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Brighton College: 11 plus and 13 plus entry guide

By Atom | Apr 28, 2023, 9:54 AM

Brighton College, East Sussex

Are you considering Brighton College for your child? We’ve collated everything you need to know about applying for a place in Year 7 or Year 9. Find out key dates, learn what’s covered on the entrance exam, and get tips and resources to help your child prepare.

About Brighton College

Brighton College is a private school for boys and girls aged 11 to 18. It was founded in 1845 and is located in the popular seaside city of Brighton on England’s south coast. In 2021, The Sunday Times named Brighton College ‘United Kingdom School of the Decade’, referencing its culture of kindness and ‘remarkable upward journey’.

School life at Brighton College is focused on pastoral care and wellbeing. All pupils belong to a house and socialise with pupils from different age groups. Boarding is available for pupils in Year 9 and above, with around half of students living in boarding houses. Among the school’s wellbeing initiatives are weekly mindfulness classes, meditation workshops and yoga classes.

The curriculum at Brighton College is extensive and focuses on preparing children for 21st century life. All pupils in Years 7 to 8 learn Mandarin Chinese and there are a further five languages to choose from, with IT and coding embedded in the timetable. There is an impressive range of opportunities in the sports and arts (the school is one of the leading sports schools in the country), and the school calendar is packed with a range of music, dance, drama and art events.

  • Address: Brighton College, Eastern Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 0AL

  • School type: private day and boarding, boys and girls aged 11–18

  • Headteacher: Richard Cairns

  • Number of pupils: 1,100+

  • Fees per term: £6,830–£9,420 (day), £12,960–£19,230 (boarding)

  • National rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 9

  • A level results: 98.4% A*–B

  • GCSE results: 93.8% 9–7

Key info for 11+ admissions

  • Admissions contact: [email protected], 01273 704 200

  • Registration deadline: mid-November in Year 6

  • Assessment date: December in Year 6

  • Assessment type: school’s own

  • Open days: Saturday 30th September and Saturday 14th October 2023. Book online

Key info for 13+ admissions

  • Admissions contact: [email protected], 01273 704 200

  • Registration deadline: 1st October in Year 6

  • Assessment date: December in Year 6

  • Assessment type: ISEB Common Pre-Test

  • Open days: Saturday 30th September and Saturday 14th October 2023. Book online

Brighton College fees and financial assistance

The day fees for Year 7 pupils at Brighton College in 2022–2023 are £6,830 per term.

The day fees for Year 9 pupils in 2022–2023 are £8,950. Boarding is also available from Year 9 and costs £12,960 per term for weekly boarding or £14,470 for full boarding. The boarding fees for overseas students are around 20% higher.

Fees at Brighton College increase for each year group.

Brighton College financial assistance

Brighton College aims to provide more children with the opportunity to benefit from its leading education. Children who are offered a day place at the school but whose families would not otherwise be able to afford the school fees may be supported with means-tested financial assistance, known as bursaries. These are reviewed each year and can change in line with the family’s financial situation.

The application window for applying for a bursary at 11 plus is between 1st August to 30th November in the year before joining (as your child starts Year 6). 13 plus bursary candidates need to apply before 31st October in Year 8.

Scholarships at Brighton College

Brighton College offers scholarships, which provide an annual reduction on school fees. Scholarships are not means-tested but awarded to children who demonstrate talent or aptitude in a particular area.

Brighton College offers academic, junior (academic plus an interest in sport, music, art, dance, or drama), chess, and choral scholarships at 11 plus entry.

Scholarship assessments are held in January in Year 6.

Brighton College term dates

The term dates at Brighton College in 2023–2024 are:

  • Term starts: Thursday 31st August 2023

  • Boarding exeat weekend: Friday 15th – Sunday 17th September 2023

  • Half term: Wednesday 18th October – Sunday 29th October 2023

  • Term ends: Thursday 7th December 2023

Brighton College entry process

13 plus is the main entry point to Brighton College, but there are also plenty of places available for external applicants at 11 plus.

Children who join Brighton College at 11 plus become members of the Lower School (Years 7 and 8). They are supported by a form tutor, a housemistress and the head of lower school.

1. Visit Brighton College

If Brighton College is on your shortlist for your child’s secondary school, it’s important to visit first. Open mornings are held every term and are a great way to see first-hand what life is like at the school. You may also wish to arrange an individual visit with the admissions team.

Brighton College does not offer boarding until the Fourth Form (Year 9). However, children in Years 7 and 8 have the option to board at Handcross Park just north of the city. Handcross Park offers weekly boarding and runs a bus service from London on Monday mornings, returning on Friday afternoons.

2. Register your child

Once you have decided to proceed with your child’s application, you will need to complete the online registration form. To access the form, email the admissions team to receive the correct link for your child’s year group.

