A diverse range of workshops for students.
Years 7 and 8 were in taster mode ahead of their language and GCSE options respectively. Year 7 experienced a whole host of languages whilst Year 8 investigated subjects further through a range of taster lessons.
Year 9 had local charity Allsorts Youth Project delivering workshops, Year 10 were doing science practical and theory exams and Year 11 worked on their English IGCSE or an intensive mathematics day in preparation for their final exams.
The Year 7 classes were in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Portuguese, French, German, Dutch, Spanish and Greek! Students learnt about these different cultures and their language to fire their passion for languages in general, whilst helping with deciding their language options.
As an example, Russian Dolls, Russian clay ovens, Russian Santa and Cheburashka - a fictitious small brown-haired animal cartoon character - were all discussed in the Russian class as well as learning numbers, common phrases and practising the pronunciations.
At the end of the day students enthusiastically learnt a song and/or dance routine to one of the languages they had learnt that day for performance in the Varndean-o-vision competition, performed in front of the rest of Year 7 in the hall, with three teachers as judges.
Coming in 3rd place was a Japanese entry from 7HC. In 2nd place was 7SF who enthusiastically performed a Dutch song and dance.
In 1st place, winning 30 achievement points each and winners of the 2016 Varndean-o-vision cup, were...7JC! They sang a traditional Chinese song with a student accompanying them on the piano.
When asked what they learnt from the day, a student said:
That everyone is the same no matter where they are from.
Year 8 had taster sessions to help decide which options they wanted to take for their GCSEs/BTECs. They had sessions in the technology department, social sciences, the arts, physical education, health and social care, computing, business studies, media studies, travel and tourism and additional maths.
They learnt about post-16 opportunities and higher education and also took part in a workshop on careers, where they conducted careers research and were given the tools to do further research out of school.
Year 9 had an equality and diversity day with Allsorts Youth Project delivering workshops on LGBTU, anti-bullying and gender identity. Also, workshops were led by Varndean staff on disability awareness, identity and gender equality.
Allsorts Youth Project are a charity based in Brighton on Ship Street. For all young people up to the age of 26, they have a fortnightly group for under 16s and offer one-to-one support which is also available in school.
Students were asked whether being LGBTU was a choice and why:
You wouldn't ask when someone chose to be straight, so why the other way round?
Allsorts explained that the only choice someone has is whether they live openly about it and a safe, caring school environment is extremely important to those coming to the realisation they are LGBTU, as well as for everyone.
Year 10 sat their Individual Skills Assessment (ISA) science exams. Counting for 25% of their overall science GCSE, the ISAs involved a practical experiment and write up, and results will be out once they have been marked.
Whilst some Year 11s were doing their speaking and listening for their IGCSE in English, others had an intensive mathematics day to help with their upcoming exams or were working on referencing and research skills for the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in their chosen subject.