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Brighton College: a parents’ guide to entry at Year 7 and Year 9

School guides
Brighton College: a parents’ guide to entry at Year 7 and Year 9

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Brighton College is a large independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 11 to 18. It was founded in 1845 and is located in the popular seaside city of the same name 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’. Meanwhile, the headmaster Richard Cairns was mentioned in The Sunday Times 2021 survey of the school's academic performance for his transformative leadership over the last decade.

A focus on pastoral care and wellbeing is at the heart of school life at Brighton College. All pupils are assigned to a house, with all age groups mixing together and older pupils mentoring younger pupils. Among the school’s well-being initiatives are weekly mindfulness classes, meditation workshops and yoga classes.

The curriculum at Brighton College is extensive, with a focus 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. Exam results at Brighton College are consistently strong and place it within the top 10 private schools in England; 96% of GCSE grades were 9–7/A*/A in 2020 and 99% of A level grades were A*–B.

Beyond the classroom, Brighton College offers a wide range of opportunities in sports and the arts. The school is one of the leading sporting schools in the country and in 2020 it opened a new School of Science and Sport, offering a double-height sports hall, rooftop running track and 25-metre swimming pool. Meanwhile, the school calendar is full of a range of music, dance, art and drama events, including annual musical and pupil-directed plays.

The main entry point to Brighton College is at 13 plus (into Year 9). There is an additional entry point at 11 plus (Year 7), with pupils joining Brighton College’s lower school.

Key information for Brighton College

  • Headmaster: Mr Richard Cairns

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

  • County: East Sussex

  • Admissions contact for 11 plus entry: [email protected], 01273 704 200

  • Admissions contact for 13 plus entry: Natasha Merritt, 01273 704 200

  • Age range and gender: 11–18, boys and girls

  • Number of pupils: 1,226

  • Number of places in Year 7 and Year 9: Approximately 80 in Year 7, more in Year 9

  • Ratio of applicants to places: Undisclosed

  • Open day date: Saturday 24th September and Saturday 8th October 2022. Book an open morning place online.

  • Overview of selection procedure for 11 plus: School’s own exam and interview

  • Overview of selection procedure for 13 plus: ISEB Pre-Test, school’s own exam and interviews

  • Registration opens: Currently open for 2023 entry (Year 7) and 2025 entry (Year 9). Get in touch with Brighton College admissions team to ask for a registration form.

  • Registration closes: Mid-November 2022

  • Assessment date for 11 plus: January 2023

  • Assessment date for 13 plus: October–December 2022 (ISEB Common Pre-Test) and February 2023 (school’s own Orientation Day)

  • Scholarship assessment date for 11 plus: January 2023

  • Scholarship assessment date for 13 plus: January–March 2025

Brighton College fees and financial assistance

The termly tuition fees for Year 7 pupils at Brighton College will be £6,830 from 2022. The cost of school tuition rises each year; for applicants at 13 plus entry (Year 9), day fees are currently £8,950 and boarding fees range from £12,960 to £18,250 (UK weekly boarding to overseas full boarding). Fees for both day and boarding pupils include tuition, lunch and personal accident insurance.

Brighton College aims to give more children the opportunity to benefit from its education. Means-tested bursaries (financial assistance) are therefore available for pupils from families who could not normally afford the school fees. Bursaries are available for day places only.

Brighton College also awards scholarships, with successful pupils rewarded with an annual amount deducted from their fees (the exact amount is undisclosed). The following scholarships are also available at 11 plus and 13 plus entry:

  • Academic Scholarship: 11 plus and 13 plus

  • Art Scholarship: 13 plus only

  • Junior Scholarship: 11 plus only: suitable for pupils who are strong academically and have an additional interest in at least one of the five following areas: sport, music, art, dance and drama

  • Chess Scholarship: 11 plus and 13 plus

  • Choral Scholarship: 11 plus and 13 plus

  • Dance Scholarship: 13 plus only

  • Drama Scholarship: 13 plus only)

  • DT Scholarship: 13 plus only

  • Millennium Scholarship: 13 plus only: a stand-alone all-rounder scholarship in a combination of three areas: academic, art, dance, drama, music, sport or service

  • Music Scholarship: 13 plus only

  • Sports Scholarship: 13 plus only

Brighton College term dates

The term dates at Brighton College for 2022–23 are:

  • Autumn term (Michaelmas): 31st August – 7th December 2022

  • Half term: 18th–30th October 2022

  • Spring term (Hilary): 4th January – 24th March 2023

  • Half term: 9th–19th February 2023

  • Summer term (Trinity): 17th April – 30th June 2023

  • Half term: 27th May – 4th June 2023

Admissions process for Year 7 entry to Brighton College

If you are considering Brighton College for your child’s education, the school advises that you attend an open morning or arrange an individual tour and meeting with the Head of Lower School.

Once you have visited the school and decided to apply, you will need to request a registration form from the admissions team and complete this by the beginning of December 2022 at the latest. A non-refundable registration fee of £160 (UK applicants, or £390 for overseas applicants) applies.

All children who are registered will then be invited to the Brighton College 11 plus assessment day in January 2023. Candidates will take three written exams and have two short interviews with a member of the teaching staff. All applicants are automatically assessed for an Academic Scholarship based on the 11 plus papers.

If your child is applying for a Choral, Chess or Junior Scholarship, there will be additional steps in the admissions process including Scholarship assessments or auditions in January 2023. For more information, contact [email protected].

