“Thankyou for helping me differentiate both mathematically and between outstanding teaching (done at RIC) and the teaching often done elsewhere. It helped me in my teaching career.”
rubia siddiqui, former student
Good teaching is not in itself always enough to ensure success. Rochester Independent College is always exceptionally supportive.
Young people are not born with the ability to study, pass exams, revise or to organise their time properly and we believe it is the job of a good school to foster and teach these skills rather than expect them to evolve by magic. Exam technique, a skill sometimes neglected even in good schools, is given much emphasis.
Examination success is as much about confidence and motivation as subject knowledge. When it comes to exam revision, students find that Rochester’s intensive revision programmes are unmatched anywhere. Students don’t have to struggle with hastily scribbled notes on some long forgotten classroom lecture. We do not send our students away on study leave and the tutors are on hand to guide and structure revision right the way up to the final papers.
The College aims to support and monitor students to ensure that all coursework and revision is completed satisfactorily. We are however also keen to ensure that students develop the confidence and study skills necessary for them to succeed independently once they leave the highly structured environment of the College and proceed to university. We aim to strike the right balance between academic hand holding and encouraging independence. An important part of the College’s teaching ethos is that staff are available to help students individually outside of scheduled lesson times.
“The marking of students’ work is regular and detailed. Individual progress is carefully monitored and teachers give very clear guidance on exactly what students need to do to improve. Written feedback provides sharp, measurable targets. “
“I came to RIC in year 13 with grades CEEE at AS. In a year this went to AAC and I left for university with these grades and a great dollop of self confidence.”
caitlin wynne, joined ric for year 12 from dartford grammar school
Increasingly, students choose to switch to Rochester Independent College after completing the first year of their A level studies elsewhere, allowing them to be re taught comprehensively and then retake all AS modules necessary alongside the A2 material.
A more individualised approach means that disappointing results in Year 12 can be dealt with without university plans being wrecked. A change of environment at this stage of a two year A level course is a highly successful way of ensuring good results without the need for a retake year.
Year 13 entry means an intensive year- no bank holidays, no study leave and often teaching over half terms and Easter.
Our tutors and UCAS advisors are often able to quickly make credible grade predictions based on assessment of potential over the year here rather than prior achievement elsewhere.
Students also move directly into RIC’s sixth form after a disappointing first year of the IB Diploma programme. A level successes in 2016 include:
Theodora Penney from Chatham this time last year had grades CDE in her AS exams and was worried that she would not fulfill her ambition to study Economics at a top university. After switching for Year 13 from a local grammar school she is now celebrating grades of AAB and a place at Sheffield University for Economics.
Ella Halpern-Matthews switched to RIC after the first year of the IB Diploma at a local grammar school. Finding A levels a better route for her, Ella completed three subjects intensively in only one year, making her grades of AAA in History, English Literature and Film Studies even more impressive. Ella has a place to study History at SOAS, University of London, the world’s leading institution for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Moving directly into the Upper Sixth/Year 13 at Rochester Independent College also gives students the opportunity to take a fresh look at their A level options, sometimes choosing to change academic direction and their subject choices. Our teachers can offer all examination boards and options, making it possible to switch schools with ease.
Particularly noteworthy achievements from Year 13 transfer students in the class of 2014 include:
Katie Taylor, joined after Year 12 from Dartford Grammar. AS Grades: ABBCD. A2 Grades at RIC: A*AA. Destination: Durham University, Geography
Nadine Muncey, joined after Year 12 from Mayfield Grammar. AS Grades BDD. A2 Grades at RIC: A*A*A*
“I’ve got the Muncey perfection streak and was determined to improve on my AS results. I have though really exceeded my expectation and can’t believe my results. I really like the relationship between teachers and students here. In class there was lots of banter as we sat around tables in small groups.”
Nadine is pictured with Fergus Stewart from Rochester Maths School who is a celebrating a coveted place at university to study Physiotherapy.
Louis Ellingworth, joined after Year 12 from Bryanston School, Somerset. AS Grades BCD. A2 Grades at RIC: ABB Destination: Sociology, Manchester University
David Hawes, joined after Year 12 from Central Sussex College. AS Grades DEU. A2 Grades at RIC: AAB Destination: International Politics, Aberystwyth University
Sasha Miles, joined after Year 12 at Simon Langton. AS Grades ABCD. A2 Grades at RIC: A*AB Destination: Classical Civilisation, Nottingham University
“I hated English at my old school but at RIC the teachers prepared me for the exams, inspired me and made me love English again. I went from a D to an A. It was really easy to get here on the train from Selling and even better as there were lots of us travelling to College.”
Becky Dolman, joined after year 12 at Invicta. A2 Grades at RIC AAAB Destination: Law and American Studies, Sussex University.
