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St Bernard's High School 11 plus: a parents' guide for 2022

School guides

St Bernard’s High School is a Roman Catholic partially-selective school for girls in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex.

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. In 2019, Year 11 students earned a Progress 8 figure of 0.89, which placed the school at the top of those in Southend and within the top 100 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.

11 plus information for St Bernard’s High School

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

  • County: Essex

  • Admissions info: [email protected], 01702 344933

  • School type: partially-selective Catholic Academy

  • Number of pupils: 1,179

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

  • Open day date: Wednesday 5th July 2022, Thursday 6th July 2022

  • Exam board type: Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CSSE)

  • Registration for entry in 2023: 17th May 2022

  • Exam date for entry in 2023: 17th September 2022

  • Deadline for applications for entry in 2023: applications must be submitted by 31st October 2022 to the child's home Local Authority

  • Offers for entry in 2023: 1st March 2023

St Bernard’s High School term dates

The term dates for St Bernard’s High School 2022-23 are:

  • Autumn term: 5th September - 20th December

  • Half term: 24 - 28th October

  • Spring term: 6th January - 31st March

  • Half term: 13th - 17th February

  • Summer term: 17th April - 21st July

  • Half term: 29th May - 2nd June

How and when to apply to St Bernard’s High School

As a bilateral Catholic school, St Bernard’s offers both non-selective and selective places. Applications are made through local authority websites in Year 6. For selective places, applicants need to apply through the Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CSSE) and submit supplementary forms to the school itself.

Registration for CSSE opens in May 2022 and closes in June 2022. The exam date is 17th September 2022 with results on 21st October and St Bernard’s High School expects supplementary forms by 31st October.

St Bernard’s High School 11 plus admissions process

St Bernard’s High School uses an 11 plus exam for its selective places. This is the CSSE Exam, which is set by the Consortium itself.

The pass mark can change from year to year depending on previous success rates. There has been a minimum score of 303 for the 10 schools that use the test. The average standardised score on both papers is 300 so applicants typically must exceed the average, although individual schools can modify criteria.

In cases of oversubscription St Bernard’s applies the following criteria:

  • Catholic children currently or previously in public care

  • Practicing Catholic girls in a number of nearby parishes

  • Other practising Catholic girls

  • Baptised Catholic girls without a Certificate of Catholic Practice from their parish priest

  • Other children currently or previously in public care

  • Eastern Orthodox girls in the priority area

  • Practicing Christian girls attending Catholic Primary schools

  • Practicing Christian girls in the priority area

  • Non-Christian girls in the priority area with the support of their religious leader

  • Applications from girls not in the above categories

As certificates or letters are required from priests and other religious leaders, it may be worth applicants of faith inquiring with their religious leaders what they need to do to qualify.

The CSSE 11 plus exam format and content

Pupils take two papers on the same day:

  • Paper 1: English - reading comprehension, verbal reasoning and creative writing

  • Paper 2: Maths - non multiple-choice questions testing arithmetic, reasoning and problem-solving

The pass mark changes year to year but in previous years a minimum of 303 has been required compared to an average standardised score of 303.

How to prepare your child for the CSSE 11 plus

With St Bernard’s High School and the other CSSE schools typically overly subscribed and a challenging test, we recommend that preparations begin at least a year in advance. Prospective St Bernard’s High School pupils will need to prepare for English, maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning.

The Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex has released familiarisation materials which are a valuable resource to your child ahead of exams.

How Atom can help your child prepare for the St Bernard’s High School 11 plus

Atom Nucleus supports 11 plus preparation by combining cutting-edge technology with the expertise of experienced teachers. We’ve built over 90,000 practice questions, live prep courses, pre-recorded video tutorials and unlimited mock tests in the style and format of the CSSE 11 plus exam.

Atom’s adaptive learning algorithm tailors the ideal learning journey for your child to keep them engaged and challenged while giving you data-driven insights into where they need to focus next.

Start your 5-day free trial of Nucleus today to help your child feel fully prepared for success.


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 may have about the CSSE 11 plus or preparing for St Bernard's High School:

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