught and the teaching staff to pupil ratio is roughly 1:8.
Would Eton College be suitable for my child?
Not if your child is a ‘she’ obviously. Whilst there is a strong emphasis on welcoming boys from all backgrounds, it is important to note that the students’ academic ability is well above average and your son will be assessed in terms of his current and potential academic performance. There is support for the few boys identified with Special Educational Needs, but of the 80 or so boys for whom English is an additional language, no extra support is provided.
How do I apply to Eton?
Entry to the school is at 13+ but unless you are applying for a King’s, Music or a new Foundation Scholarship, applications are closed for all years of entry until 2021. A few places are available each year for 6th Form entry at 16+. Contact us for advice on applying to this and other highly selective schools.