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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.  He inspires us in many ways, which are most importantly captured by the quote "a good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge".  This reminds us all of the importance of learning and gaining knowledge in a range of subjects so that we can really know about the world around us and how to live our lives. 

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.

But it also places real emphasis on how we treat each other and tells us that we must be inspired by love and should therefore be kind.  Russell students will learn to be good people as well as learning to think critically and creatively ready for the challenges of the 21st century.

Head of Russell School - Miss A Holder 

Hello, my name is Miss Holderand I am the Head 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.

Deputy Head of Russell School  - Mr J Waite

Photo of Mr J WaiteMy name is James Waite and I am the Deputy Head of Russell school as of January 2022. 

I am deeply passionate about the students I teach and the school that I have been a part of for the past 10 years! I live locally so I am very well connected to the city and to the students and families that form part of our local community. My specialist area is the study of foreign languages, having successfully completed my degree in French, German and Spanish back in 2004 and apart from working as a holiday entertainer and being a member of cabin crew for Virgin Atlantic, I have been teaching languages ever since!

Having open communication and strong links within our Russell community, including teaching staff, students and families is key for getting Russell to the number 1 spot.

Go team Blue!

School Leader - Ms R Christy

My name is Rachel Christy and I am a School Leader in Russell base. I have had a long career in hospitality management but in the last few years had a change of direction, working with young people in schools as a teaching assistant and pastoral lead here at Varndean.   

It is my belief that all young people have the ability to reach their potential. Through our work in school bases we support students' wellbeing and help to make their time at Varndean a positive experience.

Please contact me on extension 277 or email me at 

School Leader - Ms L Smallwood

My name is Lucy Smallwood. I have lived and worked in Brighton all my life and I joined Varndean as a School Leader in September 2021. I believe it is important to make students feel connected to school and to inspire them to do things they never thought they could, with empathy, humility and positivity. 

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