Inspectors praise Varndean College for helping keep more students from heading to Syrian conflict

Posted On 24 Oct 2016 at 11:06 am

Inspectors from Oftsed have praised Varndean College for helping to prevent more of its pupils from travelling to join the conflict in Syria.

The praise comes after the death of two former students – Ibrahim Kamara and Jaffar Deghayes – who were among several teenagers at the Brighton sixth form believed to be at risk of radicalisation.

Ibrahim Kamara was 19 years old when he died in 2014 – the same year as Jaffar Deghayes, who was just 17, and his brother 18-year-old Abdullah, all from Brighton.

In a letter to Varndean College principal Phil Harland, schools inspector Richard Beynon wrote: “Safeguarding is effective.

“In public areas of the college there are relatively few posters or visual displays providing information about British values though there are posters and displays focusing on college values which mirror fundamental British values.

“Students understand the risks associated with careless use of the internet and social media and the dangers of radicalisation from those supporting extremist ideologies.

Ibrahim Kamara

Ibrahim Kamara

“Senior staff maintain a good range of links to specialist bodies and have strong links with the local authority ‘Prevent’ co-ordinator.

“Across the past two years a number of successful interventions and referrals have been made where staff have identified students at risk of radicalisation.

“All staff and governors complete face-to-face initial training and online refresher training in a good range of safeguarding topics.”

Dr Beynon wrote to Dr Harland to say that Varndean College had been rated good in its latest Ofsted inspection.

Among the strengths of the sixth form college, Ofsted said
• Teachers have worked successfully to ensure that progress made from starting points by students on A level courses remains outstanding and that progress on the International Baccalaureate course is also outstanding.
• Students studying at Level 3 benefit from a broad curriculum choice that allows a good range of combinations of academic and vocational courses, in addition to the highly successful International Baccalaureate programme.
• Students enjoy being at the college and value very highly the inclusive, tranquil atmosphere.
• Teaching, learning and assessment are of a consistently high standard and students enjoy the vibrant and challenging lessons they attend.

Dr Harland said: “Ofsted identified that Varndean College continues to promote a culture of high expectation, developing in students a strong work ethic and a good level of confidence.

“At Varndean College students and teachers work well together and it is that relationship that enables our students to make outstanding progress.

“Staff and students enjoy the Varndean College experience and we all value very highly our inclusive and tranquil atmosphere pervading the college on a day to day basis, making Varndean a happy place to be.

“During my ten years at Varndean College I have marvelled at the dedication of my staff and the growth I observe in our students.”

Janice Robinson, the chair of governors, said: “I am so pleased that Ofsted has recognised that Varndean College students achieve high rates of success while also enjoying the stimulating and supportive environment provided at our sixth form college.

“I offer my congratulations to the college staff who continue to provide such a good standard of education, enabling young people to make such impressive progress.”

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