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Ten Brighton college students to study medicine
5:50pm Wednesday 13th March 2013 in News
By Gareth Davies
Medical marvels from Varndean Sixth Form College have been accepted to study medicine at university despite recent controversy about the capacity of state schools to support aspiring doctors.
This year, ten Varndean College students have secured places for medicine or medical sciences in higher education, representing an increase on last year’s figures.
Five of the successful applicants studied the International Baccalaureate Diploma at Varndean College, including Rebekah Morris, who achieved 44 points out of 45, putting herself among the top 0.25% of 55,000 diploma candidates world-wide.
She is taking up her place at Exeter University in September after a gap year spent partly in Peru.
“The support I had from Varndean College was invaluable. Getting in to medicine is never easy but the college gave me some really useful guidance.”
Rebekah, who previously studied at nearby Varndean School, also gained valuable experience working eight hours a week for six months in the Gynaecology ward at the Royal Sussex and also a local care home for adults with learning difficulties.
Jill Sawyer, who is director of student progress at Varndean, said that “It’s notoriously competitive to study to become a doctor.
"Our aspiring medics benefit from a dedicated and experienced team of tutors who support them from day one, advising them about what they need to be doing whilst they are at Sixth Form College – by way of qualifications or work experience – in order to make the best impression possible on medical admissions tutors.
As a Sixth Form College it pays that we can really focus on the 16-18 age range and consequently develop a lot of expertise in meeting their needs.”
Recently, Maria Hutchings – the Conservative challenger in the Eastleigh by-election – provoked a storm of protest after suggesting state schools were not good enough for her 12-year-old son, who has ambitions to become a surgeon.
She said: “William is very gifted, which gives us another interesting challenge in finding the right sort of education for him – impossible in the state system. He wants to be a cardio-respiratory surgeon.”
Dr Phil Harland, Principal of Varndean College, Brighton & Hove disagreed.
He said: “All too often politicians of all parties try to make political capital by talking down state education when they really ought to be celebrating the tremendous achievements of our young people.
“We really need to congratulate our gifted and talented students who go on to achieve their ambitions in the face of frequent carping about their state schools, teachers and qualifications.”
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