Enrichment activities are a good opportunity to enhance your time at Varndean College. The activities available can vary from year to year according to student demand and can be either tutor or student-led (sponsored by a tutor). Most take place during lunchtimes or Wednesday afternoons and here are just some current and past examples;
African Caribbean Society (ACS)
Discussions, events and entertainment for Black and Ethnic Minority students, embrace your culture and meet new people.
Art & Design Enrichment
Extension class for Visual Art students, based around a series of gallery trips, studio visits and meetings with contemporary artists, and designers.
Chemistry Society (ChemSoc)
Programme of events and activities for students of Chemistry A level to extend their understanding and appreciation of the subject.
Learn how to play and improve your chess. For beginners, improvers and advanced.
For students seeking answers to fundamental questions such as: "Why are we here?", "What is the significance of life?", "Why is there suffering?", "Is there really a god?".
Varndean is a member of Citizens UK which is made up of hundreds of organisations committed to taking action together for social justice and the common good. Membership is an expression of commitment to develop student leadership, as well as strengthen links with families and local organisations. It is a way to address issues beyond the college gates, through community organising, as well as issues which have a direct impact on the wellbeing of young people and their families.
Climate and Environment Action Group
Help to plan how the College will reduce its environmental footprint, implement its environmental policy and eco-code. We are also following the Climate Action Road Map which links to the Government’s zero emissions targets. We have a staff and student group who meet regularly to coordinate and initiate projects such as creating and managing the college nature reserve, improving our campus environment and raising awareness about environmental issues.
Students work with a local author to develop their writing skills and to receive feedback on the creation of their own poetry, prose or scripts.
Plan how the College will reduce its environmental footprint, implement its environmental policy and eco-code; develop projects around the College and its campus.
Ethnicity and Identity Discussion Group
This student-led meeting is for people from minority groups, in the first instance, a group where minority voices can be heard without needing to focus on questions from a majority point of view. Everyone is welcome to join.
Regular discussion and debates on some of the key themes and issues around contemporary gender roles and power.
Monthly lectures for those interested in a wide range of geographical topics, currently using a YouTube site to provide virtual lectures.
Geography/Environmental Studies Enrichment
Field trips are embedded into both courses. We run several local trips and day trips in Southern England such as London and Hampshire. We also offer optional foreign trips which have regularly included Europe and North America.
Do you have a passion for Law? Listen to talks from guest speakers, take part in careers events, participate in debates, enhance your CV/personal statement.
Leadership Awards (Dance and Sport)
Both Dance and Sport offer the opportunity to follow a Leadership Award. These are qualification courses at Level 1 and 2 and may be added to your study programme. Further details available on the prospective course pages and on the College website.
For Visual Arts students to build a successful portfolio for progression to an Art & Design degree or foundation course. Work directly from a range of life models and produce a series of drawings, paintings, mixed media or experimental works.
Mandarin for Beginners
An introduction to Mandarin Chinese and Chinese culture for beginners. Learn some simple conversations in Mandarin and experience fun cultural activities such as Chinese calligraphy, paper cutting, dumpling making etc.
An opportunity for gifted and talented Maths students to extend their skills through various mathematical challenges and competitions, such as the UK Maths Challenge and British Maths Olympiad. We will also be helping students prepare for Maths-related entry exams such as MAT or STEP.
Specialist support for students applying for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses. Focus on writing personal statements, the BMAT UKCAT exams, plus 1:1 interviews to help with UCAS applications.
Mental Health First Aiders
Mental Health First Aiders are students who have been trained to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis. They can do this by recognising warning signs, and they have the skills and confidence to approach and support someone experiencing mental ill-health.
Make music on Wednesday afternoons with student bands. Our College Funk Band rehearse and perform cover versions of rock, soul and dance classics.
If you are hoping to apply to the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge, then we offer specialist support through our ‘Aspire Programme’. See page 12 of this prospectus for more details.
Pathways into Business and Law
Mentor scheme for Business and Law students. Receive training in mentoring and supporting fellow students and an opportunity to receive advice from representatives from successful local businesses.
Train to support fellow students as they join and work their way through College. Training focuses on listening skills and enables participants to explore some of their own feelings and to support others.
Philosophy Meditations Book Group
Online club (via Google Meet) for those keen to read and discuss philosophical texts from the last 2500 years. We always start with Descartes Meditations then branch out into whatever students are interested in.
Student-led discussion, dissection and analysis of philosophical issues and arguments.
Weekly meetings with a broad range of speakers – local MPs, Councillors, activists, journalists, academics and many more. A chance to meet, discuss, contest and listen to viewpoints you may have never considered before.
A safe place for LGBTQ+ students and their straight allies to meet, find support and campaign for change.
The following recreational activities are offered to all students on Wednesday afternoons (or sometimes on other occasions during the week): Badminton, Basketball, Five-a-Side Football, Football (Russell Martin Academy), Fitness Gym, Netball, Rugby (Men and Women's teams), Tennis, Table Tennis and Yoga.
Student-Directed Drama and Stage Management
Open to all students interested in creating, rehearsing and performing drama, as well as those wishing to work behind the scenes or front of house on College productions.
We ‘story’ the curriculum and the people who make use of it. Each week a traditional story is told which has relevance to either a particular subject area, or, an issue that students have to face. Tips and ideas for how to tell stories are shared. We invite professional actors, poets and traditional oral storytellers to tell.
Represent the views and opinions of students at Varndean by joining the Varndean College Student Union. It is also possible to seek election to any one of several roles on the VCSU Executive.
Varndean College Ambassadors
Join a team of student ambassadors and help out at College Open Days, Year 10 Taster Days and school liaison visits. You may get to see your old school teachers and younger students from your previous school.
You are invited to come along to our regular poetry cafes in which students and staff celebrate the power of poetry through reading, performing or listening to poems written by students, staff and published authors.
Improve your wellbeing, de-stress, enhance your learning, learn life skills, hand reflexology, brain gym, mindfulness and strategies for self-control. We offer four different Wellbeing groups: Wellbeing for Academic Study; Space to Connect, an all-inclusive space for women to connect with other students (the group welcomes everyone who identifies as a woman inclusive of trans and non-binary individuals); Space to Connect for Male Identity and Social Space.
Yoga is a safe and simple practice that has been shown to enhance the well-being of young people. Varndean’s classes are an invitation for students to get familiar with this ancient subject and discover its physical and mental benefits to get calmer, stronger and more centred. Classes are suitable for everyone, regardless of their body size, weight, proportions or flexibility.
If you love learning and have ambitions of studying at a top university, then this group offers support and information to students who have the ability to flourish on academically challenging undergraduate courses.