Bumbling Eton College gives out 400 places by mistake
They’re calling it an Eton Mess
World-famous Eton College accidentally sent out hundreds of offers, before cancelling the places just minutes later – destroying parents’ celebrations.
The embarrassing blunder saw the prestigious college dish out 400 conditional places, but was forced to cancel immediately after spotting the mistake.
Staff from David Cameron’s old stomping ground admitted the acceptance gaffe was caused by a “systems error” and the email was only supposed to go to nine successful applications.
Eton have now apologised to the heartbroken families whose spawn may have to put up with state school instead.
Insiders at the £34,000 a year school claimed it was extremely unusual for the most famous school in the country to make such a huge mistake.
In a statement released yesterday, the school said: “Last week a systems error occurred which resulted in an email intended for nine families to inform them that their son had been offered a conditional place at Eton College in September 2017, being incorrectly sent to a further 400 recipients.
“This error was discovered within minutes and each family was immediately contacted to notify them that it should be disregarded and to apologise.
“We take this type of incident very seriously indeed and so a thorough investigation, overseen by the Head Master Tony Little and led by the Tutor for Admissions, is being carried out to find out exactly what went wrong and ensure it cannot happen again.
“Eton College offers its sincere apologies to those boys concerned and their families. We deeply regret the confusion and upset this must have caused.”
Entry to the extremely competitive Berkshire school can be nearly as bad as Oxbridge, with only a quarter of applications being successful.
The painful process begins at age 11 with an interview, primary school report and a reasoning test.
Some of the boys are then offered a conditional place which can be taken up two years later if they pass the qualification exam – known as the Common Entrance.
Ralph Lucas, editor in chief of the Good Schools Guide, told the Daily Mail the mistake was likely to have hurt families more than if they had just received a flat refusal.
He added: “That moment they received the email would have given a lot of parents a moment of elation, and it deepened the disappointment when they learned of the mistake.”
John Chard from the parental advisory service School Appeals, said the incident was “embarrassing” for such a prestigious school.
He said: “I can’t imagine parents were particularly happy about this. But because the error was discovered within minutes hopefully the impact was minimal.”
Private schools have their own rules on offers, and parents can use the schools’ internal appeals processes to challenge withdrawals.
But John Chard said it was unlikely many parents would be successful in doing so in this case.
He said: “Clearly, this is the result of a genuine error.
“I suspect there will be an internal appeals process but it’s unlikely that many parents will be successful because the school will not be able to accommodate that large number.”