Smiles all round as Varndean College students celebrate (but no hugs)!

July 09, 2020

Varndean College staged a physically-distanced celebration on Monday, as IB students received outstanding results yet again, with students securing places at prestigious universities including Bristol, Cambridge, York, Leeds, UCL, Warwick and Imperial College, London to read subjects ranging from Fine Art to Philosophy, and Midwifery to Marine Biology.

Almost half of the 42 students achieved 36 or more Diploma points, regarded by universities as equivalent to AAA at A Level, with twelve gaining an impressive 38 points or more - equivalent to A*A*A*A - including Grace Hogben (Varndean School) who will read Liberal Arts and Sciences at Birmingham and Francesca Fairhead (Lewes Priory) who has an offer from Cambridge to read English.

Francesca Fairhead (1)-2

Amongst those celebrating is Fiyinfoluwa Oladipo who will read Medicine at Imperial College, London after achieving a stunning 43 points, placing him in the top 2% of students globally! Fiy is also a talented poet: earlier this year his poem ‘Sonnet to Palm Sunday’ won second prize in the prestigious Tower Poetry competition run by Christ Church College, Oxford University, wowing the judges with “impressive command of language, rhythm and form.”

Fiyinfoluwa Oladipo-2

Talented spoken word artist Eben Roddis (Hove Park), 42 points, who has chosen to take a gap year but has a place secured at Leeds to read Maths and Philosophy in 2021. Last spring Eben toured the UK with Vincent Dance Theatre’s SHUT DOWN production, impressing his teachers with the proactive and mature way that he juggled his studies remotely whilst on the road, dialling into lessons from trains and hotel lobbies amongst other places! Also racking up 42 points was Ines Aranguena Aniceto, who will read Politics and International Relations at Warwick and Nancy Farris, (Dorothy Stringer) off to Leeds to study Classics and History.

Anna Dornbusch and Ella Murray (both Lewes Priory), with 40 points, will take gap years before applying to university next year. Keen athlete Anna - 400m gold medallist at the Sussex Schools Championship - plans to study Sports Science, while Ella hopes to read History and Economics.

Varndean College is the only local state-run provider of the prestigious IB Diploma, which it has offered since 2008. The IB Diploma is one of the world’s most highly-regarded and academically rigorous educational programmes, requiring students to succeed in six subjects at advanced level - including English Literature, mathematics, a science, a foreign language and a humanities subject - as well as completing a 4000-word extended essay on a subject of their choice and undertaking community work.

Lee Finlay-Gray, IB Diploma Coordinator, commented: “This has been an extraordinarily challenging year for our IB students and we have been so impressed with the patience, flexibility and dedication they’ve shown throughout their time at Varndean but particularly during the last six months. They thoroughly deserve their success and we are immensely proud of them all.”

Dr. Phil Harland, College Principal, added: “This year’s cohort of IB students not only achieved stunning academic qualifications, but have met the exceptional challenges posed by a global pandemic with grace and resilience. This year, more than ever, we’ve seen the strength of our IB learning community, where our students support each other through a very demanding programme of study, forming long-lasting friendships in the process.”

Siva Kumari, IB Director General said: “An IB education has always been about more than results and, this year, students have had to deal with a level of global disruption that has never been experienced before. We know that the IB has prepared them to be better learners for life—to be better, more critical thinkers, better at formulating excellent questions and finding the answers, and better suited to adapting to our ever-changing world.”