February 2019 Newsletter
Dear Parent/Guardian/Carer
Spring Report Card for all students
Your son/daughter/ward's spring report card will be available from Monday 25th February 2019 via the Varndean College Parent Portal. If you have already registered for parental access you can login here. Once logged in, go to learning on the main menu and then progress reports. If you haven't yet received/have lost information about registering on the Parent portal please click here and you will be able to request details on registration. A reminder of the meanings of the Grades and Descriptions we are using in the report card can be found here.

Consultation Evenings          
We will be holding our Year 1 Parents/Carers' Consultation on Monday 25th February (student surnames A-K) and March 4th and from 5.30 to 8pm (student surnames L-Z). This is an opportunity to discuss progress with your daughter/son/ward’s teachers. Running on both evenings are sessions run by the schools wellbeing service for parents to give strategies and tips for managing young people’s well being. They are at: 5pm and 6pm for 30 minutes both evenings. In tangent with this we have a schools well being worker from CAMHS who is able to offer appointments for parents on Mondays. These can be booked on parents evening or by contacting the parent email address.

Key information and further details for parent’s evening:
  • Appointments are made via an online booking system by you or by your child/ward. This will be available on the parent portal (or My Varndean page for students). The booking sheet will be open from this Monday 11th February for two weeks prior to the evening and shut on the Sunday before the Monday consultation meeting. If you experience any difficulty in this, please contact their Head of School.
  • Staff will be in rooms in the main building and not in subject bases. In planning appointments for you, students will need to build in travelling time and keep a note of who and when their appointment is or print off their sheet.
  • Consultations are for 6 minutes and this is the only occasion when we use a bell to help us keep to time. We find that this time is usually sufficient to report fully on progress, but if, for any reason, a longer time is needed, a further appointment can be made at a mutually convenient time.
  • As these events are very busy, we ask that you or your daughter/son/ward make an appointment with only one tutor per subject.
  • Most staff will have full appointment schedules so we will need to keep to time and it may not be possible to reschedule missed appointments.
  • Ticket wardens are very active around the site so please respect local parking restrictions and please do not park on the grass verges or illegally in the surrounding streets.
What Next?
Pre-advanced students who intend to return to Varndean College to study advanced level courses are receiving advice in tutorial and have completed an application with their tutor.  Students who apply to return will have an interview during March.

Good News:
Congratulations also go to the 73  students who gained their GCSE Maths or English retake at grade 4, 5, and 6 this January. we will continue to work hard with those who are taking these again in the Summer.
I am sure that you would like to join me in congratulating the eight Varndean students who have received offers from Oxford and Cambridge.
We are very proud of all of our student’s achievements.

University offers:
There are an increasing number of Universities offering unconditional offers in exchange for being first choice. While these may well be the course that is most appealing and the best fit the statistics show that those with an unconditional place underperform by three grades on average. We are encouraging our students to remember that employers still look at A Level grades as a basis for employment and to keep working hard to get the best grades they can.

Many universities make their decisions over an extended period - some waiting until April to let students know the outcome of their applications. Please reassure any concerned young people on this point. Students should not feel pressured into making a decision until they have all their offers. When they have all their offers, UCAS will send them a deadline by which they must respond. This deadline will vary depending on how late all the student’s offers come in (and may be different from a friend’s).  

It will also be important to encourage your child/ward to discuss their final choices with their Tutor to make sure that second choice offers are genuine back-ups and lower than their first choice offers.

For those students who have chosen to go into employment/ an apprenticeship after college, there will be an opportunity to experience a ‘mock interview’ with an employer during Interview Skills Day at Varndean College on Tuesday 19th March 2019.

Apprenticeship Event at Varndean College on Tuesday 12th March 2019
An awareness-raising careers event for students, designed to help them better understand Apprenticeships. The event runs from 11.30am - 1.30pm.

Higher Education Evening for Parents/Carers at Varndean College on Tuesday 26th March 2019
An information evening for Parents / Carers to find out how the College supports students through the University application process. The evening will run from 6 - 8.30pm.

UCAS Higher Education Exhibition at The Brighton Centre on Thursday 25th April 2019
A chance for students to meet staff from hundreds of colleges and universities and find out more about courses. The event runs from 1:00pm - 3:00pm with an additional 50 spaces between 9:30am and 11:30am (only for students who do not have morning lessons).

Meningitis programme
We are taking part in a programme with  the Royal Alexandra Children’s hospital as part of the drive to reduce the instances of meningitis in over 16s. There will be talks running instead of tutorial in the week of the 26th February. For further information please follow this link.

Parent Governors
Paul Herridge and Dawn Howard will be appointed as the two new Parent Governors at the next Governing Body meeting in March 2019.  Congratulations to both of them. If you have any questions regarding the Governing Body, please contact Louise Pennington lep@varndean.ac.uk

Contacting the College
It is my experience that many of the queries that parents have are addressed via the parent portal. However, if there are any unresolved queries, please do not hesitate to contact me at parents@varndean.ac.uk. It is possible to contact teachers, via email, directly from your son/ daughter/ward’s timetable on STS, but please remember that teachers are busy teaching, preparing lessons and marking and will be unable to respond immediately.

Reporting Student Absence
The text number for reporting student absences is : 07481 342441.
Voicemail: 01273 546645
Email: registry@varndean.ac.uk

Student absences should be reported before 10 a.m on each day of absence. Further details on the absence procedures can be found at: https://varndean.ac.uk/absence_student

Further details about all of the above events will be sent out to students and parents nearer the time. Latest Dates for Your Diary are available here.

Finally, I hope you and your families have a enjoyable half term.

Yours faithfully
Phil Harland
©2019 Varndean College, Brighton, United Kingdom

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