A leading national schools survey has voted Brighton College the country’s top independent school.

Brighton School was praised by judges for not only its high academic standards but also the environment that makes those standards possible: a culture of kindness and inclusivity which seeks to celebrate and nurture children’s differences, always recognising that a youngster who is encouraged to be himself or herself will always achieve more than one who is not.

Sunday Times Parent Power editor Alistair McCall said: “Brighton College is one of the great modern success stories of British independent education. The combination of achievement and distinctiveness in a great setting make a place at Brighton College one of the most sought after.”

This is the second time in seven years that the school has received this prestigious award – only two schools in the country can boast this.

This summer sixth formers achieved 98.7% A*-B in their A levels – the school’s highest ever figure. In GCSEs, grade 9 was the most common grade and of the 732 pupils nationwide who received seven grade 9s or above, 36 of them were from Brighton College. This is more remarkable by the fact that pupils were taking the new, more challenging exam-focussed style.

Headmaster Richard Cairns attributes the pupils’ successes to the environment in which they work and play – forward-thinking, creative and outward-looking.

He said: “Given that there are so many terrific schools in England, it really is wonderful for Brighton to be singled out for national recognition. The whole community is delighted. Our approach at Brighton is a simple one: to challenge each and every pupil in the school to be the best possible version of herself or himself.

“Helping them along the way are some of the most inspirational teachers you will find anywhere in the world and underpinning everything is an ethos that puts kindness and respect for others at the heart of all that we do – because we all know that only youngsters who are secure and happy in their own skins can ever truly realise their full potential.”

In recent years, a raft of innovative initiatives have been introduced to create this environment. These include teaching teenagers how to tell fake news from real online; introducing touch-typing classes, proven to gift those who master it with an extra three months’ worth of time a year; entrepreneurship competitions dedicated to developing idea creation and business skills and presentation classes led by a former actor which teach pupils to talk confidently in public.

Most recently, pupils have successfully lobbied for the school to ban single-use plastics on campus and pupils and staff are working with Surfers Against Sewage to achieve official Plastic Free School status. The school has recharging points on site for electric cars and talks are underway with manufacturers to discuss a new electric fleet.