Student & Parent Testimonials

Before Varndean I wasn’t very into making film and digital content, but both Nik and Stef inspired me so much that it really made me want to go grab what I wanted from the world. A special thanks to Nik for all the hard behind the scenes work you did during the two years, especially during lockdown, I've ever met such a dedicated and organised tutor. Your constructive criticism and close attention to my development really really helped me and I’ll be forever grateful. I also want to say a huge thanks to Stef for all the help with equipment, teaching me extra tips outside of lessons and also just stories from your career that has made me want to go out and film. Overall, Creative Media was by far my favourite course. Beyond what we did in lesson time, your teaching made me want to go and do all the freelance work I’m still doing today. If it wasn’t for your inspiration, I don’t think I’d be where I am now and I’m forever grateful. I will be doing my degree in Filmmaking from September and I’m so excited. Thank you for getting me where I wanted to be and I hope in the future you will have the same effect on other students like me. - Max Mistry, studied Creative Media, Photography & Performing Arts (2019-21)

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Varndean College. The staff in the Biology department have been immensely supportive and have tried their hardest to make the lessons as engaging and enjoyable as possible. This past year has been extremely hard for everybody but my Biology tutor, Yaso, has put in so much effort to ensure that all of her students are able to not only learn the content but to focus on their mental well-being too in order to avoid excessive stress. I have learnt so many interesting things in Biology and I’ve found it so fun. I feel that my problem solving skills, my ability to remain calm under pressure and my communication skills have all improved due to taking this course. I truly recommend taking Biology A Level at Varndean College! Studying here has truly been the highlight of my education so far and I will always treasure my time spent here. - Rhianon Potter, A Level student (2019-21)

When I initially visited Varndean, the atmosphere was extremely welcoming and I instantly felt very at home. It’s relatively smaller than other colleges, allowing for a strong sense of community and a good support system, which for me was extremely important. I found myself genuinely inspired by the staff that spoke to me and I just knew it was the clear and obvious choice. - Anna Lawson, A Level student (2019-21)

Varndean College is widely known for its inclusivity and success, but it’s the supportive nature which sets it apart from all the other Brighton colleges in my eyes. Upon first arrival I was embraced by Varndean’s community spirit and immediately felt welcomed. Its diverse range of courses mean that there’s a course that fits everyone’s interests. - Jacob Eadie Passiful, A Level & BTEC student (2019-21)

Varndean has been an extremely special memory for me, a place where I was able to grow as an individual. The opportunities it has given me and the friends that I have made throughout my time here are memories that I will always cherish. It has been an extremely positive experience for me, I don’t think that I would be who I am today if it had not been for the constant support of friends, teachers and the College as a whole. - Nadeen Alay, A Level & BTEC student (2019-21)

I have found that Varndean has a really strong sense of community and support, which alongside making my time here more enjoyable, has also allowed me to achieve goals which I wouldn't even have aimed at before. - Lillian Laffan, IB Student (2019-21)

During my time at Varndean I have most enjoyed the independence that I have had to take on. Whether it be completing homework, essays, home research or just being more independent in general. There is also such a diverse range of people at the college and I have thoroughly enjoyed making friends with lots of new people. Meeting new people was a massive must for me when going to college and I have not been disappointed, making many friends I’m sure I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life. - Henry Swain, A Level & BTEC student (2019-21)

Even a global pandemic can't stop these teachers from providing an excellent education…. trust me, I've lived it. - Daanyaal Tarmohamed, current Year 2 student

Admittedly upon starting, I was slightly intimidated by the thing that is IB Biology and everything it entails. However, having completed the course under the tutelage of Yaso Shan these past two years, the fears I might have once had have been replaced by a new and genuine passion and understanding of the subject. Undeniably, this was because of Yaso's innovative and holistic approach to teaching the course material by frequently incorporating enjoyable tasks that help the class further understand or summarise what we've just been taught. In the same vein, lessons were never limited to the scope allowed by the syllabus, but instead discussions about current and future applications of course material were very much encouraged. Additionally, Yaso's caring nature and overall enthusiasm particularly shone through when designing and setting up my experiment for the Internal Assessment, where she was totally dedicated to ensuring that I understood the project I was about to undergo and also readily answered or researched any questions I might have had. It was these things, amongst many others, that made Yaso's Biology class an absolute pleasure to go to, even during the most challenging parts of the IB. - Fiyinfoluwa Oladipo, studied the IB from 2018-2020, now studying Medicine, Imperial College London

A big congratulations to John! His excellent teaching is a big reason why I went on to study chemistry at university - I'm coming into the final year of my chemistry PhD now :) - Jasmine Lightfoot, ex-student
On John Luton winning the IOM3's Sir Colin Humphreys Education Award

John deserves that and more. He is the most inspirational teacher who ever taught me. - Mark Steele, ex-student
On John Luton winning the IOM3's Sir Colin Humphreys Education Award

My English Literature classes were delightful! Thank you so much to Cathy for being so welcoming and kind ...that was so important for me. I was really amazed by this college; all the activities that were available like the clubs, the societies, the poetry day that was celebrated; how wonderful and important all these things were. I also found the relationship between student and teacher amazing. My impression was that it was really human to human and very different from how it is here in Switzerland. - Natalia Vonlanthen, International Student

