Varndean’s International Baccalaureate Diploma students demonstrate brilliance and resilience again!
Varndean College’s IB Diploma students have risen to the challenge yet again, gaining fantastic results across a wide range of subjects and securing places at some of the world's best universities. Having had their GCSE exams cancelled back in the summer of 2020, then spending a large portion of 2021 in online classrooms and navigating the complexities of college and personal life during a global pandemic, our resilient IB students have achieved brilliant results whilst demonstrating so many of the key characteristics the IB Diploma seeks to nurture in its learners: being balanced, reflective, open minded, principled risk takers.
For most of this cohort the series of public examinations they sat in May ‘22 were their first ever and they certainly stepped up to the challenge, achieving an average point score of 36.67 out of 45. 61% of the cohort achieved 36 points or more, and an incredible 29% scored 40 or more, the equivalent of 3 A* grades at A Level, whilst 11% scored 44 out of 45, the equivalent to five A* at A Level!
An impressive 97% of students passed the Diploma, with 60% of subject scores at the top grades 6 or 7. 100% of learners passed the Theory of Knowledge (Tok) and Extended Essay (EE) components, with 74% of learners achieving an A or B grade in the new ToK specification assessment. This success cannot be underestimated given the challenges faced during the last few years and we are immensely proud of their achievements.
These fantastic results also mean that our learners are ready to embark on the next exciting chapter of their lives with 93% of all UCAS applications receiving offers for Russell Group Universities. We are delighted that ⅔ of our IB Oxbridge applicants have secured places including Alice Brooker (ex Lewes Priory) who scored 42 points out of 45 which means she has been accepted to read History and English at University of Oxford; while Ushika Kidd who completed her secondary education in Scotland, scored 44 points and will be reading Human Sciences at Oxford also.
Also scoring 44 points was Isobel Denslow, who is off to study Medicine at Queen's University Belfast having previously attended Brighton Girls GDST, Matilda Wicks (previously from Steyning Grammar School) who will be reading Biochemistry at Bristol and Matilda Falchetta (44/45) from Dorothy Stringer who will be reading International Relations at Aberystwyth.
Elinor Prodger from Hove Park achieved 43 points and will be studying Civil Engineering at Imperial London, whilst Caedmon Szobody who was home educated scored 42 points and will be focusing on Engineering and Renewable Energy at Durham University.
Staying with STEM subjects, Luca Buckley-McDonald from Lewes Priory will be studying Biology at Manchester having achieved 41 out of 45, whilst Abigail Evans from Varndean School scored 40 and will also be studying Biology at Sheffield. Harry Clarke from Dorothy Stringer will be reading Mathematics at Bristol also having achieved 41 whilst Madaleine Ward of Lewes Priory who achieved 39 points will be studying Biomedical Sciences at Bristol as well.
Highlighting just how varied our students choices and interests are, Desiree Hernandez previously from Cardinal Newman achieved 3 points in the Core of her Diploma having scored a hugely impressive A grade in her Theory of Knowledge coursework, as well as an A grade in her 4000 word extended essay and will be attending the London School of Economics to study Social Anthropology having achieved 37 out of 45 overall. In addition Maeve Rogers of Uckfield Community Technology College who scored 39 will be heading to Glasgow to read English Literature and Philosophy and Jens Koster who came to us from Lewes Priory will be studying International management and Spanish at Bath having achieved 36 points.
This year’s results will also see Bruno Baker (previously from Hove Park) studying Sustainability and Environmental Management at Leeds having scored 37, Eliot McCambridge from Dorothy Stringer heading to Bristol to read Mathematics having scored 38, Tegan Pinchess from Peacehaven Community School studying Psychology at Winchester University having scored 31, Ben Weller from Downloads heading to Royal Holloway to study Biochemistry with a score of 34 and Henry Hiley from Lewes Old Grammar heading to Exeter to study International Relations with a score of 33.
The coming days should also provide exciting news for two of our students who applied to continue their studies into higher education internationally, including Jakob Lynas (37/45) who is looking to study in Sweden and Lucy Thorpe (34/45) who has applied to University in Amsterdam. In addition, there are a small number of high achieving learners whose UCAS applications should be reviewed in the coming weeks. We know it will be an anxious time for all of these students to hear the outcome of their applications but we are incredibly proud of them and have our fingers crossed for good news!
Not all of our learners head straight to University and this year a number of our Diploma students are starting Art Foundation courses at local colleges next academic year including Anna Bill-Lopez from Varndean School who scored 36, EJ Nyren from Uckfield Community Technology College who scored 37, Kirk Horn of Patcham High School who scored 39, and Mia Salmon from Dorothy Stringer who scored 28 points, whilst Harvey Froehlich from Varndean School is heading to Plumpton College to embark on a Horticulture course having scored 30 points on the Diploma.
And as always some of our learners are off on exciting and valuable gap years having achieved excellent results, no doubt to experience some well-deserved travel and adventure after the restrictions of the last few years such as Jonas Roberts of Burgess Hill Academy who scored 40 out of 45.
Principal Donna-Marie Janson said: “The fantastic results are a testament to the energy, hard work and endurance of the wonderful IB students at Varndean College. While recent years have been challenging for all young people the students have been exceptional in their focus, commitment and determination. 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.”
Diploma Programme Coordinator Lee Finlay-Gray said: “I am particularly thrilled with our students' achievements this year given the challenging experiences our learners have faced since the summer of 2020. The impact of the disruption on their personal and academic lives cannot be underestimated and to have achieved such excellence is a reflection on how dedicated, resilient and amazing they really are. They have proven to be a tight knit cohort who have rallied around each other showing empathy, compassion and respect and I hope that their time together at Varndean has forged lifelong connections. I wish them every success in the future as they embark on the next phase of their lives as confident, open minded global citizens”.
Now in its 14th year, Varndean College is the only state provider of the IB Diploma in Sussex and became an IB provider as the Diploma offers educational opportunities that go beyond exams. Students and teachers are given the freedom to discover topics that interest and inspire them. The topics taught relate to the modern world and students are encouraged to engage with global issues. The core components allow students to learn from experience and develop skills through extra-curricular activities. An IB student leaves Varndean College culturally aware and motivated for the next stage of their lives. Students on the IB Diploma are required to sit six subjects, including English, Science, Maths, a second language and a humanities subject, as well as complete a critical thinking course (ToK), write a 4000-word essay (EE) and take part in a series of creative, fitness and voluntary projects aiming to support their local community (CAS). It is an academically rigorous course which our students thrive on and opens up many global opportunities for them both in higher education, training and employment.