Early registration at Brighton College is recommended. The deadline for 11 plus entry is mid-November in Year 6 and the deadline for 13 plus entry is 1st October in Year 6.

Registration costs £160 for UK applicants and £390 for overseas applicants.

3. Assessments and interviews

All children registered for 11 plus and 13 plus entry will have assessments and interviews in Year 6.

If your child is applying for 11 plus entry, they will take 11 plus assessments in December.

They will then return to the school in January for an interview and activities day. This consists of a range of fun activities and two short interviews with Brighton College teachers.

4. Offers

You will find out the outcome of your child’s application by the end of January in Year 6.

If you would like to accept your child’s place, you will need to formally accept the offer and pay an acceptance deposit (£2,000 for UK applicants or £10,000 for overseas applicants). You and your child will then receive a welcome pack and an invitation to meet the rest of their new class in the summer term.

What’s on the 11 plus exam?

The 11 plus exam at Brighton College assesses children’s skills in four subjects:

  • English

  • Maths

  • Verbal reasoning

  • Non-verbal reasoning

Take a look at the following resources to see the topics your child will be tested on, and the types of questions they might be asked in the exam.

What’s on the 13 plus exam?

All children applying for 13 plus entry to Brighton College take the ISEB Common Pre-Test. This is an online test that is completely adaptive, meaning the questions become easier or more challenging depending on how your child is performing.

Children will answer questions in four subjects:

  • English: covering comprehension and spelling, punctuation and grammar

  • Maths: questions cover Key Stage 2 national curriculum taught up to the end of Year 5. The main topics are number, measurement, data, algebra and geometry

  • Verbal reasoning: tests logic and problem-solving with written information

  • Non-verbal reasoning: tests your child’s ability to understand and analyse visual information

How is the ISEB Common Pre-Test marked?

Each child will be given a Standardised Age Score (SAS), which is calculated based on the number of correct and incorrect answers, the level of difficulty in each question and their date of birth in years and months (to prevent younger children from being disadvantaged). Your child's ISEB Common Pre-Test score will be sent directly to Brighton College.

If your child is preparing to take the ISEB for entry to Brighton College, they should aim for a standardised score of 120 or higher.

Exam guide

Guide to the ISEB Test

Read our comprehensive guide to the ISEB Common Pre-Test and get tips and hints to help your child prepare.

Learn more
ISEB test on Atom Nucleus

Top tips to prepare for entry to Brighton College

Brighton College is a popular selective school, with strong competition for places at 11 plus and 13 plus. Here are our top tips to help your child prepare effectively for the admissions process.

Build foundational knowledge

It can be tempting to jump straight into practice papers to prepare for school exams. However, this is not an effective way to learn and can cause children to feel demotivated.

Your child should have a good understanding of the content they’ve been taught in Year 5 before testing their knowledge with practice papers. Using a ‘little and often’ approach when recapping content is key, as our brains encode new information more effectively when dealing with smaller ‘chunks’ of information. Experts recommend study sessions should last no longer than 30 minutes for children aged 10–11.

Read widely

English and verbal reasoning questions will require your child to analyse text and interpret written information. Regular reading at home is a great way to help your child build these skills.

Encourage your child to read books from different genres and by a diverse range of authors. Increasing the variety of your child’s reading will help them understand different styles, tones and purposes. Meanwhile, reading a little every day will help widen their vocabulary, sharpen their analytical thinking, and enhance their imagination.

Free resource – Atom reading lists

Here are our top picks to introduce variety to your child's reading!
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Refine exam technique

When your child feels confident with the topics they’ve learnt in Year 5, they’ll be ready to put their knowledge to the test. Practice tests can help your child develop problem-solving skills and build confidence working under test conditions. They’re also a great way to consolidate learning and highlight knowledge gaps for further improvement.

Celebrate progress

Setting regular, achievable goals and celebrating your child’s progress – no matter how big or small – will help keep their motivation high.

Be sure to celebrate effort, as well as achievement. When your child makes mistakes or struggles to understand a particular topic, help them understand that they have the ability to improve through practice. Regular praise will help your child improve their resilience when tackling new and challenging topics.

Your tailored exam preparation programme

Wondering how to make sure your child learns all the exam content for entry to Brighton College, stays on track with their progress, and gets help when they’re stuck? Online learning is a particularly efficient, cost-effective, and fun way to do this!

Atom Home is an award-winning online learning platform, designed to support families with entry to the UK’s leading schools.

Children work independently through over 90,000 interactive practice questions in English, maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning. Teacher-created helpsheets and videos help them discover new concepts and consolidate their learning.

Atom's algorithm keeps children on their ideal learning path, tailored to their unique learning style and pace to keep them challenged and motivated.

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Personalised support for you

We understand how important this next step is for them, and for you. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions you may have about applying to Brighton School.

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