Over the past twenty years, the skills required to succeed in the modern world have changed. There is an increasing emphasis on so called ‘softer skills’, such as being able to communicate effectively as part of a team, having the confidence to lead, the open-mindedness to get the best out of others and having the resourcefulness and adaptability to succeed no matter the task.

Working with Bradfield was remarkable both for its progressive views on what it takes for pupils to thrive in todays world, but also for the importance it places on each child being a good person.

Jim Salkeld
CEO and Founder of Thrill Education

This change is evidenced by the fact that companies from different sectors such as Dyson, Marks & Spencer and McKinsey are changing the way they assess applicants with an emphasis on how they interact with each other and work together. Equally there has been a surge in popularity for ‘Escape Rooms’, where teams are locked in a room and must solve puzzles together to break out.

Every aspect of a pupil’s life at Bradfield forms an integral part of their education, whether that is in the classroom, playing on the sports pitches, performing on stage in the Music School or bonding with peers in the boarding house. In preparing our pupils for life beyond Bradfield, we have been looking at the attributes that are required to be successful both professionally and personally in the world of work. Confidence, open-mindedness, resilience, inquiry, communication and innovation are the cornerstones of our Education for Life ethos and we believe it is key that these are recognised early on in our admissions process.

It is difficult to assess these traits in prospective pupils during a conventional Admissions process. Interviews and pre-tests can only show you so much. However, prospective candidates can really shine in a different environment. This is why we have added a new aspect to our Admissions process. Inspired by the ‘Escape Room’ type tasks, and perhaps a little by 90s television show The Crystal Maze, our problem-solving rooms are designed to assess character, attitude and personality in a group environment, traits which will enable pupils to thrive at Bradfield.

We have worked with Thrill Education, headed up by Jim Salkeld, to produce a series of fun and exciting problem-solving props. Attributes assessed include, but are not limited to, negotiation, empathy, persistence, enthusiasm and integrity.

Meticulously designed, our puzzles are not just fun, but genuinely challenging, as some of our Sixth Form Prefects discovered during testing. Completion of the tasks is not key to the assessment, but the process is. The narrative of each puzzle ensures that pupils rapidly forget that they are being assessed and instead are intent on trying to solve the various problems.

Academic success is not guaranteed based solely on admitting those who score highly in the pre-test. We believe academic success is more likely to happen if the pupil feels happy and safe and above all enjoys their education. That is why individuality is cherished here and these puzzles help us seek out the Education for Life traits which can be nurtured throughout a pupil’s time at Bradfield.

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