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Bradfield College 13 plus guide

By Atom | Jun 20, 2023, 3:47 PM

Bradfield College: a parents' guide to Year 9 entry

Bradfield College – formerly known as St Andrew’s College, Bradfield – is a day and boarding school in Berkshire for boys and girls aged 13 to 18. The school is set in a scenic, semi-rural location with an iconic open-air Greek theatre at the heart of the campus. Bradfield College’s purpose is to provide an outstanding education for life, equipping its students with confidence, open-mindedness, resilience, inquiry, communication and innovation.

Pupils at Bradfield College study a broad curriculum to gain a wide experience of subjects and develop the skills for success in later years. Humanities subjects are taught through a course called Divisions, which looks at topics holistically (rather than studying disciplines separately) and examines the links between subject areas. In the sixth form, students can choose to study either A levels or the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB). Exam results are consistently above average; in 2022, the average IB points were 38 out of 45 and 82% of A levels were graded A*–B. At GCSE, 63% of grades were A*/A/9/8/7.

Beyond the classroom, pupils at Bradfield College have access to an exciting and diverse array of extracurricular activities. All pupils in Years 10 and 11 take the Bradfield Diploma – a bespoke programme, backed by the national exam board WJEC, which focuses on pupil-led initiatives and where pupils are rewarded for their participation in co-curricular activities.

Key information for Bradfield College

  • Head: Dr Chris Stevens

  • Address: Bradfield College, Bradfield, Berkshire, RG7 6AU

  • County: Berkshire

  • Admissions contact: [email protected], 01189 644516

  • Age range and gender: 13–18, co-educational

  • Number of pupils: 800+

  • Open day date: no open days – the school offers personal tours (by appointment) every Saturday morning during term time. Contact the admissions team to book

  • Overview of selection procedure: ISEB Common Pre-Test, interviews, group problem-solving activities and school reference

  • Registration closes: 1st January in Year 6

  • Assessment date: November–February in Year 6

Bradfield College fees and financial assistance

The current fees at Bradfield College are £33,732 per year for day pupils, and £42,165 for boarding.

Bradfield College is committed to helping talented children from all backgrounds benefit from a Bradfield education through the provision of financial assistance. Known as bursaries, this type of assistance is means-tested; parents on low incomes can receive a discount of up to 100% on tuition fees. If you think your child would be eligible for a bursary at Bradfield College, you will need to apply by the 31st October in the year before entry.

While Bradfield College awards scholarships for achievement and potential, these do not provide a fee discount.

Everything you need to know about bursaries

Bradfield College term dates

The term dates at Bradfield College for 2023–24 are:

  • Autumn term (Michaelmas): 4th September – 15th December 2023

  • Half term: 20th October – 5th November 2023

  • Spring term (Lent): 8th January – 22nd March 2024

  • Half term: 9th–18th February 2024

  • Summer term: 15th April – 29th June 2024

  • Half term: 24th May – 2nd June 2024

Admissions process for Year 9 entry to Bradfield College

Bradfield College is looking to welcome children who will flourish and develop individually while having a positive impact on the experience of others at the school. It’s important that prospective pupils will thrive academically and will make a wider contribution to the school community.

The admissions process for entry to Bradfield College is the same for UK and international applicants.

1. Visit

If you are considering Bradfield College for your child’s secondary education, it’s important to visit the school first to make sure that it would be a good fit for your child. Families considering 13 plus entry are welcome to visit when their child is in Year 4, 5 or 6.

The school hosts regular Saturday morning tours. These involve a tour of the school campus, an address from the head, and a presentation from a senior pupil.

2. Registration

If you decide to continue with an application for your child after your initial tour, you will need to complete a provisional entry form and return this to the admissions office.

3. ISEB Common Pre-Test

ISEB mock test on Atom Nucleus

All children who are registered for 13 plus entry to Bradfield College will be asked to take the ISEB Common Pre-Test in Year 6, between November and February.

If your child attends a prep school they will normally take this at their current school. Children who are not at a prep school will be invited to take the test at Bradfield College (or at a British Council or other approved testing centre for international applicants). Regardless of where your child takes the test, you will need to register them separately (for free) via the ISEB website.

The ISEB Common Pre-Test is an online, adaptive exam and takes a little over 2 hours to complete. Questions span four subjects:

  • English: 40 minutes available. The content covers reading comprehension and SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar).

  • Maths: 40 minutes available. Pupils are tested on Key Stage 2 maths, which includes number and place value, calculations, fractions, decimals and percentages, measurement, geometry, and statistics.

  • Verbal reasoning: 30 minutes available. Candidates are tested on their logic and comprehension, including problem-solving techniques, trial and error skills, the ability to work logically, the ability to recognise suitable solutions, and knowledge of vocabulary and definitions.

  • Non-verbal reasoning: 36 minutes available. Pupils will be asked to analyse 2D figures and diagrams and look for patterns, and manipulate 3D figures and diagrams to visualise them in different ways.

Exclusive resource: best ISEB exam techniques

4. Admissions assessment

All children who are registered for Year 9 entry to Bradfield College will be invited to an admissions assessment at the school. This will take place on a Tuesday afternoon in either the autumn or spring term of Year 6. The assessment includes:


Your child will have two interviews. Each interview will last around 20–30 minutes:

  • Admissions interview: the aim of this interview is to see how well your child will fit into the school, and what they will be able to contribute academically. Your child will also be invited to talk about their other interests and skills.

