A headteacher will make history as she takes charge at a college.

Donna-Marie Janson will become the first woman to lead Brighton’s Varndean College since it was founded in 1884.

She will become the eighth headteacher in that time.

Miss Janson is currently the vice principal but will step into her new role at the start of the next academic year when current principal Philip Harland stands down.

She said: “I am absolutely thrilled to become the next principal of Varndean College and I am looking forward to building on the excellent successes the college has already had.

“I will give my best to ensure that we remain in the very special place we are, both as a learning environment and as a workplace.

“Varndean is truly unique.

“We have an outstanding academic track record as well as a real community ethos where students thrive and where we put student happiness at the heart of everything we do.

“It is a very exciting time to become principal, with the opening of our new science, technology, engineering and maths centre as well as our growing student body and outstanding results.”

Miss Janson has been a part of Varndean College’s senior leadership team for the past two years and faced tough competition for the school’s top job.

But she landed the role, finishing above what the college describes as a “prestigious pool of external candidates”.

Mr Harland has held the position for 14 years and said he had “mixed emotions” about leaving the job.

He said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to be the principal of Varndean College.

“The original school was founded in 1884 in York Place and moved to its current location in 1937, becoming a sixth form college in 1975.

“We ‘Varndeanians’ have a long tradition of providing a first-class education to the youth of our city, and in being a community in which all flourish.

“I was appointed in 2006 as the seventh headteacher of this wonderful institution and I can honestly say that it has been everything I had hoped for – wonderful staff, wonderful students and a truly unique environment and location.

“I look forward to my retirement with mixed emotions.

“I will miss the challenges a leadership role provides, I will miss the joy of watching young people exceed their own expectations and I will miss the sense of community and the feeling that we are collectively engaged in work that matters – it matters because what we do changes lives.”

He continued: “I will leave Varndean College in the knowledge that its place is secure and that the new principal, Donna-Marie, will ensure that the value Varndean College adds to our 16-19 year olds, our adult students and international students will continue into the future.

“It has been my privilege to work with Donna-Marie for two years. She has shown great focus on the quality of the student experience, our inclusive agenda, our desire to address inequality and the success of students and the institution.

“Donna-Marie will be well supported by our governors who give of their time selflessly. I wish Donna-Marie, Varndean College its staff and students well for the future.”