Eton was founded in by King Henry VI in 1440 and is in Windsor, Berkshire. It takes boys as boarders from 13-18 and provides the quintessential classical education of an English public school. It has 25 boys' houses of which one is reserved for 70 King's Scholars who attend Eton on scholarships awarded by examination each year. The pupil to teacher ratio is 8:1 and the teachers, known as beaks, have routinely won the very highest academic honours at university. Eton has a well-established system for encouraging boys to produce a high standard of work and is developing plans to allow any boy to attend the school whatever his parents' income.
Eton boasts an extensive network of playing fields and offers facilities for almost every conceivable sporting interest as well as games such as the Wall Game and the Field Game that are unique to the school and not played against any other schools. Such extra-curricular catholicity extends beyond the superb music and drama departments to about 50 organizations known as societies where pupils can explore their interests and discover their talents: wine, politics, horses, medicine, entrepreneurship, cheese, science and rock are but a few.
Successful Old Etonians abound in law, finance, medicine, the armed forces, acting, music and politics. With a unique combination of tradition and radicalism and an environment of white-hot competition in and out of the classroom this school can justly claim to be the leading British boarding school.
Eton has produced 19 Prime Ministers including the incumbent David Cameron. At present the Prime Minister, the Mayor of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury are all Old Etonians. Other notable contemporary alumni include four-time Olympic gold medal winner Matthew Pinsent, Nobel Prize winner John Gurdon and Princes William and Harry. Eton maintains exceptional standards academically, sportingly and culturally and every year sends around 90 boys to Oxford and Cambridge. As an all-boys school with a distinctive uniform Eton is renowned for tradition and exclusivity but in recent years has taken many steps to admit pupils on merit whose talents do not run to means.
They key selection point is at age 11 after an Assessment, when conditional places are given for entry at 13 subject to a satisfactory performance in the Common Entrance Examination or the King's Scholarship. A small number will gain admission through academic and music scholarships at age 13 without having taken the Assessment at 11, and a small number at 16.