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You don’t have to arrive here as a fully formed boffin. ‘We’re definitely not as selective as top London schools,’ says Mr Cairns. Desire to do well, having a spark, being funny, quick and kind (mentioned repeatedly, something of a school mantra) can certainly help during the admissions process. That said, this is a fast-paced environment. ‘My mum says school is on speed, there’s so much going on,’ says a pupil. Laurels are added to, not rested on, a strong work ethic is a given and...

 

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What the school says...

Brighton College is one of the country’s leading independent schools for girls and boys aged 3-18. The College regularly achieves the best A-level and GCSE results of any co-educational school in the UK, whilst ensuring children enjoy a wealth of extracurricular opportunities. Renowned for its focus on kindness, the College also excels in art, music, dance, drama and sporting achievements.

Recently named 'England's Independent School of the Year 2019' by The Sunday Times, the second time in a decade it has won this prestigious award, Brighton College has also been called ‘Britain's most forward-thinking school' and ‘Top in Britain for STEM’ by The Week.
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Sports

Unusual sports

Equestrian centre or equestrian team - school has own equestrian centre or an equestrian team.

Fencing

Shooting

What The Good Schools Guide says

Head master

Since 2006, Richard Cairns MA (first class history degree from Oxford). Previously Usher of Magdalen College School Oxford (1999-2005). Before that, head of history at Stewart’s Melville College Edinburgh, which he joined from the Oratory School.

A quiet, authoritative leader who’s very much in charge, masterminding operations from a gorgeous office in the main building. He’s also a first class publicist for the school. ‘The Cairns touch’, as it’s described in school literature (and elsewhere), has ensured the college’s reputation has rolled inland to reach those affluent London families who now make up a growing proportion of the pupils here and (increasingly) are in the majority at open days.

Headline hitters include introduction of gender neutral uniform policy and compulsory Mandarin (school was a trail blazer for both). ‘Like John Lewis, we never knowingly undersell ourselves,’ Mr Cairns was reported to have told alumni (he doesn’t disagree when we ask for confirmation).

Behind the image, the reality is a head who commands huge respect from parents, some won over almost in spite of themselves when they meet him. ‘Avoids platitudes.’ ‘A deep thinker.’ Even his round robin letters are well read - and praised (a real rarity). ‘Find myself touched and quite interested,’ said surprised-sounding mother. ‘Legendary,’ says one. ‘As good as you think he is.’

We heard also of great kindness behind the scenes in supporting families in distress. ‘Genuinely inspirational and as approachable as he can be in a school with a lot of kids,’ says parent.

He has complete clarity about what ensures the school’s success. It’s down, he says, to making it ‘a place of scholarship, inspiration, excitement,’ where ‘the fun comes out of learning’. Essential to have top class teachers (buildings, however lovely, come a distant second). Canny recruitment includes advertising in Oxbridge college bars and offering would-be teachers a decent salary, no need for a PGCE and, says Mr Cairns, ‘bigging up’ Brighton’s cool vibe. Throw in accommodation (school owns and rents out some nearby houses at a bargain price) and it’s been a huge success - the school now gets up to 50 applications for hard to fill STEM subjects.

In person, softly spoken and understated (in contrast to high profile public image) and he clearly adores the job. The best moments ‘are with the pupils.’ He dines regularly with them to help understand what they worry about and asks what they’d like to change. Focuses on making them feel ‘loved, valued and safe’ - and instilling a sense of curiosity – a legacy from his late grandmother. ‘She said the reason she lived so long was that she kept asking questions.’

Pupils are impressed that that he goes out of his way to spend time with them when he’s on site – and by his phenomenal memory. A week after he saw a pupil looking for his phone, ‘I bumped into him and he asked if I’d found it.’

They describe him as akin to the CEO of a large firm – recent initiative has been the creation of a wildly successful state sixth form college – the London Academy of Excellence - in East London, which selects students based on background and ability and gets sponsors to offer financial support.

