At the end of a busy but rewarding Michaelmas term, we're taking a look at some of the highlights from the past few months.
1. Record-breaking exam results
In September we proudly announced that both our A-level and GCSE results were record-breaking successes, leading to the College being ranked by The Sunday Times as third in the UK for our academic results. This success in their Parent Power supplement league table, the benchmark for academic excellence, is the highest result ever for any co-educational school.
In this year’s GCSEs, 9 was once again the most common grade at Brighton, with 94.5% of all grades at 9-7/A*-A. At A-level an outstanding 97.2% of grades were at A*-B level.
2. Opening Doors at Brighton College
We welcomed Old Brightonian Sulaiman Wihba (Al. 2016-18) back to the College to launch our new scholarship programme, Opening Doors. Offering 20 free Sixth Form places at the College, the programme aims to provide a life-changing opportunity for local pupils.
The scholarship was partly inspired by Sulaiman who, in 2015, arrived in the UK after an incredibly demanding journey from his home in Syria. A chance encounter with Mr Cairns during one of the College's language classes led to Sulaiman, along with his friend and fellow refugee Elias, being awarded full scholarships to the College, where they both did so well that they received additional scholarships to study maths at Balliol College, Oxford, and medicine at Queen Mary's, University of London.
3. Entrepreneurship Challenge
This year’s Lower Sixth Entrepreneurship Challenge brought us some fantastic ideas from all nine teams involved.
Both theoretical and practical, the course considers why some businesses fail while others succeed through a series of inspiring lectures from successful entrepreneurs. Running alongside these lectures was the Entrepreneurship Challenge itself, in which nine teams of Lower Sixth pupils competed to become one of the three winning teams. This year's four finalists presented to the judges, and the following three teams were winners: self-defence and mindfulness app ProtectMe, online debating platform The Debating Club, and a colander wheelbarrow, courtesy of Saturn Barrow. Each team received £3,333 to further develop their business ideas.
4. Make a Difference Day
This year's Make a Difference Day was one of our best yet, with every pupil taking part in a diverse range of volunteering activities at local community projects. These included clearing scrub on the South Downs, packing bags for charity, baking cakes for Cancer Research UK and giving St Peter's Church a new coat of paint.
5. An OSCAR-worthy adventure
Ryle and Fenwick House hosted a life-changing football tour for an U17 team of 12 boys from Mumbai's OSCAR Foundation, a charity which uses football as a tool to encourage underprivileged girls and boys to go to school. OSCAR has one simple rule: “no school, no football”.
During their stay, the OSCAR boys were received with huge warmth from the whole College community, especially from Ryle and Fenwick. The spirit and impact of the visit are perhaps best expressed by one of the OSCAR boys who wrote in his diary: “the people here are so kind and loving and caring to us. Always looking after our comfort. We got to know so much over here about science, fiction, general knowledge and sport. This is surely a life-changing experience for me and my team."
6. Legally Blonde: The Musical
A huge congratulations to all of our pupils, staff and 'Gemini vegetarians' involved in this year's College production, Legally Blonde: The Musical! Reviews were incredibly positive, with audiences thrilled by the energetic performances and innovative staging - all set to fabulous music.
7. House Song 2019
This year, the girls from Williams House took home the coveted House Song trophy with their rendition of Lady Gaga's modern classic Bad Romance. With a stunning venue (special thanks to the historic Brighton Dome), a fantastic atmosphere and some truly memorable performances, this was a House Song to remember.
8. Our Library team
Throughout the term, our Library team have continued to inspire and surprise us with events and recommendations designed to get us all reading. Not only have teachers spoken about their favourite book in Chapel every week, but we've also had author visits, a spooky Halloween event in the library, the return of the Autumn Reading Challenge and, of course, fantastic weekly recommendations hand-picked by Ms Scott.
9. Sport, sport, sport
Our sports department have delivered a term of exciting fixtures and outstanding achievements. We've watched Old Brightonians compete in the World Athletics Championships, we've seen record-breaking rowing, enjoyed some of the best netball currently being played in the UK, celebrated stunning performances at the British Team Gym Championships... the list is endless.
One definite highlight from this term has to be when we received a special visit from two Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club players. Legendary recent Seagulls captain Bruno and former first team player Andrew Crofts (now the club’s under-23 player-coach) spoke to a group of our players, lending their support to our ongoing collaboration with LGBT+ rights charity Stonewall.
10. Thank you for the music!
The music department have been crucial to so many of the events that have made Michaelmas such a special term. The department have also treated us to two excellent Autograph Concerts, first with 8-piece London-based swing band The Brass Funkeys, and recently with a spectacular fundraising concert led by BBC Young Musician of the Year 2014 winner Martin James Bartlett.