July 09, 2021

Best Ever IB Results at Varndean College, Brighton

IB Results Photo 1 large

Whilst England are celebrating their win on Wednesday evening, students and teachers at Varndean College are also celebrating their best ever set of results in the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, with students set to attend some of the UK’s leading universities including Cambridge, UCL, Imperial College London, Bristol, Warwick, Sheffield and Leeds.

Forty-one students completed the demanding international qualification which requires them to study English, Maths, Science and three other subjects alongside a range of other activities. The College achieved a pass rate of 98% and received its highest marks ever, with an average score of 36.61 points, equivalent to at least three A grades at A Level and beating a global average of 33.02. At the time of writing, 82% of our UCAS applicants were successful, with 78% meeting their firm choice offer and 77% securing places at Russell Group universities.

Amongst those achieving the highest grades were Hayden Newnham (ex-Oathall Community College) whose perfect score of 45 points - comparable to five A* at A Level - places him in the top 1-2% of 170,660 IB students worldwide this year. Hayden is currently taking a gap year but is looking to apply for BA in Modern Languages, studying French, German and Russian commencing September 2022. We are hugely proud of Hayden’s amazing achievement and as his MFL teachers Charlotte Stockel and Stephanie Jurado said, “Hayden demonstrated a real desire to expand his cultural understanding of Germany and the French speaking world and worked continuously to improve his listening and speaking skills. He is proof that, with hard work, dedication and a passion for languages, you can become a fluent multilinguist.”

Sixty-three percent of our students achieved 36 or more Diploma points, with 15 (37%) gaining an impressive 40 points or more, equivalent to AAA and placing them in the top 9% of students worldwide.

Sammy Doublet (ex-Varndean School) with 44 points will read Architecture at UCL having achieved grade 7’s in Higher Level Maths and Visual Arts and Standard Level Physics. Sammy’s Maths teacher Jenny Soulby said “Sammy is an exceptional mathematician and his chosen career of an architect combines his two passions, mathematics and design. We can't wait to see his creative and inspiring designs.”

Forty three points were achieved by ex-Sir Robert Woodard Academy student Lucy Ayres and ex-Hove Park student Circe Marden-Rull seeing them heading to the University of Leeds to study Sociology and Internal Relations, and the University of Bristol to read Comparative Literatures and Cultures respectively. Also achieving 43 points Lillian Laffan (ex-Varndean School) will be reading Philosophy at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge.

Scoring 42 points or the equivalent to three A* at A Level: Tabitha Fawfus has secured a place at Warwick University to read Politics, International Studies and Global Sustainable Development whilst Leyona Bray Kaji is heading to Glasgow to study BioChemistry.

Our two medicine applicants this year were also successful in securing places. Miaya Harman is heading to Cardiff University having achieved 41 points, whilst Anthea Gabot has a place at UCL having scored 39. Our MedVetDent coordinator and IB Chemistry teacher John Luton wrote “lockdown was a difficult time for most students, however Miaya and Anthea showed themselves to be driven, disciplined and motivated students who will be a valuable asset to any medical school.” Four of our learners also scored 40 points this year including Jessica Daniels (ex-St Paul's Catholic College) who is embarking on an Art Foundation course before heading to Durham University to read Psychology, as is Lewis Edmunds (ex-Dorothy Stringer). Madeline Downie (ex-Dorothy Stringer) has secured a place at UCL to read Natural Sciences whilst Ruby Duck (ex-Dorothy Stringer) heads to UCL to study Mechanical Engineering.

IB Results Photo 2

As a global qualification, the IB created a dual pathway model this year for schools who were able to safely host exams and those who were not. Out of 170,660 students globally, 104,275 were in the non-exam route and 65,576 in the exam route. Similar to A Level and GCSE, IB exams were cancelled in the UK this year, however grades were awarded in a slightly different way. Each student completed a piece of coursework for every subject as normal, however these were then sent to the IB to be marked rather than by their teachers as per usual. These coursework grades were then combined with teacher predictions to calculate the students’ final grades.

It has been a challenging time for all involved, with students spending approximately half of their studies online since March 2020. However, students and staff have risen to the occasion and demonstrated great resilience, working together to progress and support each other.

Varndean College IB Coordinator and Head of School Lee Finlay-Gray is delighted with these results: “I would like to commend all of our IB students for their maturity, flexibility and commitment to their studies during their time at Varndean. I would like to thank them all for embracing online learning, being patient with their teachers and encouraging them in their own development. I am moved by how supportive our learners have been to one another, building strong friendships and positive working relationships which I hope they nurture and treasure moving forward. They have been a fun, dedicated and hardworking cohort and I am hugely proud of each and every one of them.”

Principal Donna-Marie Janson said: “These fantastic results are a testament to the energy, hard work and endurance of the wonderful IB students at Varndean College. While their time at college has been challenging in ways we could not foresee, their exceptional focus on their studies saw them all make the most of every opportunity. They have been a truly delightful group of young people to teach and to get to know and they have inspired their teachers throughout their time here. We wish them all the very best in their future endeavours. I would also like to thank the tireless efforts of the teaching staff who have gone above and beyond and done everything they can for our students. This considerable success is well deserved by all.”

Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Director General of the International Baccalaureate, said: "The last 18 months have been incredibly challenging for students, teachers, and schools throughout the world as COVID-19 has undermined much of what we had come to take for granted. I salute their spirit and dedication to our shared mission: education for a better world.”

For further information, please contact Lee Finlay-Gray at lzg@varndean.ac.uk, Tel 01273 508011

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