Win a new school building competition – the finalists - Varndean School

Win a new school building competition - the finalists

Varndean School
East Sussex


"Building spaces to build lives. Giving hope by giving opportunity."

Judges’ comments:

“Really good for encouraging students who want to get into vocational work, which is currently an underplayed part of the curriculum.”

Watch their 30-second video pitch

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Read their original 300-word entry

Varndean is a good-to-outstanding school according to Ofsted. It’s an 11-16 comprehensive. However, we want to be even better than we are. Our pass rates at GCSE are 57% A*-C (EM) and 74% A*-C.

That’s pretty good but we want to help everybody do well in life. For some of our students traditional classrooms don’t work well. For them, lessons can be hard to connect with and tedious.

We want to change that dramatically – and that means building a new curriculum especially for them.

That also means providing the right accommodation.

In the current climate, it’s difficult to get enough capital for that – although there is some money we can allocate to the project. But we do need help.

We recognize that the 25% of the students we are talking about are likely to develop best in the following trades: catering, leisure, retail and public sector organizations.

We want to provide them with appropriate accommodation and courses. We want to build some new spaces that could include an industrial kitchen, an on-site training facility for retail management (including a shop front), a trades area providing NVQs in electrical and mechanical training, a car workshop, a design studio and a health and social care suite.

Winning this competition could get us off to a flying start in providing the type of practical, purposeful education that this group of children needs. We hope to be able to use this as a catalyst for developing similar courses in every secondary school in Brighton through the Secondary Schools Partnership.

In addition, there would be an opportunity for Clearspace to work with us in pioneering a new strand of education, benefiting a large, neglected group of students and developing purpose-built accommodation to meet those needs.

Many thanks for your time.

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