‘He is the vision – staff are there to enact it,’ said one. ‘Innovative, every time you speak to him he’s thinking about a way he can improve the school.’ ‘Asks us what’s not quite right, very engaged.’ ‘Really connects with people.’ Summed up in three words? ‘Passionate, forward thinking, engaging.’

Entrance

Competition for places is very different from London pressures, says Mr Cairns. School is looking for pupils ‘on the bright side of average... anyone in top two sets at [leading London prep] would stand a good chance.’ Potential counts – much is made of government data proving that pupils make more progress here than at top schools to achieve top A level results. Has 45-50 ‘main’ feeders, including school’s own preps – Brighton College Prep, Handcross Park and St Christopher’s. Thomas’s (Clapham and Battersea) and Fulham Prep feature among the London schools. Local schools in Surrey, Sussex in Kent include Sevenoaks Prep, Westbourne House, Windlesham House, Cumnor House, Bede’s Prep, Feltonfleet, Hazelwood School, Holmewood House, Marlborough House and Pennthorpe.

Always has some spare places put by, says Mr Cairns, ‘because I want a mix. We keep places aside for late developers, summer birthdays and anyone recommended by a prep or primary school who may not be good at a pre-test but is a lovely person or a real giver or good at maths.’

Pupils sit ISEB pre-tests and the school’s own exams (maths, English, NVR and VR) and have two meetings with member of staff. Prep school pupils take CE or CAS.

At 11+ (when pupils join lower school) 50-55 places are available. Pupils are assessed in VR, NVR, English and maths - look for a standardised score just above national average (110). Main intake of 180 is at 13+ - pupils made conditional offers after sitting ISEB Common Pre-tests in year 6 (if not offered at current school, can take them at the school in year 7). Places confirmed after have sat Common Entrance.

Potential sixth formers sit reasoning, maths and a general paper, followed by interviews. Conditional offers (based on GCSE grades) made in December of year 11. For overseas candidates, arrangements can normally be made to sit assessments at current schools.

Exit

Once here, pupils are never asked to leave before their time. ‘We guarantee every 13-year-old a sixth form place,’ says Mr Cairns. Pupils agreed (other schools, it was suggested, were in the frame for rumour-spreading – references to ‘annual culling’, say the school and pupils are completely innacurate). ‘I do not know a single person to whom that’s happened,’ said sixth former.

When they do leave, it’s from choice. Stay on into the sixth form and there’s no question that you’ll be helped to do well. However, they ‘do tell you what to do,’ said a pupil. While this undoubtedly adds huge reassurance to many families, it can feel like golden handcuffs to others who want something a bit less intense.

Together with Oxbridge, Bristol, Leeds, Exeter, Manchester and UCL are most popular destinations. In 2020, 28 to Oxbridge, 14 medics and dentists, top subjects economics, history, geography and English.

Latest results

In 2020, 97 per cent 9/7 at GCSE; 86 per cent A*/A at A level (99 per cent A*/B). In 2019 (the last year when exams took place), 94 per cent 9/7 at GCSE; 83 per cent A*/A at A level (97 per cent A*/B).

Teaching and learning

You don’t have to arrive here as a fully formed boffin. ‘We’re definitely not as selective as top London schools,’ says Mr Cairns. Desire to do well, having a spark, being funny, quick and kind (mentioned repeatedly, something of a school mantra) can certainly help during the admissions process.

That said, this is a fast-paced environment. ‘My mum says school is on speed, there’s so much going on,’ says a pupil. Laurels are added to, not rested on, a strong work ethic is a given and impressive turn of phrase a notable feature (not surprising that staff team includes a head of critical thinking). ‘Is there a direct correlation between economic growth and free will?’ we heard one a year 9 pupil ask another during a lesson.