“The moment we came to the interview at RIC I knew it was the right place. When I came there were lots of people in the same boat. All the teachers have been brilliant. If you get something wrong they make you see how you can change and improve it yourself. They make you think and don’t spoonfeed. I really liked the two hour lessons as there was so much time for debate. At my old school there was only one type of person and it was cliquey but at RIC there are people from all over the world
Priya Sethukumar took her GCSEs and AS exams at Highsted Grammar School and joined Rochester Independent College for Year 13, continuing A levels in Physics, Chemistry and Biology and starting a new A level, Sociology from scratch. Priya won at place at Imperial College to read medicine.
A similar story was Roshni Patel from Gravesend Grammar School who crashed in Year 12 but after transferring into Year 13 won a place to study Medicine at St George’s in 2009. Her parents, Mr and Mrs Patel comment:
“We are extremely happy with Roshni’s results. This is our second daughter to attend Rochester Independent College after disappointing results elsewhere. Our older daughter Sarina is in her final year of Dentistry at Queen Mary.”
Jack Weston: “I decided to change school after year 12. I was at Gravesend Grammar School for Boys and was disappointed with my AS results. My results were not what I wanted or needed for university. I’d been at my previous school for 6 years and consequently there were lots of distractions. I came to RIC to take Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Government and Politics, it’s a much more academically focussed college. In fact it was my parents who came in to see Alistair and have a look around as I was working, it wasn’t until my first day that I saw the college for myself! It has been a really good year, I’ve worked really hard and the support from the teachers has been excellent. My personal tutor gave me lots of help and advice with my university application and I now have 5 out of 5 offers for university. Warwick is my first choice and I know that I’ve done all I could have this year to get the grades.” After CCC at AS Jack improved to A*AB at A2 and won his place. His parents comment: “We are absolutely delighted – as is he!” It is particularly special for us because we met at Warwick University – and got there with lower grades than Jack!”
Alex Alford: “I was so happy with my GCSE results but then my AS year did not go as well as planned at Bennett Memorial. I got BDD in Maths, Chemistry and Physics. I was lucky, my parents gave me the opportunity to come here for year 13 and retake some of my AS modules. Environment change has been the key. I think I was just too buddy with my friends at Bennett which affected my work. At RIC I am here to work hard and get the grades I need for Engineering. The travelling is strenuous but it is great having the college minibus service from Sevenoaks. I feel so much more confident now and am much better prepared for the exams. We do loads of past papers and the teachers give us fantastic insights into how to answer questions to achieve our potential. There is a real enjoyment of learning, the teachers are passionate about their subjects and we don’t just work from text books. Maths lessons are quirky in the shed in the garden! I’m hoping to study Chemical Engineering next year.” Alex secured AAB and leaves for Bath University in September.
Tim Turvey– who lives on the same Sevenoaks street as Alex-transferred to RIC from Tunbridge Wells Boys Grammar, disappointed with his AS grades of CDD. Tim benefited from the college’s expertise in Maths and Science, finally achieving AAB, securing his place at Nottingham to read Mechanical Engineering. His brother, Rob Turvey joined RIC’s Middle School in year 10 and takes his GCSEs next year. Seb Lundberg joined RIC after his year 12 at Colfe’s and went on to gain AAA in History, Politics and English Literature. Seb is also set for Nottingham and a Theology degree where he is joined by Sophie Dunk, resident RIC lab rat and formerly of Gravesend Grammar school for Girls who will be reading Zoology there.
Matt Swain from Leybourne is celebrating winning a place at Hull and York Medical School and 4 top Grade As at A level. His 2008 success is even more astounding as he made the decision to switch schools half way through his A levels to maximise his chances of a place at Medical School. He joined the Upper Sixth at Rochester Independent College after six years at Maidstone Grammar School. Matt says: “My previous school said I was a solid grade B student and wouldn’t make the A grades required for Medical School. I was determined to realise my ambition to become a doctor.” Matt’s application was helped not only by a good portfolio of work experience but by taking an additional A level- Sociology- from scratch in a year.
Josh Thompson: “Coming to the College for the Upper 6th was a completely different experience from grammar school at Rochester Maths. I had no idea a “teacher” could be any more than a face spouting information – the personal and caring atmosphere you have in place nurtured me into the young man that was so stifled in the image conscious and controlling institution that I spent 5 years suffocating in.” After securing AAB at A level Josh studied English at Sussex University.
Danni Jennings from Maidstone celebrated a dramatic turn around in academic fortunes and a place to study Theatre at one of the UK’s top rated universities for the subject. She was devastated after receiving her AS results at Invicta Grammar School which were graded E E U. Determined to improve on these Danni moved school and joined RIC for her Upper Sixth, switched subjects and celebrated results of A A B and a place at Royal Holloway, University of London. Danni’s achievement is even more remarkable as she completed her A level Theatre Studies in a year from scratch whereas most people take two years over it. Danni also secured a Silver Medal in her LAMDA Speech and Drama exam during her time at Rochester. Danni says: “I think when you fail first time it gives you a kick up the backside. I was determined to get good grades.” Danni is pictured with Caitlin Wynne who joined RIC from Dartford Grammar at the end of her Year 12 with very low AS grades and after a year’s intensive study raised these to AAC and won a place to study English Literature at Hull.
