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The children are focused and engaged, polite and sparky – the eldest ones very aware of the regular exams and what hangs on them. Prep school kids are in silence as they snake in single file across the road to the main college. They do have an enormous amount of fun too; the teaching is inspiring and embellished with plenty of non-curriculum activities – from sleeping overnight on the Golden Hinde II in London to dancing with…

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What the school says...

A vibrant, all-action family school, Brighton College Prep School is well known for its welcoming atmosphere and its high standard of pastoral care. We want our pupils both to enjoy school and to be inspired to achieve their full potential. Drawing upon our own outstanding resources, as well as those of the senior school, we provide a very wide range of opportunities and ensure that these are underpinned, always, with the greatest support and encouragement.

We aim to help each pupil to build a warm and strong character. The pursuit of whole-hearted effort is our priority; whilst the school praises and encourages high standards of achievement. We believe that what you are is even more important than what you achieve.

The prep school provides a superb, all-round education that stimulates, challenges and captivates. The excellent academic curriculum is complemented by a wealth of sport, music, creative and performing arts and a wide range of extra-curricular activities; trips, activities and competitions abound. Most of our pupils transfer to Brighton College Senior School.
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What The Good Schools Guide says

Headmaster

Since October 2017, John Weeks, previously head of the London Academy of Excellence, and deputy head of Brighton College. Read economics at Durham then qualified as a maths teacher at Sheffield. He arrived at Brighton College soon afterwards, where he has been maths teacher, housemaster, head of year and head of maths before becoming deputy head.

Entrance

Main entries at 3+ and 6+ with assessment in maths, English and verbal reasoning plus observation. Special arrangements for dyslexic pupils, with recent educational ed psych report. Travel via the same buses that serve the college– a third of the children live in town, a third from Hove and the rest come from Lewes, Worthing, Shoreham, Hassocks etc.

Exit

Over 90 per cent to Brighton College, having taken CE on a par with outsiders. The rest to eg Bede's and Battle Abbey. About four children a year leave early, 50 per cent financial reasons, 50 per cent deciding to settle into a school that is not so academically ambitious, with advice from the school. We have reports of the school assessments assuming increasing importance, with some pupils having a tutor - many of whom chose the school because of its excellent learning support.

Our view

Compact, busy campus near the college; the two are very closely linked – the little ones walk across in reflective silence for lunch, chapel and games. The children are focused and engaged, polite and sparky – the eldest ones very aware of regular exams and what hangs on them. ‘Why are we doing this when it has nothing to do with CE?’ asked one, when being taught some tools for writing an essay. The school uses a metaphor for twice yearly exams as series of little hurdles rather than the Grand National. The achievement grades have been rejigged recently, aiming to make them more easily comparable with CE percentages; it may feel a bit bumpy initially for the kids who are struggling to hit the marks necessary for entry to the college.

They have an enormous amount of fun too; the teaching is inspiring and embellished with plenty of non-curriculum activities – from sleeping overnight on the Golden Hinde II in London to dancing with Kenyan Maasai. Three forms per year from year 2, each with 20-22 pupils. Latin for top set in years 7 and 8. A buddy system makes for good cross-year peer support; prefect and pre-prep reading groups cover wet break in classrooms. Normally they are outside on the playgrounds, kicking balls and shrieking about – although lunches are also used to squeeze in a mime class (60 per cent of the school do LAMDA), or to catch up on some work in the ICT room.

Four houses compete in sport, drama, debating etc. Pastoral care is well organised, with spreadsheets covering achievements, pastoral concerns and public recognition, ensuring that every child gets an acknowledgement – whether it is the Pelican Feather for kindness for the little ones or a Headmaster’s Show up in the weekly newsletter. Some parents feel the flip side of this effective documentation is a tendency to pigeonhole or label kids, whether as dyslexic, dyspraxic, having a processing problem or as a scholar. All of these are well catered for here – there is a small dyslexia centre and two full time SENCos as well as strong connections to the main centre in the college. A maximum of nine pulled out third set English or French lessons for each SEN group, with 12 or so students left, so both clusters benefit from more focused attention.

The children begin their days with assembly in the main hall four mornings a week. It is also used for rehearsals, art displays and, when we visited, storing the Christmas shoeboxes for communities in Eastern Europe as well as local hospices. Music is marvellous here – from the accomplished chamber choir rehearsal we heard in the main hall to the junior wind group squeaking their way through Jingle Bells. Recent choir trips were to Disneyland and Barcelona.

The nursery and pre-prep has its own building (ex-St Mary’s Hall, ex-Roedean Junior). Gorgeous light classrooms, well-stocked library and IT room, a big playing field as well as a playground out the back, and all look jolly in sweatshirts for nursery, smart uniforms for reception and upwards. Specialist teaching includes music, PE, art, Mandarin and French. Weekly swimming from year 1 up, competitive matches for year 3 and a huge variety of clubs run by outside coaches and teachers. Among the school council’s achievements has been the idea for three new after-school clubs (Horrible History, singing, and calligraphy) and adding chicken curry and treacle pudding to the lunch menu.

The little ones in year 4 do projects every three weeks, getting passionate about making a video on volcanos erupting or designing a tooth hygiene poster. The library is a converted chapel, bright and well used as an alternative ICT room and for English lessons, children reading on the beanbags in the corner (as long as you write a book report…) One of the two science labs has a veritable menagerie of pets – from snakes to rabbits. Pet club members love to take some home at the weekend. There’s a wonderful home economics room, with tasty ingredients laid out and recipes published in the weekly newsletter– as ever, the most popular is pizza.

The art and DT departments are also impressive, with projects including a clock for the playground and a sign for the revamped Brighton train station (the children wrote a letter and got shown around). The work looks fabulous and the kids seem to love it – they are aware they may get an art or DT scholarship if they put together a portfolio.

Sport is spread all over the town but minibuses nip back and forth and there is a huge range of team abilities – one main sport for boys and girls each term but always clubs on offer, with boys and girls recently playing hockey on the Astroturf. New climbing wall. The director of sport organises several football tournaments and athletics matches each year for boys and girls from local primary schools. You couldn’t possibly try everything that is available, since the buses leave at 4.45pm each day. Homework is restricted to two subjects for 30 minutes each for years 7 and 8 (less for the other year groups), with one additional Latin prep at the weekend. A prep diary ensures that this is documented for parents and teachers - it also helps the children learn self-organisation.

Special Education Needs

Brighton College specialises in helping bright dyslexic children to achieve their academic potential whilst 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 two schools of Brighton College: the Nursery, Pre-Prep & Prep School and the College. 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, full members of the dyslexia centre receive all their English lessons in the centre in groups no larger than nine. In addition, most dyslexic pupils substitute 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
Aspergers
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia
Dysgraphia
Dyslexia Y
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

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