Headteacher's tribute to 'caring and thoughtful' Varndean student

The headteacher of Varndean School has paid tribute to 13-year-old student Minnie Rose Eastman, who died in Brighton on Monday (July 8).
Varndean School, Brighton (Credit: Google)Varndean School, Brighton (Credit: Google)
Varndean School, Brighton (Credit: Google)

William Deighan, headteacher of Varndean School, said: “Minnie Rose will be deeply missed by pupils and staff at Varndean School.

"Minnie Rose was caring and thoughtful, a gentle quiet child with plenty of friends.

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"She was doing well at school and came into her own in art and drama lessons. We’re so very saddened by this tragedy and we’re doing all we can to support the school community.

"We send our condolences to all grieving Minnie Rose’s loss and ask for respect for her family at this time.”

Sussex Police said emergency services were called to Islingword Street at 5.45pm on Monday (July 8).

Police said: "The girl, who has been named as Minnie Rose Eastman, was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton where she was pronounced deceased.

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"There are no suspicious circumstances and the matter has been passed to the coroner for enquiries. A multi-agency group has been established, including representatives from children’s social care, education and health authorities, to consider the incident."

Varndean School is offering students specialist support following the tragic news. Minnie Rose is the second student from the school who has died this year.

Mr Deighan sent a letter out to parents which said:“I am sorry to have to share with you the sad news that one of our students, Minnie Rose Eastman, died unexpectedly on Monday night.

“The police have informed us that there are no suspicious circumstances and the matter has been passed to the coroner’s officer for enquiries. I know that the thoughts and best wishes of the whole school community will be with Minnie’s family and friends at this exceptionally difficult time.

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“This morning we will make time for students and staff to have an opportunity to try to process this upsetting news and begin to reflect on how we move forward as a community.

“School bases and the counsellors are on hand all day to respond to the needs of individuals. If there is more that we need to know about how your child has been affected, please contact school bases who will help.

“We have seen already this year how bereavement can affect young people. Our support will continue this week and beyond to ensure students get the help they will need.

“In addition I have listed some phone numbers at the end of this email which may be useful, and worth keeping close at hand, if you are worried about the well-being of your own child as a result of this news. The school community is extremely shaken - as I know you will be.

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“The death of a child is a terrible shock and will affect us all. First and foremost the school’s focus will be upon the loss and needs of one of our families and our students and we would ask that we all refrain from speculation. Thank you for your support during this time.”