“Thank you to you and your staff for helping to get Josh to university. I am sure that had he remained at Wellington College for Upper VI he would not have achieved sufficient to get him a reasonable university place.”
martin craddock, former parent
“This is just to say a very big ‘thank you’ to all of Alistair’s tutors at Rochester Independent for your superb guidance, expert management of the application for Law, unfailing kindness, patience and brilliant teaching. You taught him to think properly, to write clearly and fulfilled every promise you made to us.”
judith wickham, parent of alistair, class of 2010, joined ric from invicta grammar school, maidstone
a reliable passport to your university of choice
With university entrance becoming increasingly competitive it’s clear that sixth form is more than ever becoming the educational make or break time. With a degree now far more of a common currency and the cost of a university education increasing it is even more important for students to ensure they aim to secure entry to good courses at respected institutions.
Statistics starkly demonstrate private school domination of Grade A achievement. Last year 50% of A levels sat in independent schools were passed at Grade A, compared with 20% in comprehensives. 31% of independent school candidates secured AAA compared with 10% across all state schools. Just as crucially, independent school candidates are much more likely to sit A levels preferred by leading universities such as Maths, Economics and French. In spite of efforts by Oxbridge to widen access to state school applicants 50% of its undergraduates remain privately educated. Other leading Russell Group and 1994 group universities also admit a disproportionate number of independently educated students. Against such a backdrop then it is not surprising that post GCSE many parents consider moving to an independent sixth form in order to maximise student potential.
Teachers, Personal Tutors and careers advisors work together at RIC with all students to help them to approach the future. As students develop their ideas, the personal tutor system also helps in other ways, notably with ensuring that each student is studying the correct subjects for their chosen career path and that they are achieving at a sufficiently high level. The Personal Tutors and the College Principals work closely with the UCAS Advisors to ensure that students are properly supported and guided through the university application process. The College has a great deal of expertise in preparing students for Oxbridge applications as well as for medical school and other highly competitive courses such as Dentistry, Vet Science, English and Law.
Students are guided through every aspect of their UCAS application. Students often seem to find filling out an application form for University even more daunting than their actual A levels! Extensive individual advice not only helps students to remember all the salient points they should be using to make the best application possible, it also can help them to be absolutely sure they are applying for a course they really want to do, rather than one they to which they have simply drifted into. Read our 10 top tips for writing your UCAS personal statement here.
During the course of each academic year there are also regular visits from university tutors who talk to students interested in particular subject areas.
RIC tutors are also able to advise on preparing applications to North American universities and those in Europe as well as music, drama and art schools and GAP year programmes. We offer interview training and guidance for students who need to take additional entrance tests such as the LNAT for Law and the UKCAT for medicine.
Thank you so much for enabling Sam to get his 2As and a B for Manchester. We are really thrilled he has been able to fulfil his potential in this way but know that it wouldn’t have happened without the excellent quality of teaching, guidance and pastoral care that you provided.”
emma begg, parent of sam, class of 2010, joined ric from the judd school, tonbridge
“The tutor system makes a significant contribution to students’ education guidance and underpins their rapid progress”
A highly structured pastoral team sees academic progress and personal welfare closely monitored by Personal Tutors. A level students have individually timetabled meetings with their tutor to discuss progress. A report from the Russell Group of top universities underlined the importance of students choosing A level subjects wisely as the fate of their applications will depend on it. Personal tutors work closely with their tutees to ensure they are studying the right combination at the right level to match their university aspirations.
Students on A level courses take regular formal tests. Students are kept on target and problems are dealt with immediately rather than left to degenerate. Our teaching and pastoral staff are pro active, identifying where students are having difficulties and offering practical help, solutions and encouragement as well as policing course work submission assiduously.
Tutors file regular reports on students and these are emailed to parents giving constant feedback. An end of term report should never contain surprises for either students or their parents. The College operates an ‘open door’ policy and parents feel free to come and see, telephone or email Personal Tutors and Principals to discuss any issue concerning them.
“There are many things which separate Rochester Independent College from other educational institutions but one I am most proud of is our Personal Tutoring system. Rather than clump students into form groups, at RIC we treat each student as an individual and this is best illustrated when the College’s Personal Tutors meet with students on a one-to-one basis. Each student will have a scheduled slot to meet with their designated Personal Tutor every few weeks and this affords the student a great opportunity to discuss subject choices, progress, academic and career aspirations and any concerns that may have cropped up. As the academic year progresses, attention in these meetings turns to exam preparation and revision strategies. From the tutor’s perspective, this allows for a greater understanding of the motivation and aims of each student and establishes relationships built on mutual respect whilst helping the students to develop independent study skills and an enhanced sense of intrinsic motivation. The support that students have from their Personal Tutors can come as a culture shock to many but, from my perspective, it highlights one of the fundamental aspects of the ethos of Rochester Independent College which is developing a student centred environment in a safe, happy working environment for all.” dr todd dedman, head of sixth form
“Your educational formula at the College is very special.”
subjects available at AS and A2 level at ric
Art and Design
Government and Politics
History of Art
For further information about the subjects we offer see our 6th Form Handbook