  • Housemaster/housemistress interview: this interview is designed to understand how well your child will be suited to life at the school (including boarding and co-curricular activities).

Problem-solving challenge

Children will get involved in a 60-minute problem-solving challenge, which is unique to Bradfield College. The challenge has been likened to those found in ‘The Crystal Maze’ TV show and allows the school to assess children broadly and see how likely they are to respond positively to the school’s ethos. Staff will be looking for particular characteristics including interpersonal skills, resilience, innovation and reflection.

The admissions office will also contact your child’s current head to request a detailed reference.

5. Offers

In March in Year 6, Bradfield College will consider whether to make your child an offer. Offers of places are based on the results of the ISEB Common Pre-Test, the interviews and problem-solving challenge, and the reference from your child’s current school.

6. Scholarships and bursaries

If you would like your child to be considered for a bursary or scholarship, you will need to let Bradfield College know when your child is in Year 7. The deadlines for applications are:

  • Sports scholarships: 15th October in Year 8

  • Bursaries: 31st October in Year 8

  • All other scholarships: December in Year 8

Scholarships involve additional testing. This varies depending on the type of scholarship:

Academic scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to pupils who show academic ability and potential across a range of subjects, or for outstanding performance in a particular subject. Children will take compulsory 60-90 minute papers in English, science, maths, geography, history, one modern foreign language, and one general paper in February in Year 8. They may also take optional papers in religious studies, Latin, French, Spanish, German, or Greek. All candidates will additionally have short speaking assessments in modern languages and a formal scholarship interview.

All-rounder scholarship

Eligible candidates are either in the scholarship stream at their prep school, or have achieved a minimum average mark of 65% at Common Entrance (or comparable standard). Children will sit exams at Bradfield College in February in Year 8, with papers in English, maths and a general abilities test. They will also be assessed in at least two other disciplines, including art, music, drama and sport, and will have an interview about their wider interests.

Art and design scholarship

Interested candidates will need to submit a digital portfolio of their work, following which shortlisted candidates will be invited to an assessment afternoon in February in Year 8. This will include an observational drawing test, an unseen practical challenge, and interviews with the faculty director and head of department.

Drama scholarship

To apply, candidates will need to submit a video of themselves performing two contrasting monologues from a published play(s). Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an assessment afternoon in February, where they will get involved in a workshop and have an interview with a member of the drama team.

Music scholarship

Candidates for music scholarships will be invited to an audition in January in Year 8. They will need to perform two contrasting pieces on their first instrument (at least Grade 6 standard, or equivalent) and preferably offer a second instrument, play at sight, have aural tests of Grade 5-6 standard and have interviews with the director of music and senior staff.

Sports scholarship

Candidates will need to submit a sporting CV and a reference with their application form by the 15th October in Year 8. Selected candidates will be invited to a first-round assessment day in December, after which shortlisted candidates will be invited to a final assessment day in February. They will be assessed in their two main sports, will undertake generic fitness and skills screening tests, and have an interview with a sports coach.

6. Year 8 entrance tests

Children who have been offered a place at Bradfield College will take one of the following tests in Year 8:

  • Bradfield Entrance Tests: these are English and maths tests for children not currently at prep schools and for children coming from overseas. Children will take these tests in January of Year 8

  • Common Academic Scholarship: taken in February of Year 8

  • Common Entrance/Prep School Baccalaureate: taken in June of Year 8

How to prepare for 13 plus entry to Bradfield College

Exam preparation with Atom Nucleus

If your child is applying for 13 plus entry to Bradfield College, they will be tested across the Key Stage 2 curriculum and beyond in the ISEB Common Pre-Test.

Atom Nucleus is an all-in-one exam preparation platform which can help your child consolidate everything they need to know and prepare effectively for success in the Bradfield College admissions process.

Exam Prep Plus subscribers get unlimited access to:

  • Over 90,000 interactive questions in Key Stage 2 English, maths, science, verbal and non-verbal reasoning

  • Unlimited online practice papers including replicas of the ISEB Common Pre-Test. All tests are automatically marked with instant score breakdowns

  • Daily live lessons and holiday revision programmes to help your child master key topics and revise efficiently

  • A detailed parent dashboard, allowing you to track your child’s progress, set targets, and quickly create exercises for your child

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Interview preparation with Atom Tuition

If your child is applying for entry to Bradfield College, they will have an interview with a member of staff. This is a common practice at independent schools, as it can provide a more holistic insight into your child’s abilities and interests. However, even informal interviews can still be daunting for many 10 and 11-year-olds!

Atom Tuition offers online mock interviews with experienced tutors who are specialists in the private school admissions process. A one-hour session consists of a 30-minute interview, a 10-minute break, 20 minutes of feedback and a follow-up report.

These mock interviews are an ideal opportunity for your child to:

  • Encounter typical private school interview questions

  • Learn and practice techniques that will serve them well in the real interview

  • Develop their conversational skills and storytelling style

  • Demystify the interview process and know what to expect

  • Reduce any anxiety and feel confident for the real interview

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