Self-starters have a definite advantage. ‘If a child is going to need to be pushed to get anything done, there will be years of strife,’ says parent. Levels of homework demand considerable weekend sacrifice, for example. Add in a few activities and working days can easily stretch over 12 hours.

Parents, similarly, expect great things. ‘Oxbridge is in many people’s sights,’ says one. Some express concerns about the pressure though school felt this could give the wrong impression. While pupils set their own goals, it says, ‘we don’t put pressure on the pupils if they do not have a goal themselves.’ Every pupil we spoke to felt that while you work hard, you do it for yourself. One stressed that she’d never felt overwhelmed and put it down to ‘an atmosphere of niceness which isn’t seen by other people.’

With GCSE results like these, nobody (unsurprisingly) has anything much but praise for the quality of the teaching – though parents did wonder how the staff coped with what must be a fairly high-pressure working environment. Class sizes are kept to maximum of 22 (halved for languages, arts and DT), but considerably smaller in the sixth form, with a low pupil to staff ratio (five to one).

Helps, think parents, that many teachers (average age around 40, 21 who have been at the school for a decade or more) are young, including some fresh out of university, love their subject and are willing to put in the extra hours – fast response to emails, available to talk to during prep sessions and subject clinics laid on (maths probably the best attended). Ad hoc help also available if needed. ‘Asked if teacher would mind teaching me on Saturday morning and he was just so willing. It’s amazing to have teachers who are willing to arrange timetables to help you,’ says pupil.

Parents report that normally taciturn offspring ‘come home talking about what they’ve learned.’ (Must be helped by the presentation skills lessons, compulsory for all). Stand out subjects (English and chemistry feature on best of the best list) can be ‘beyond outstanding’ and vast majority of lessons are ‘lively and interesting,’ often moving well beyond the curriculum essentials. The Creative Learning Centre is banked with cameras, so lessons and presentations can be filmed and shared (one history session which – we were told – used wheelie chairs to re-enact battle formations, surely deserves a wider audience).

Art and DT equally exciting. We watched year 10 pupils creating a group work in the long, light art room, chalking their response to music on a large sheet of paper while, in DT, year 9s created Easter egg holders out of cardboard, origami masterpieces that (bar one wonky lid) would have reassured the most anxious of Humpty Dumptys. ‘Everyone has a creative spark,’ insisted dynamic teacher, surrounded by entries for the Leonardo competition, which suggested that some might need to dig deeper than others – one entry (a gorgeous blend of kittens, rainbows, enhanced with a row of little lights) contrasting with another – a full size traffic cone.

Interests, even if niche, are catered for. With linguists able to study up to three languages at GCSE including Russian and (of course) Mandarin and dance, photography, PE and computing are also on the menu, making that final choice can be agonising.

At A level (choice of almost 30), sixth formers follow their interests, leading to an eclectic mix of subjects - one had opted for biology, history and drama. All choose four subjects (unusually, can drop one from the second term onwards) and everyone studies school’s own history and politics course, ‘Our Human Story’ (modified version ‘Story of our Land’ is taught in the lower school) which attempts to decipher impact of current events on pupils’ futures (and must have the fastest-changing content of any subject). Stunningly successful.

At this stage lessons have a substantial input from pupils. ‘It feels very student led [with] the pupils involved in deciding where and what you do in addition to the curriculum.’ Reasons for choosing subjects many, varied (and occasionally tongue in cheek). Politics: ‘get to have debates - great because I like the sound of my own voice.’ Drama: ‘fun, awesome class.’ Economics: ‘Interesting how the logic and reasoning impacts on people’s decision making.’

Budding business innovators are currently supported with skills development and a ‘Dragons Den’ style competition and the goal for the future is to up the number of more vocational sixth form courses so the school can appeal to ‘quirky, entrepreneurial children for whom doing three or four A levels is not of interest,’ says Mr Cairns.

