A college where every student is important...

I am delighted to welcome you to Varndean College in this my first year as Principal of the college. It is a privilege to take the helm of such an extraordinary place where students become academically accomplished and flourish as a part of a welcoming, inspirational and close-knit family.

Varndean College is a wonderful place to study and to work in, it is a college with a difference. Different in that we are set on a lovely spacious green campus with stunning views of Brighton and the sea, offering over 30 traditional A Levels, a wide range of vocational BTECs, a small but significant number of GCSEs, as well as the increasingly popular International Baccalaureate Diploma.

Varndean is truly exceptional; we have an outstanding academic track record, as well as a real community ethos where students thrive and where we put student happiness at the heart of everything we do. Each and every student is valued at college and our staff treat students as individuals building positive, respectful and encouraging relationships. Those who visit comment on how they are overwhelmed by the warmth, energy and atmosphere which gives Varndean its specialness.


We are proud of our wonderful environment where our students experience a stimulating and enriching sixth form education characterised by academic excellence, outstanding teaching, learning and support, as well as extensive opportunities for personal development and growth. Our aim here at Varndean College is to develop our students into well-rounded, confident and free-thinking individuals, who are excited and ready to move on to the next stage of their lives.

Students say that one of the greatest things about studying at Varndean College is that you feel truly part of our college. Students and staff communicate on a first-name basis, everyone is treated like an adult and we provide an excellent transition between school and university. Students tell us they choose to study here because of the friendly, supportive atmosphere, the sense of a 'Varndean community', as well as of course our academic distinction and the ability to bring out the best in everyone. Our staff are passionate about the subjects they teach, dedicated to ensuring students reach their full potential and help them every step of the way; whether it be on to university, further training or employment. We are tireless in our belief that a happy student is a successful student and in ensuring that all students make excellent progress here.

Over recent years, it has been our desire to improve and expand upon the facilities we offer to our students. This can be seen in our ongoing new developments, the newest of all being our wonderful new STEM Centre, created to inspire our next generation of engineers, mathematicians and scientists. Further evidence of our expanding facilities can be seen in our second floor 'Loft', which houses a large modern library and careers centre, with plenty of independent study space, as well as nine additional classrooms. In addition to this, we have created a new fitness suite and a new student common room. Our café and kitchen have recently been refurbished and offer students an attractive space in which to eat, drink and study with friends.

I know that the students who come to Varndean are happy; and happy students make successful students. Wherever you choose to go, it is important to select somewhere that feels right for you. I would encourage you to come along to our college open evenings and talk to subject tutors and current students. I hope that in doing so you will feel that Varndean College is the place for you and we will have the opportunity to welcome you here in the future.

Donna-Marie Janson, Principal


  • Governors, leaders and managers have developed a highly inclusive culture that allows staff and students to thrive.
  • Teachers know their students well and have high expectations. They use their own experiences and expertise to motivate students to achieve.
  • Students have positive attitudes to their learning and are proud of their work. They are confident, self-assured, courteous and respectful. They feel that staff treat their health and wellbeing as a priority, which supports them to learn and achieve.
  • A Level and vocational students make good progress and achieve well.
  • Students on the IB course make outstanding progress. Their achievement is exceptionally high and well above the international average. They develop extremely high levels of skill, knowledge and understanding and the very large majority move on to their first-choice university.
  • Students benefit from a broad and balanced curriculum that meets their individual needs.

Value Added

Varndean College is very proud of the fact that students who study here do significantly better than would be expected of them based on their GCSE results they come here with. In the Department of Education's '16-18 Schools and Colleges Performance Table for Value Added' the College has an ALPS score of 2, placing us in the top 10% of providers in the country.

'Value Added' scores are Government calculations which provide a measure as to how much more or less successful students have been by declaring how much 'value' has been added to their results. We add excellent value to the students who study here.