Brighton College will write to families with the outcome of the child’s application in early February 2023. After confirming the offer, the child and his/her family will be invited to return to Brighton College to meet the child’s class during the summer term.

Brighton College 11 plus exam

Children who are registered for 11 plus entry to Brighton College will take three written papers in January:

  • English: this may include reading comprehension, creative writing or a combination of both.

  • Maths: applicants will be assessed on their understanding and application of Key Stage 2 maths.

  • Verbal reasoning: children will be assessed on their ability to solve problems with letters and words.

Admissions process for Year 9 entry to Brighton College

If you are considering Brighton College for your child’s education from the age of 13 onwards, the school recommends that you attend an open morning to view the site and meet members of staff.

Once you have visited the school and made the decision to register your child for 2025 entry, you will need to complete a registration form as soon as possible (Brighton College will be in touch with prep school heads in November 2022 to request a reference for your child). To receive a form, contact the 13 plus admissions registrar.

All children who are registered for a place in Year 9 for 2025 will then be invited to sit the ISEB Common Pre-Test at their school between 1st October and 1st December 2022. Children who perform well in this test will be shortlisted and invited to an Orientation Day at Brighton College on 10th February 2023. This involves both assessments and interviews, as well as taster lessons and activities.

Brighton College will make 13 plus offers for 2025 entry in early March 2023 (while your child is in Year 6). You will have until the beginning of January 2024 (when your child is in Year 7) to accept this offer, following which your child will be invited to a taster day and, closer to starting the school, opportunities to meet their housemaster/housemistress.

If you accept the offer of a place for your child to join Brighton College in Year 9 in 2023, you will be invited to apply for a scholarship. The application process will open in 2024 (when your child is in Year 8) and is slightly different for each award:

  • Academic Scholarship: Applications close in February 2025. Assessments will take place in May 2025.

  • Art & Photography Scholarship: Applications close in December 2024. Assessments will take place in January 2025.

  • Chess Scholarship: Applications close in January 2025. Assessments will take place in March 2025.

  • Choral Scholarship: Applications close in December 2024. Auditions will take place in January 2025.

  • Dance Scholarship: Applications close in December 2024. Auditions will take place in February 2025.

  • Drama Scholarship: Applications close in December 2024. Assessments will take place in January 2025.

  • Design & Technology Scholarship: Applications close in December 2024. Assessments will take place in January 2025.

  • Millennium Scholarship: Applications close in December 2024. Assessments will take place in January 2025.

  • Music Scholarship: Applications close in December 2024. Auditions will take place in January 2025.

  • Sport Scholarship: Applications close in January 2025. Assessments will take place in March 2025.

Brighton College 13 plus exam

If your child is applying for Year 9 entry to Brighton College, they will be asked to sit the ISEB Common Pre-Test at their own school between 1st October and 1st December 2022 (while your child is in Year 6).

Administered by the Independent Schools Examination Board, the Common Pre-Test is an adaptive online exam which covers English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. The English and maths sections are based on the Key Stage 2 national curriculum taught up until the end of Year 5, while verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning assess children’s logical thinking and problem-solving skills.

It takes about two and a half hours to sit all four sections of the ISEB Common Pre-Test:

  • English:: questions test comprehension, spelling, punctuation and grammar.

  • Maths: questions assess the topics of number, measurement, data, algebra and geometry

  • Verbal reasoning: questions are split across six different topics. In 2021, the topics that appeared in the ISEB Common Pre-Test were letter codes, homographs, antonyms, join the words, transfer a letter and number codes.

  • Non-verbal reasoning: questions are split over three topics. In 2021, The topics featured in the ISEB Common Pre-Test last year were pairing shapes, match to a pair and find a code.

Take a look at our complete guide to the ISEB Common Pre-test to help your child prepare for the first stage of the 13 plus entry process for Brighton College. ISEB Common Pre-test: find out everything you need to know

How to help your child prepare for the selection process at Brighton College

Build foundational knowledge

Both the 11 plus and 13 plus exams for entry to Brighton College assess candidates’ knowledge and understanding of Key Stage 2 English, maths and verbal reasoning – as well as non-verbal reasoning for 13 plus entry. Your child can consolidate everything they know with Atom Nucleus, with over 90,000 teacher-created questions and helpful learning resources that span the Key Stage 2 core curriculum, plus verbal and non-verbal reasoning.

Verbal reasoning learning journey on Atom Nucleus

Preparation is key

Familiarisation with the question formats and known styles ahead of the exam is essential to help your child build exam confidence.

An exam preparation subscription with Atom Nucleus enables your child to access quality, unlimited practice material with full score breakdowns to help your child feel confident by the time the exam day comes around.

Atom Learning has adaptive mock tests available for the ISEB Common Pre-test.

Access to immediate support

When working through challenging topics, your child will need immediate clarity with any misconceptions so that they feel truly secure in every topic. Atom Nucleus includes video tutorials, help sheets and examples with every question to help your child build confidence and competence across all the areas assessed.

Maths learning journey on Atom Nucleus

Engage with their progress

Celebrate your child’s improvement in areas of challenge together. An accurate and ongoing assessment of their areas of strength and development is helpful.

As an Atom subscriber, you’ll have a parent dashboard which offers data-driven insights into your child’s progress. You can use this effectively to help your child set targets, see a detailed breakdown of their progress by subtopic and set custom practices to target those they find most challenging.

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Get started with Atom Learning

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We know how crucial this time is, so our team is on hand to support you and your family every step of the way. You can book a call with one of our Education Experts to ask any questions you might have about 11 plus or 13 plus entry to Brighton College:

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