Over 100 pupils have additional learning needs including profound hearing loss, others with ADHD, autism and specific learning difficulties. All will have IEPs (individual education plans). Much English and maths support, provided either by specialist teachers at the learning centre (timetabled small group lessons) or as add-on sessions with college teachers.

Ad hoc one to one assistance with study skills and organisation offered but pupils – who stressed that bright children who struggled shouldn’t be put off from applying here – felt that social skills support in particular stood out, making sure pupils ‘feel included, know how to respond...and don’t struggle socially.’ We also thought inclusivity was well served by making touch typing lessons compulsory for all younger pupils, not just those with SEN.

Previous rave reviews for dyslexia provision were backed up by a current pupil who urged others with specific learning difficulties to apply. ‘People should realise that as someone with learning differences who has struggled quite a lot you can thrive here.’

Sport

Outstanding range of activities spanning the conventional to the highly original. Two additional activity periods are timetabled each day, though much also goes on before and after school. With so much choice the emphasis is on pupils to organise themselves with help from personal tutors if they’re feeling overwhelmed.

Games feature large - compulsory through the school and taking up around three hours a week. On site space isn’t huge so most pitches (rugby, netball and football) are a five minutes’ minibus away – not that it gets in the way of success. While the school doesn’t hand out special blazers to top teams as ‘they are part of what we do,’ says the head (and temptation to print DofE progress figures on the back might in any case be overwhelming), results suggest it’s doing just fine with the normal kit. Particularly strong in netball (top team holds regional and county titles) and rugby (last major title – according to school literature, was in 2016 – updates presumably on the way).

Ethos, says school, is ‘sport for everyone,’ with 90 per cent of year nine and year 10 pupils playing in school fixtures. With teams running A to F, anyone who loves a sport but isn’t a shining star should get a match but, mercifully for those who don’t, school will offer alternatives for anyone ‘who really [does] not want to play a particular sport.’ Given that options span the gamut from athletics to Zumba, chances are that everyone can end up within (mobile) comfort zone.

Most teams, bar water polo and athletics, are single sex but ‘gender divide is breaking down – now part of day to day life,’ says pupil. There’s growing enthusiasm for dance, highly rated by growing numbers of boys (100 currently dance) and girls for combination of power and flexibility – and, under dynamic head of dance, it wins awards – recent ‘best choreography’ win at local dance festival.

Music is similarly high profile, with 25 ensembles and 680 music lessons each week (beginners to diploma level), 70 performances and events each year. Groups range from boarders’ rock group to swing ensemble (featuring sax-playing head of music), extra inspiration provided by masterclasses for top performers, and musician in residence, one a recent Young Musician of the Year winner.

For rehearsals, there’s a recently added suite of 10 practice rooms, acoustically separate, music only audible in linked corridor. For performance, there’s an attractive hall, recently completed, with gorgeous lighting and flexible raked seating.

Subject related clubs - dissection to drama offer ‘options for everyone.’ Pupils’ own initiatives are also encouraged, currently ranging from the appeal of conspiracy theories (understanding, not joining in) to crosswords (concise or cryptic). Other current highlights (with teachers, too) include ‘Werewolves’, involving deductive skills and hidden killers.

Many pupils are impressively motivated to give back. ‘An important statement of what we’re about, we’re part of society, not apart from it,’ says Mr Cairns. All pupils undertake some form of community work. This could be CCF of DofE, while others opt for volunteering programmes where initiatives range from involvement in Make a Difference (MAD) week (pays to avoid clashes with other schools as ‘communities can only take so much goodwill at once,’ says witty sixth former) to supporting the homeless and dementia suffers to teaching maths and English to Syrian refugees.

Pupils (boarders in particular) can become deeply involved, like the group of six who travelled to Calais to work with refugees. And when the school recruited a drama coach to boost new debating society’s success (they reached a competition final in the first year) one sixth former, realising that state schools could potentially lose out, was awarded a grant from the school to make free on-line resources available to all.

