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Bertrand Russell painting by students in Enrichment week 2016
Bertrand Russell painting by students in Enrichment week 2016

Our school is named after British philosopher Bertrand Russell and unique to Russell School, we adopt Philosophy for Children (P4C) enquiries in some of our tutor sessions. Students participate in discussion over ‘big ideas’ and develop the confidence to speak out and share their views. It is our philosophy that students need to learn how to think critically and creatively so that what and how they learn at Varndean is future-proof in an ever changing, fast paced 21st Century.

Varndean School is truly different – from the moment you step through the doors, the vibrancy and energy of the people in it can be felt.  There is a hunger for learning from both students and adults, making it a fantastic place to work.

Acting Head of Russell School  -  Mr A Roberts

Having lived by the coast in various seaside towns throughout my life, it was inevitable that I would end up settling down in Britain’s best! After studying in London at Roehampton University for four years, I graduated as a Primary School Teacher and taught in Croydon for five years before moving to Varndean School in 2007.

Teaching is something I have a real passion for and initially saw myself as a Primary School Teacher, teaching multiple subjects to one class.  After graduating, I spent two years teaching at a large Junior School before deciding to take a year out to travel the world.  Spending some time in various schools in countries such as Cambodia and Laos gave me a real thirst to return and make the most of the opportunities provided in the education system we have here in England. On my return, to the same school in Croydon, I became Head of Year 6 and the Maths Department Coordinator supporting colleagues in school and across the local authority.

However, the pull of sunny Brighton eventually won me over and combined with the exciting opportunity to set up the Primary Model Transition Class at Varndean, I  moved to Brighton. I had the best of both worlds;  teaching one class multiple subjects, but in a secondary school environment.  In 2010 I became an Advanced Skills Teacher and then in 2012 was successful in becoming the Deputy Head of Russell School.  Russell School is fantastic to be a part of; tracking pupils’ progress, supporting the social and emotional needs of the students and celebrating the many successes of our students makes working in Russell School Base a truly humbling and rewarding experience!

School Leader  -  Mrs M Joint

I joined Varndean seven years ago and took on the challenge of school leader last year.  My primary role is pastoral care for the students and the day to day running of a busy school base. My career did not begin in education but within the banking industry, where I last held the position of operational manager.  After my daughter was born I returned to part time work in education, supporting SEN students.

I took a sabbatical to live and work in France for seven years before returning to the UK and Varndean school.  Over the years my hobbies have varied from playing stoolball for a Sussex team, to being a member of the Territorial Army.  I am now enjoying the highs and lows of a Patcham allotment.

It is important to me that Russell School continues to embrace a friendly environment where students are listened to and feel supported.

School Leader - Miss R Quill 

I joined Varndean School in October 2015 working in the Russell base as a school Leader on Mondays and Tuesdays.

I have worked in various roles within my working life studying as a Dance Movement Therapist working within the NHS and schools across London.

I enjoy working at Varndean and getting to know and support all the students - helping with any concerns they may have and creating vital links with family members to ensure that the student can achieve to the best of their ability.

School Leader - Miss A Holder 

Hello, my name is Miss Holder and I am one of the School Leaders of Russell School.

I joined Varndean in September 2016 and my career has always been based around supporting children and young adults whilst at school.

My role at Varndean is to ensure that each student has a positive and rewarding experience during their time at Varndean School. I am here to not only support, guide and advise each and every student within Russell School, but also be a member of staff that parents can contact whenever they need to discuss an issue. 

Head Student - Saoirse Counihan

Saoirse Counihan Head of RussellMy initial motivation to become senior student stemmed from the very first moment I learned about the senior student positions, and ever since then, I have strived to become a part of the senior student team. As Head Student of Russell, I hope to make a positive impact on my fellow students and teachers. I will do this by working closely with the Russell school senior team. Along with my senior team, we would like to improve student voice and any other important issues that concern Russell School. I am currently creating a survey which I hope will allow me to find important issues which my fellow students and teachers deem matters of concern.

Russell News


What an amazing end to May, Year 11 all looked amazing for their Prom. Good luck to all Year 11 with their exams. 

Congratulations to Habiba, Keni and Eloise who gave up their Saturday to help with the art sale for VSIP. We raised £294 and they were amazing!

Current rankings for total achievement point totals - 7LAT/R 1st!!


Another fantastic term for Russell School - enjoy the Easter holidays.

WOW! The Russellmataz was fantastic! Thank you to all who supported the students and a massive well done to all the acts and the team who put the event together. 

Superb effort from the students in Russell who took part in the Brighton and Hove Swimming Championship.


Russell Razamataz - 6th April. It is already looking to be a fantastic event - more details coming soon. 

Comic Relief - please help Russell School raise money for Comic Relief 2017. Two of our students, Harley and Tabitha, will be doing all they can to get Bertie the goat around an obstacle course. The amount raised by each school base will determine what treats the students have available to encourage Bertie! 

