An academically-driven sixth form college in North London offering A Levels and GCSEs, which is ranked among the top schools in the UK for value-add and offers excellent support for university applications.
This selective sixth form college London sits top of the league tables and is most suited for students with high academic achievement and a ‘study hard’ ethic. It is particularly proud of the academic achievement that it delivers, being within the top 2% of schools nationally when it comes to the progress students make academically at A Levels.
Brampton will appeal to those students looking for a small, standalone sixth form (there are just 220 students and it is focused on Years 11-13 only), and it is popular with international students for good reason.
Principal Bernard Canetti founded the college himself in 2004; it was developed from a tuition centre that he first set up in the 1980s. His focus is on helping individual student to “succeed in their aspirations and achieve their best possible exam results” and his approach focuses on having the right teaching staff, offering individual help and regular testing. Individual tutorials are also available in major subject areas.
The college was rated Outstanding in its most recent Ofsted and ISI inspections. In 2021, ISI inspectors praised Brampton for “fostering high academic outcomes and at the same time boosting students’ capacity for vigorous independent academic effort and personal organisation”.
Brampton is a dedicated sixth form college that offers a range of one or two year A Level courses, as well as one-year GCSE courses. One of its strengths is its wide choice of A Level options, and its “extensive programme of individual support, mentoring and enrichment activities”.
The list of options is varied and covers both traditional and non-traditional subjects, including English, maths, biology, physics, chemistry, psychology, art, geography, history, German, French, Latin, photography, politics, psychology, art, and economics. Many students also complete the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), and there are dedicated programmes for Oxbridge and medicine and dentistry students.
While the focus at Brampton is very much on A Levels, there is a small department for GCSEs and A Level retakes. Students who choose the college for GCSE may benefit from its higher level of individual guidance than a larger school. It’s popular with overseas students who come to the UK wanting to complete their GCSEs in one year before moving into a UK sixth form and with UK students who transfer from Year 10 at a school elsewhere.
Subject choice at GCSE is more limited than you may find at a senior school; beyond the core subjects and humanities the school only offers French, German, Spanish, art and photography. Instead, students benefit from small class sizes and plenty of individual attention, as well as plenty of preparation for exams.
Brampton has small class sizes in all year groups (average seven to nine students per class), teachers with experience of marking for exam boards, and excellent guidance for university courses and admission.
Students can expect a friendly and informal learning environment – there’s no uniform and teachers and students are on first name terms – but should come with a work-hard ethic; this is a college that attracts students wanting to achieve high grades at A Level and for some students it may feel too academically rigorous, too challenging. The focus here is very much on results and progress and there are weekly or fortnightly assessments for each subject, and weekly personal tutor sessions to keep students on-track.
It’s a school where students should feel motivated rather than pushed, and supported rather than overwhelmed; one to one tutorials and the use of an excellent on-campus library from 7.30am to 7pm are all part of the college’s strong support system.
In the words of Mr Canetti, “The atmosphere in the College is friendly and informal but with a high level of academic discipline.”
With its location in the leafy north London suburb of Hendon, Brampton offers college students an excellent city-based education – with all of London’s museums, galleries and attractions on their doorstep. Although the college has an academic focus, it understands the importance of student community and wellbeing; it has a developed a friendly learning environment where students step away from their studies to run their own magazine, play sport and complete their Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Don’t expect to find an extensive list of extra-curricular or sporting activities here, though. If sport or the arts are important to your child, then you’ll find other schools in the city that have created extra space in their curriculum for these activities. However, if students can still broaden their horizons here by joining clubs including chess, table tennis, debating, Young Enterprise, yoga and football.
Brampton tops the league tables for independent sixth form colleges; in 2020 the Department for Education (DfE) also placed it in the top 2% of schools and colleges in the country and 5th in London for A Level Progress Score, which measures how much progress students have made from GCSE to A Level. This is an outstanding achievement and one that should certainly be considered alongside exams grades as it speaks volumes about the College’s ability to help your child improve and reach their full potential.
2022 GCSE results: These are consistently impressive with 66.9% grades 9-7 (A*- A) compared to 26.0% national average and 47.9% top grades of 9-8 (A*) compared to 15.1% national average.
2022 A Level results: 56% of grades were A*-A grades, and a high 81.7% grades of grades were A*-B.
Leavers’ destinations include many Russell Group universities (over 62% in 2022), and many students go on to study Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Economics, Law, Engineering.
Brampton offers an ideal learning environment for its exam-focused curriculum with four science laboratories, art studio, computer facilities, library, GCSE suite, student common room and other break-out or study areas. Outside space is limited, but it is a city centre school after all and there is no shortage of parks and sporting facilities in the local area.
Admissions is open to students aged 15-19 years. The college has year-round admissions and the academic calendar runs from September to July.
There’s no formal boarding programme here but the college does assist international students with accommodation options if required.
Annual fees are £22,845 for the two-year A Level programme.
Good for: There’s certainly the expectation that all students will apply themselves, and Brampton College is is most suited for students with high academic achievement and a ‘study hard’ ethic. Students are fortunate to have a huge choice of A Level subjects, so it has a broad appeal for students, whether they want to pursue medicine, the arts or psychology. And with its less than traditional approach to education (no uniform and students are on first name terms), the school will appeal to those who prefer a more liberal schooling.
Not for: The frequent and regular tests, weekly – much more than you would find at a typical independent school – will not be the right learning environment for every student. It may feel too pressurised. Also, as a small city-based sixth form, students may miss the wider opportunities in sport, the arts and other activities that a larger, all-through school can offer.
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