Boarders

The number of boarders, vast majority weekly but can stay for Friday nights at no extra charge, has increased. Now up to six houses, all but one on site, with plans to open two more. About 40 per cent of sixth formers board – overall there’s a 50/50 split between day pupils and boarders.

Every pupil is part of vertical boarding family (single sex), each with its own idiosyncratic name (‘Lellikelly’ and ‘Hurrican Laura’) featured in homemade posters up the stairs and become so close knit that though sixth formers can opt for their own co-ed boarding house, most don’t.

While we only saw one boarding house (pressure of time), we’re assured by pupils and parents afterwards that its general gorgeousness and glamour is the norm, courtesy of rolling refurb programme.

Bedrooms (maximum three beds, upper sixth have single rooms) have plentiful pale wood storage (termly room change ensure that social mix is given a regular stir). So coordinated is the look that duvet covers, boarders’ own, inject a note of almost shocking individuality. Near perfection marred only by slightly clouded appearance of main road-facing windows but it’s sea salt, not traffic pollution, we’re assured.

Communal areas boast floor to ceiling bookcases in oh so contemporary light greens and vast, custom built sofas (none of your mismatching and end of range fill ins here). Even the bowls of fruit look as if they’ve been curated. Instagram friendly? Not a doubt. ‘Very home like,’ says staff member (this reviewer’s home, however, several taster pots short of the full colour palette).

The boarding experience is a box of delights. Pupils have the run of the place, with weekend access to practice rooms, and activities spanning (over one weekend) yoga, water polo and zumba to volunteering, a trip to the Harry Potter experience and a cinema night (with hot chocolate).

Pastoral care is sensible rather than overbearing, with a strong phone policy. Years 7-11 only have free use of phones between 4.30 and 9.30pm (not overnight). Any calls to parents during the day must be made from boarding parents’ office. Beyond desire to scrap compulsory breakfast and allow older pupils to make their own, little in the way of complaint. Nice additional touches include mentoring for new pupils and opening the school earlier for boarders to ease travel arrangements.

‘Excellent balance between standing on own two feet and right amount of pastoral care,’ thought one parent.

Ethos and heritage

One of what feels like a magic circle of schools exercising almost mesmeric effect over parents. Was one pupil really heard to say (as reported by parent) that, ‘The school is my destiny’?

We wouldn’t be surprised, given pupils’ extreme positivity. ‘Nice and sunny even when it’s raining,’ says one. Even a cracked glass door (a rare imperfection) was cause for celebration and it’s catching. We found ourselves agreeing that, yes, the all-over crazing ‘actually does look better’.

It can all feel a bit cult-like – not that prospective parents are put off. ‘When you walk around the senior school you can just see interactions between staff and pupils, between pupils, the way they speak to each other, the language they use. I want my child to experience that,’ says one.

The College, is a Victorian Gothic jewel designed in the 1840s by Sir George Gilbert Scott (of St Pancras Station fame), in what we’d originally described as quite a gritty part of Brighton. (School, less than keen on our choice of vocab, agrees that while the bingo hall next door ‘can misleadingly give this impression...Kemptown is filled with boutique shops and local food suppliers’ and property prices are some of the highest in the city).

Arrive at the school and you’ll instantly realise that you’re in the hands of branding experts when you’re greeted by the friendly front of house team sporting suits in can’t-miss-it school blue, yellow waistcoats and even shiny buttons with the school crest. Recently revamped - all staff are delighted. ‘Less security staff, more concierge,’ extolled one. And if that’s the goal, it’s been triumphantly achieved.

The main entrance gives on to a lawned quad, a fine weather favourite at lunchtime, though there are plenty of other places to relax in including Smith’s Cafe, which serves light snacks as a space filler before dinner (spring rolls and buns feature on eclectic menu).