I wanted to say a massive thank you for all your support and hard work over the last 2 years! Doing the Childcare and Education course has genuinely been one of the best decisions and it has really helped me grow and make progress in lots of different ways. I have gained confidence and realised that I am actually quite good at some things! I have learnt to make my voice heard and contribute my opinion to discussions (before starting college this was something I never did and didn't feel at all confident to do). I have acquired practical skills through my time spent on placement and feel I now have the knowledge to back it up. I have also developed my writing skills significantly. Overall, the course has confirmed my passion for working with young children and I am so excited about what's to come. I am very appreciative for all the support and encouragement you gave me. Thank you for believing in me and helping me to achieve so much even at times when I wasn't so sure I could. Thank you lots and lots! - Ilyanna Erikson, studied at Varndean College, 2018-2020, now going on to study Childhood and Youth at University of Sussex

What can we say! Ilyanna's result is an absolute triumph. She's gone from 5/6s at GCSE to the equivalent of 3 A*s at A level. You two must be doing something right with your teaching! Thank you so much for all your support and understanding over the last 2 years. Ilyanna's emotional and learning difficulties are not the easiest to provide for, proving that your support has been exceptional. We can't thank you enough. This has done the world of good for her confidence, we are so happy for her. We cannot thank you enough for this brilliant teaching and a fantastic learning experience at Varndean College. - Parents, Helen and Matt Erikson

From my first days at Varndean, I felt I was in the right place where I could enlarge my potential. All the lessons and methods of teaching are excellent and they let the student develop a huge amount of academic skills. Varndean staff have always been very helpful, kind and ready to point out my strengths and work on my weaknesses. Visually, the college is amazing. I couldn't ask for a better place to study. I say that Varndean has been the perfect academic dream for my year abroad. I have loved every single lesson and would recommend the college to anyone who really wants to expand their potential and grow. - Sofia Foletto, International Student from Italy

I will always highly recommend Varndean College to any student looking to achieve academic excellence in the heart of Brighton and Hove. - Alex Curry, now studying Business & Management, University of Surrey

I have never met a group of tutors so wonderfully charismatic, so brilliantly inspiring and so utterly devoted to helping their students. Truly the best the education system has to offer. - Sebastian Le Huec, now studying Literature & Creative Writing, University of Chichester

Varndean was one of the best times of my life. Without the support and inspiration the teachers gave, I would not be where I am today. Thank you Varndean for opening me to education and career opportunities I never knew were possible. - Hannah Lewin, now studying International Development with Anthropology, UEA

Studying the IB was one of the best choices I've made. It is quite a demanding programme but the teachers were excellent and so enthusiastic and I am constantly drawing on the things that I learnt, even in my final year of university. Varndean College is a special place to study because the campus is pretty and spacious and you really do feel part of one supportive and caring community. - Caroline Banerjee, now studying English, University of Cambridge

If it wasn't for the staff at Varndean, I wouldn't have had the support I needed to make it out of the hole I had made myself. I believe that Varndean also holds the friendliest students in all of Sussex. The friends I met there are still some of my closest friends I hold dear. In short, if you want a place that can give you the freedom to make mistakes, to grow from them and become who you're truly meant to be, with the friendliest staff and students that will carry you through what might well be the most important years of your life, go to Varndean, you won't regret it. - Michael Strong – now studying Computer Science, London South Bank University

I really enjoyed my time at Varndean college, not only do you get a first-class education but you also get so much support from the teaching staff who consistently strive to help you achieve your best possible grade. I don't think I would be where I am today without the help and support from Varndean College. - Megan Williamson, now studying Psychology with counselling and psychotherapy at Manchester Metropolitan University

My tutors were so genuine and supportive and I felt I was doing them proud with every step of the progress I made. There was so much support available and I'm glad I made good use of it. - Barney Rudkins-Stow, now studying BA Music Production, BIMM

My Politics tutor was called Avril, she was amazing, can't thank her enough for the top quality teaching! Maggie my personal tutor was also incredibly supportive and helpful. - Claudia Holdsworth, now studying Business Management with Law, University of Sussex

What an amazing educational institution Varndean College is. I can't praise you high enough for the incredible teaching my daughter received when she did her A Levels with you. She was Inspired and encouraged by some extraordinary teachers (special mention to your Classics department). Thank you for all you do. - Parent of ex-student

Thanks to you, your faith & your vision. Thanks to all the fantastic tutors, they completely embody everything that makes a 'great teacher'. Over the past 5 years both our boys found Varndean College to be the perfect fit & a good distance in style/approach from other local colleges. Even when our son might not have been the right shaped peg, the team found the right slot for him & pulled him towards it. Now about to commence his 3rd year in Architecture at UWE, he couldn't be more settled due in a large part to the guidance he received at Varndean. - Parent of two ex-student

Varndean College was an amazing college for me they helped me so much the whole time I was there, I have dyslexia and they gave me the support I needed and more. It is an amazing college and I would highly recommend it. - Beth Shingfield, now employed as a Health Care Assistant, Royal Sussex County Hospital

I chose Varndean because I was looking for something that would give me an edge in my dental school applications and I found that the extremely successful IB course was something that could offer this. When it came to my application, the university interviewers definitely took an interest in the IB as its breadth indicated that I could handle a university workload. Varndean also runs a dedicated group for prospective medical, dental and veterinary students which I found to be invaluable. - David Cobbett, Dentistry at the University of Newcastle

Varndean is a great college environment to bring out each individual personality. Each tutor cares and considers each student equally and aims to bring out the best in them. I wish I could go back to my college days and do it all over again. - Lily-Alice Glynn, Events Management, Bournemouth