Taster Days Update

We are very sorry that after much consideration, the Brighton and Hove Accord of colleges – Varndean College & BHASVIC – will not be running a Taster Day this Autumn Term for Year 11 students, which was postponed in the summer term, in response to a Local Authority request to suspend onsite, face-to-face transition events.

Varndean College and BHASVIC had hoped to be able to work together, in consultation with our feeder schools, to coordinate a day for students (who had applied to the Taster Days last July) to attend college for the day and come to lessons they were interested in tasting. However, trying to determine a date for this which isn’t unacceptably disruptive to the Year 11s in a number of schools and for the current 1st Year and 2nd Year sixth form students has not been possible. Given the recent announcement that GCSE examinations will go ahead in Summer 2022, schools are focusing on ensuring that Year 11 students have as much learning time as possible before they undertake their examinations. Therefore, we are not asking you to lose some of your valuable teaching time. A Taster Day would involve suspending learning for these three year groups for the day and would need to avoid disrupting other key aspects of the various institutions’ core functions. The need for all institutions to provide exam experiences and assessments over this term has taken priority over the Taster Day experience.

We recognise the incredible value the Taster Day experience of college life and college approaches to learning has for students, both as a motivator for GCSE study and the final exams, as well as giving an important source of information and guidance to inform decisions about next steps after school. As we move into the formal admissions processes for our Year 11 students, we want to highlight the offers and opportunities that will take place over the coming weeks and months to support all students considering Varndean College and/or BHASVIC as a future place of study:

  • September: School talks, during the day, in assemblies, careers lessons, bespoke talks and during student/parent information evenings.
  • October and November: college open days/evening events, onsite and in person, with teachers, current students, leaders and wider student services all available for advice, to answer questions and to help with decisions. These will include online recordings of past, virtual events, so that detailed advice and guidance about the college and courses can also be reviewed any time online and at home.
  • November and December: Application process and advice available from the colleges’ admissions teams.
  • December through to Easter: College interviews, providing one-to-one advice and guidance on college and course choices.
  • Summer Term: onsite and face-to-face day at college, after GCSE exams, attending chosen lessons, orientation and induction, setting of summer work and advice and support services. Bespoke transition support for students with particular needs.
  • August: Results Day (and afterwards) advisory service.
  • Late August/Early September: enrolment, with a full range of advice and guidance services available.

Once again, we are sorry that we are not able to provide the Taster Day experience this term, following the postponement of these events last summer. However, we want to reassure you that we will be working exceptionally hard and with confidence and experience to support all students to make informed decisions about their next steps beyond secondary school.

With kind regards from Varndean College and BHASVIC Senior Leadership teams.