The attention to detail is a marvel, tidiness at epic levels, original buildings like the library (galleries and Gothic window, well-stocked and well used) and the chapel (where visiting former pupils search for their old seats) an attractive oasis of calm. But what makes the layout so pleasing is the way newer buildings have been thoughtfully integrated. Opened by politicians from varied shades of the political spectrum - Charles Kennedy and Ed Balls among them, they’re varied, gorgeous and all beautifully appointed thanks to a one in, one out buildings policy (no Portakabins or 60s buildings rotting gently in the shade here).

In addition to the Confucius Centre and the Yeoh Building, a focus for creativity, the current star of the show is the new sports and science building that runs, long and low, up the side of the sports field and is already a darling of the architectural press. Opens up activities quite literally – interior and exterior glass walls mean that everyone is on public view.

Pupils’ doubts about ‘doing Zumba and seeing rowing machines next to you,’ are now banished. ‘Thought it would be odd but you can focus.’ Fitness suite, in so many schools a rather dark, uninviting place off to the side, is light, well laid out (equipment is thoughtfully placed, rather than squashed in) and - while currently attracting more boys – exponentially increasing appeal to girls. ‘Not hostile, a gym for everyone,’ says pupil.

Serious learning also goes on here, though science labs (purple and black) could be confused for ubercool cocktail bar). Other highlights include a sky garden (TellyTubby-ish bright green grass and flying saucer domes – actually for ventilation) and – very popular with boarders - a small cinema with super-comfortable chairs and stunning views (officially ‘an auditorium – connecting to universities across the globe’, a worthy purpose that – strangely - came a distant second to the prospect of hot chocolate and Netflix).

And there’s more, much more. With other highlights including indoor sprint track, heated pool (delightfully tropical on day of visit owing to faulty thermostat), Camper Van cafe, and a sports hall that’s genuinely different (a first), ditching tyranny of the right angle for geometric variety, you could have a great day out and never leave the building.

University campuses, in consequence, are starting to feel distinctly underwhelming by comparison. ‘Older sister has warned me not to expect too much,’ says sixth former.

Next on the agenda is ambitious plan to be carbon neutral by 2023. Fleet of electric minibuses is on the way, food waste is already properly recycled (instead of the bin bags of shame, destined for landfill). Beef may disappear from the school menu (biggest environmental despoiler) and a heat exchanger is reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Will it prove another headline grabber? We’d take a small bet on it.

Pastoral care, inclusivity and discipline

Supportive vertical house system (separate houses for girls and boys and day and boarding pupils) works well, with housemasters/mistresses in charge of teams of tutors, each leading a 15-strong group of pupils. ‘Can’t fault it,’ says parent.

Small site a huge benefit. Room to get away if it all gets too much (‘It’s like having 80 sisters here - so many people you can rely on. [...] Sometimes it can get a bit much but there’s always space to get away.’ However, if you’re struggling, it will be picked up, feel pupils who cited head of house, matron – and older pupils (‘often the first to talk to rather than friends’) as first ports of call if they had a problem. Prepared to take direct action, too – one matron all set to protest, pupil reported to us, after she was shouted at during CCF training.

We met several pupils who had started off at other schools, moved here and were deliriously happy, as were others had opted for school over top single sex alternatives. They felt listened to, able to be themselves and express this with an impressive maturity. ‘We’re encouraged to have beliefs and develop an understanding of the consequences,’ says pupil.

In particular, they praise the absence of labels. ‘At other schools there’s someone who is the gay kid or the autistic kid... here there’s such a great awareness of what’s socially acceptable to say. Children are comfortable in their own skin.’

Mr Cairns recently asked a group of sixth formers ‘if there was anything they had done in their live that nobody knows about. One pupil came out as gay over dinner, got a round of applause and conversation carried on as if nothing had happened.’

But while tolerance is a feature of life here, head stresses that the school’s approach is rooted in tradition – ‘Forward thinking but not liberal.’ So, while in theory there’s freedom of choice over uniform (trouser and skirt option to available to all), the vast majority stick to convention.