Russell students who made the Top 10 Key Stage 4 Individual Achievement Points: Madeline Hogan, Rouguiata Barry, Lewis Bedford, Samuel Angelkov. 

Russell students who made the Top 10 Key Stage 3 Individual Achievement Points: Edith Yelling, Rowan Boyle and Kit Monti.

Rowing victory for Russell! Thank you to all the students who helped Russell reach 35,000m first in the inter-school rowing competition. 


Enjoy your Half Term Russell School.

The staff in Russell School base were thrilled to see 193 students awarded either bronze, silver, gold or platinum for their attitude to learning. 

Russell students who made the Top 10 Key Stage 4 Individual Achievement Points: Madeline Hogan, Rouguiata Barry, Lewis Bedford, Samuel Angelkov. 

Russell students who made the Top 10 Key Stage 3 Individual Achievement Points: Edith Yelling, Rowan Boyle and Kit Monti.


Hot Chocolate with the Headteacher this week goes to Ellie Doward for her superb start to Year 8. 

Victory for Varndean's Year 7 & 8 Netball team! Well done to the Russell students involved: Madeleine Charles-Ellery & Edith Yelling.

Congratulations to the Varndean Cross Country squad. Russell School's results were brilliant! Tom Eames, Edith & Henry Yelling - 1st, Rachel Berry - 3rd, Thomas Wells - 16th, Sam Lumley - 17th, Leila Ufer - 30th and Anna Zhang - 51st. 

We were extremely impressed to see that 124 Russell students received 30 achievement points each, for 100% attendance over the Autumn term (all names are displayed in Russell School Base).

Happy New Year!


Have a lovely holiday Russell School. 

Congratulations to all students for your efforts towards your form achievement points. The results across the whole school for Russell are as follows: Key Stage 3 (Years 7 & 8) - 3rd 7LAT and 5th 7DGI, both forms will be invited to a festive cinema experience at school. Key Stage 4 9 (Years 9, 10 & 11) - 3rd 9PNW will receive a festive breakfast delivered to their form!

A Russell victory for our Year 8 rugby team!

Two dance acts made the semi final of the Inter-school Dance Competition. A huge congratulations to Harley Palmer, Edith Yelling, Shreeya Rupani and Shivanikka Muthumanickavel who represented Russell School. 


Individual achievement points Top 10 Year 11: 2nd Grace Thorpe, 6th Molly Field, 10th Morgan Bradbury.

Individual achievement points Top 10 Key Stage 4: 1st Rouguiata Barry, 7th Lewis Bedford, 10th Samuel Angelkov.

Individual achievement points Top 10 Key Stage 3: 1st Edith Yelling, 4th Kit Monti, 7th Sailor Weeks, 9th Rowan Boyle.

Congratulations to the Year 7 students who took part in the Dodgeball competition. The students played brilliantly and won 1st place!


Have a great half term Russell School! See the assembly slide for more information about what we celebrated and discussed in Russell School.

Another fantastic two performances in assembly, thank you to Harper Taylor-Hansen and Shreeya Rupani. Both students have been awarded Russell School badges.

A big well done to the following students who have worked exceptionally hard to secure a spot on the latest Key Stage 3 & Key Stage 4 Top 10 achievement points table:

Key Stage 3 (yrs 7 & 8) - Kit Monti, Edith Yelling, Rowan Boyle and Billy Suriano-Dowlen - their second appearance on the table this term!

Key Stage 4 (yrs 9-11) - Rouguiata Barry, Lewis Bedford and Daniel Le-Lean. 

Congratulations to Fleur Henney, Kai Richens, Jake Jaffe-Schofield, Ellen Butterworth and Hanzal Asif for completing the 2016 Duke of Edinburgh expedition. 

Thank you Eliot Millward and Sailor Weeks for sharing your brilliant talent with Russell School in assembly. We loved the song and were amazed by their brilliant voices. Eliot and Sailor will be awarded with Russell School badges to recognise their talent and confidence. 


What an outstanding start to the new academic year for Russell School! The students have returned motivated and ready for the year ahead.

The staff in Russell School were impressed to see that our students put Russell School top of the achievement table for the first 3 weeks back.

A special well done to Edith Yelling who has excelled during her time at Varndean so far. Edith has 113 achievement points – the highest number of achievement points earned so far across the whole school. Also making the top 10 from Russell School is Kit Monti, Billy Suriano-Dowlen, Rowan Boyle, Nancy Jenkins, Kian Mulenga, Shreeya Rupani, Skye Dunbar and Frank Donbroski. Keep up the fantastic work Year 7!

Good luck to Year 11 who have now begun their final year at Varndean.

Well done to all in Russell School for a superb start back and to Year 7 for settling in so well. 

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