Monica Richards

Monica Richards

Studied: International Baccalaureate Diploma (2017-2019)

Progression: Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE), King's College, London

Monica is currently studying Philosophy, Politics & Economics at King's College, London having come to Varndean College from Blatchington Mill School to study the International Baccalaureate Diploma. In the summer of 2018, she became runner up in the Politics, IR and Economics category of the New College of Humanities' essay writing competition, in which only 27 students were shortlisted out of 1,800 entries, and in 2019 gained a summer work experience placement working for and shadowing Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas.

Since leaving Varndean, Monica has continued to operate a Depop business which has subsequently led to her being hired by Sussex University to conduct a year-long research project. Her role has entailed researching the role of digital platforms in transforming youth employment opportunities in the UK where the report will be launched in Geneva by the International Organisation of Employers. She has also been elected Chair of the Renew Europe Group in a Model European Parliament, US delegate in a Model United Nations, as well as Minister of Finland in a KCL War Crisis simulation.

In 2020 Monica was also a winner in the NCS Democratic Voice competition, tackling youth loneliness during the pandemic, as well as volunteering for the 93% Club and Project Access that seek to tackle educational inequality in the UK.

Monica says: "The IB provides both breadth and depth into the disciplines offered and openly encourages individual thinking – the perfect stepping stone for university. I especially liked the idea of belonging to a cohort and I formed long-lasting connections as a result. I'd recommend taking a range of subjects to keep your options open: there is nothing more rewarding than cultivating an interdisciplinary mindset during your education. I also couldn’t emphasise more the importance of maintaining your mental health and wellbeing throughout your studies. After graduating from university I'm keen to enter the political sector, particularly in policy writing and implementation, hopefully as part of the Civil Service."

Daniel Francis

Daniel Francis

Studied: Economics, Computer Science, Applied Law, Physics

Progression: Economics, University of Sheffield

After overcoming years of adversity during his time at secondary school, Daniel came to Varndean College in 2016 after having been part home educated and part educated at Hove Park School. He initially studied A Levels in Computer Science, Physics and Maths, but after his first year dropped Maths and picked up A Level Economics instead. After originally wanting a career in Computer Science, thanks to the enthusiasm given to him by his Economics tutors, Daniel soon discovered that this was where his real interest lay and from very early on decided he wanted to continue his studies in Economics instead at university.

Daniel says: "I am most thankful for the great time I had at Varndean College, it was three years of my life which hold fond memories for me. I owe a lot to my two Economics tutors, Alrik and Will, who gave me the inspiration to succeed and Jo, my Law tutor, who was an absolute joy to be taught by. I am proud to have achieved an A grade in my A Level Economics (only 1 mark off an A) and am now enjoying studying a BA in Economics at the University of Sheffield."*

Jude Birch

Jude Birch

Studied: Computer Science, Physics, Maths + AS Further Maths (2017-2019)

Progression: Gap Year, then Computer Science, University of Sussex

Jude Birch, who is currently studying Computer Science at the University of Sussex, took a year out to gain work experience before going on to university and was successful in being selected for a Programmer Intern with local computer games company Near Light in which he has helped to develop exciting new games.

Jude is no stranger to success, as in February 2018 was one of the winners in Google’s annual Code-In competition winning himself a trip for two people to San Francisco and Google’s Headquarters at Mountain View, California! An overall total of 3555 students from 78 countries took part in the competition. Later that year, Jude won The Argus's Youth in Action 'Innovator of the Year' award sponsored by the i360 and then in the summer of 2019 was one of only 11 UK finalists in the British Academy of Film and Television Awards' (BAFTA) nationwide competition to find the country’s best young game designers. Jude's submission in the ‘15-18 years Game Making’ category was a futuristic adventure game called 'Space Core' using Unity.

Jude says: “I feel really lucky to have the opportunity to have gained an internship and worked on developing games. I was able to learn so much from my boss and co-workers. At the University of Sussex I've been developing more games in my spare time and am planning to submit one game for a university game development contest. I've also been participating in more programming competitions within uni and also against other universities.”

Anya-Niamh Tidey

Anya-Niamh Tidey

Studied: Biology, Chemistry, Physics A Levels + EPQ (2017-2019)

Progression: Medicine at St. George's College, University of London

Anya Says: "I chose to study at Varndean because of the strong Science department and the support offered for aspiring medicine applicants. I have always been interested in the sciences, so it was a natural progression for me to want to study medicine. I have enjoyed the diversity of teaching methods and the enthusiasm of the teaching staff in supporting us to succeed. I like the practical aspect of each of the sciences; the practicals are engaging and fun and support the theory. I have been on a Physics/Maths trip to CERN in Geneva, as well as the United Nations. I have also attended the Chemistry Conferences run by Varndean and Brighton University, taken part in two Chemistry analytical competitions run by the RSC, as well as the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge. Outside of college, I was recently awarded a seven year scholarship by The Army, which entailed interviews, physical ability tests and cognitive assessments. The scholarship provides me with funding for my final year at Varndean and throughout my entire six years medical degree. After this I intend to train as a military doctor in The Army." Anya-Niamh in 2018 was the recipient of a seven year bursary from The Army to help fund her studies to become a doctor in the armed forces. Anya-Niamh was also recently the winner of Uptree’s ‘Young Scientist of the Year’ Future Talent Award.