Rules overall aren’t harsh and are generally observed, though we heard, from parents, of the occasional infringement – school thought to turn the occasional blind eye. Pupils couldn’t possibly comment on whether, for example, they ever visited the beach, strictly out of bounds for all (though we’d hazard a guess that the school has a clear idea, whether acknowledged or not).

‘Good and prompt at dealing with bullying,’ say parents. Teachers make a huge difference – one parent felt there were many examples of ‘when they’ve intervened in situations, or personally looked out for a child and gone way beyond the extra mile.’ Pupils look out for others, too. One teacher, who’d been on crutches was ‘blown away by how many people offered to help.’

Pupils and parents

Former pupils don’t (so far) include many big names from the world of business – but they undoubtedly will – many social entrepreneurs among them, if current pupils are anything to go by. Plenty from the worlds of sport and art, ranging from Sir Michael Hordern (actor) and David Nash (artist) to Matt Prior (England cricketer).

Families today are a mix of locals (Sussex, Kent and Surrey) and, increasingly, Londoners. Most have what the school describes as ‘a broad British background’, though embrace many cultures and many pupils are ‘fluent in multiple languages’ – and, if the ones we met were anything to go by - highly articulate in all of them. A few expats (currently under 30), with around 160 overseas pupils from the USA, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Russia and Singapore.

Manners are universally good, praised by locals. ‘Always move off the pavement [for parents] walking with a buggy.’ Many of the girls – as so often in co-ed – looked as if they had spent hours on their appearance though the school stresses that girls can’t wear make up unless they’re in the sixth form. Those we spoke to, however, stressed absence of pressure to achieve daily perfection. ‘There’s no expectation to look any way at all. The only makeup I wear is mascara and mostly I don’t bother,’ says one.

Expect greater diversity in the future as school’s ambition to widen access takes off, through ‘Opening Doors’ scholarship programme (currently reserves 20 free day sixth form places for local, disadvantaged children).

Money matters

Weekly boarders who stay on for the odd weekend aren’t charged for the privilege. All 11+ candidates automatically assessed for academic scholarships as part of the process. Sport, music, art, dance or drama choral and (unusually) a chess scholarship also offered.

Similar awards at 13+ (180 places) with the addition of DT, plus Millennium Scholarship for allrounders. Sixth formers offered academic, sports, creative arts and (from September 2020) the school will offer scholarships for disadvantaged local children. Has already supported two Syrian refugees with scholarships, one going on to Oxford.

The last word

Glowing with self-confidence and success but with a strong social conscience (and brilliant at self-promotion) this is a school that knows precisely what it’s about. Energetic, motivated and hard-working children will breathe in the ethos along with the ozone and feel instantly at home. Not the place for passengers.

Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

Who came from where

Who goes where

Special Education Needs

Brighton College specialises in helping bright dyslexic children to achieve their academic potential whilst, at the same time, providing them with a stimulating environment in which to develop their strengths and talents. The school has its own Dyslexia Centre which supports children from each of the three schools of Brighton College: the Pre-Prep School, the Prep School and the Senior School. Up to the end of Year 6, pupils receive a combination of in-class support in English and small group withdrawal for specialist teaching. From Year 7 onwards, full members of the Dyslexia Centre receive all their English lessons in the Centre in groups no larger than 9. In addition, most (but not all) dyslexic pupils substitute their modern languages time for additional support. For those pupils whose needs require less support, ad hoc provision is available. In the sixth form, an AS/A Level study skills course is available, together with individual support lessons. Pupils with other Special Educational Needs are the responsibility of the three Special Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs). The school is always happy to discuss individual needs with parents, although it recognises that the level of provision it can currently offer may not be sufficient to support all Special Educational Needs. The school has a separate department for the support of those pupils whose first language is not English.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia
Dysgraphia
Dyslexia
Dyspraxia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Genetic
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

Who came from where


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