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St Bernard's High School 11 plus guide

By Atom | Jun 20, 2023, 4:28 PM

St Bernard's High School, Essex (CSSE)

If you're thinking about registering your daughter for a selective place at St Bernard's High School in Essex, look no further. We've collated everything you need to know about entry in 2024, including how to apply and what's on the 11 plus exam.

About St Bernard's High School

St Bernard’s High School is a Roman Catholic bilateral school for girls in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. While the school is predominantly non-selective, a certain number of places are reserved each year for girls who have passed the 11 plus exam.

Founded by the Bernardine Sisters in 1910 on an existing site, the school has grown to over 900 students and now includes a co-educational sixth form. The school's performance measures at GCSE and A level place it above the national averages and within the top 20% of schools in the country. With a strong religious ethos, its motto is “Love one another as I have loved you”, and there is an emphasis on community and warmth.

  • Address: St Bernard's High School, Milton Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 7JS

  • Local authority: Essex County Council

  • School type: bilateral Catholic girls' school with a mixed sixth form

  • Headteacher: Allison Moise-Dixon

  • Number of pupils: 750+

  • A level results: 51% A*–B

  • GCSE attainment 8 score: 59.75%

Key info for Year 7 admissions

  • Admissions contact: [email protected], 01702 344933

  • Number of places in Year 7: 175 (including 63 selective places)

  • Open evening: Wednesday 5th July 2023, 4–6pm

  • 11 plus registration opens: Thursday 16th May 2023

  • 11 plus registration closes: 30th June 2023

  • Exam date: Saturday 23rd September 2023

  • Exam type: CSSE 11 plus

  • Results posted: 16th October 2023

  • Common application form (CAF) deadline: 31st October 2023

  • National school offer day: 1st March 2024

St Bernard's High School term dates

The term dates for St Bernard's High School in 2023–2024 have not yet been announced. You may find the 2022–2023 term dates useful as a guide:

  • Autumn term: 5th September – 20th December 2022

  • Half term: 24th–28th October 2022

  • Spring term: 6th January – 31st March 2023

  • Half term: 13th–17th February 2023

  • Summer term: 17th April – 21st July 2023

  • Half term: 29th May – 2nd June 2023

How to apply to St Bernard's High School

St Bernard's High School is a bilateral school. This means that only a proportion of places are academically-selective and reserved for children who pass the 11 plus exam. There are 175 places available in Year 7 overall, of which 63 are selective places.

Regardless of the type of place you are applying for, you will need to register for a school place by 31st October 2023. Registration is carried out on the Essex County Council website and you will need to submit the local authority common application form, and the school's supplementary information form (SIF). Where appropriate, your SIF should be supported by a Certificate of Catholic Practice obtained from your Parish Priest.

If you would like your child to be considered for one of the selective places, you will also need to register them to take the 11 plus exam. This is administered by the Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CCSE); registration opens on the CSSE website on Thursday 16th May 2023 and closes on 30th June 2023.

The 11 plus at St Bernard's High School

Girls who are registered for a selective place at St Bernard's High School take the 11 plus exam on Saturday 23rd September 2023. All of the grammar schools in the CSSE take the same exam, which is created and administered by the CSSE itself.

The CSSE 11 plus consists of two papers:

  • English: one hour, with some additional reading time. It comprises questions that test reading comprehension, grammar, vocabulary and applied literacy and verbal reasoning. There will also be two pieces of creative writing.

  • Maths: one hour. Children will be tested on the Key Stage 2 national curriculum, with additional non-verbal and mathematical reasoning questions.

Find out more in our comprehensive guide to the CSSE 11 plus and access free resources to help your child prepare.

CSSE 11 plus: everything you need to know

What is the pass mark for St Bernard's High School?

After your child takes the CSSE exam, a team of independent professional markers will double-mark and check the papers. Some scores will be age-standardised and then the results for each school will be ranked in order.

The pass mark can vary from year to year. In 2022, the pass mark at St Bernard's High School was 303. Selective places are only offered to children who live within the catchment area (see below).

St Bernard's High School catchment area

The catchment area for St Bernard's High School is predominantly within the Southend area. A map is available in the secondary admissions booklet on the Southend-on-Sea City Council website.

St Bernard's High School oversubscription criteria

Up to 63 places will be offered to girls who have passed the CSSE 11 plus and who live within the school priority area. If two or more girls tie for the final selective place, then oversubscription criteria will be applied.

As a Catholic school, St Bernard's High School prioritises practising Catholic children whose application is supported by a Certificate of Catholic Practise from their Parish Priest. Preference will also be given to Catholic children in public care, Catholic children with a sibling either at St Bernard's High School or St Thomas More High School, and to Catholic children who live closest to the school (measured by a straight line).

Full details are available in the school's admission policy.

How to help your child prepare for the 11 plus

Here are our top tips on how to best prepare your child for the CSSE 11 plus.

Cover all the content

The 11 plus assesses a large breadth and depth of learning objectives across the Key Stage 2 national curriculum and beyond.

We recommend that your child starts revising content at least one year before the test. Setting aside study periods using a 'little and often' approach will give them time to build the skills and knowledge they need. When preparing, avoid falling into the trap of over-focusing on either the topics your child enjoys or the topics they find hardest.

Atom Nucleus is an 11 plus online course that tailors your child's personalised learning journey to cover all elements of the CSSE at the right pace for them.

No surprises

Your child will encounter lots of unfamiliar types of questions in the 11 plus exam. Building exam technique with 11 plus test papers will help your child to feel fully confident with the styles of questions they'll encounter in the exam, reducing the potential for stress on the day.

Celebrate their progress

Setting regular goals and celebrating achievements will help keep motivation high. Atom Nucleus offers data-driven insights into your child’s progress towards mastering the 11 plus curriculum, making it easy to see where they need to focus next.

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Personalised 11 plus prep for your child

Wondering how to make sure your child covers the depth and breadth of the entire 11 plus curriculum, 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 Nucleus is the award-winning online 11 plus practice platform that gives your child everything they need to prepare for grammar school exams.

Children work independently through over 90,000 interactive practice questions in English, maths and 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.

CSSE 11 plus practice papers

Atom Nucleus gives children access to unlimited online practice papers. Our online tests are designed to mirror the format and style of the real CSSE 11 plus, so your child will go into the exam knowing exactly what to expect.

And what's more, everything is automatically marked for you.

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Personalised 11 plus support for you

We know how keen you are for your child to do well in the 11 plus, to give them every chance of securing a place at their school of choice. Our dedicated team of Education Experts are on hand to support you and your family every step of the way:

Ask us anything

We're happy to help with any questions you may have about admissions processes and helping your child prepare for entry to Essex schools.

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