“It was a difficult decision to retake my A levels but now I know it was the best thing I could have done with my gap year. I have found all my teachers inspiring and enthusiastic and they have given me the confidence I needed to achieve my potential. I have the skills and confidence to go and do well at university.”
daisy falconer, retake a level student
changes to a level retake courses from 2013
As part of its ongoing education reforms the government has removed the opportunity for students to resit any A level modules in January. The last A level January modules were available in January 2013. Traditional one term September-January A level resit courses offered by independent sixth form colleges on English exam boards (OCR, Edexcel and AQA) are therefore no longer possible. These one term courses however were sometimes limited by the availability of modules in January anyway and less impressive to universities as it was always clear students were looking for a quick fix with minimum disruption to their gap year plans!
In effect most successful RIC A level resit students have in recent years opted for the September-June programme as this has given the best chances of significant grade improvement, the opportunity to take fresh subjects alongside retaking and to prepare properly for university. As many resit students at RIC opt to board there is still the opportunity to leave home at the same time as peers and live in a residential environment that is designed to be a stepping stone between school and university.
RIC’s bespoke A level resit courses now run January- June or September-June depending on individual circumstances. Our teachers can offer retake courses for all examination boards and options.
It is also possible for students to combine resitting A levels part time September-June with strengthening their work experience portfolios.
RIC works closely with A level retake students on their university applications ensuring that they target their applications at universities that will consider A level retake students for their chosen course and present themselves and their tenacious choice to retake in the most positive light.
“I learnt more in one term on an A level resit course than I had done in the whole two years of Chemistry at my previous school.”
amelia liddell, joined ric from king’s canterbury, now at the royal veterinary college studying veterinary science
One year A level retake courses have always been the most appropriate option if significant grade improvements are required. Short January A level resit courses work best if a student has only narrowly missed their grades. The College is able to offer 1 year A level resit courses to students on most examination boards.
profiles of one term january a level retake students
Matthew Sarstedt, from Cheshire knew that the disappointing A level grades in 2009 from his previous school would not hold him back from his ambition to be a dentist.
“On results day I knew I had to resit – I was absolutely determined to study dentistry rather than going through clearing for something else and I knew that I needed a college that would specialise in intensive January resits.”
Matthew enrolled on a short A level retake course taking Chemistry and Maths in January while boarding in the College halls of residence. He also added extra subjects, taking Sociology and Statistics AS, strengthening his academic profile. He said:
“I expected boarding to be old fashioned and uncomfortable with loads of rules and regulations but it was so different. My room was great and the staff were really kind and fun. Also it was so easy to get extra help from my teachers when I needed it as they were right on the campus and happy to help at any time. I felt the difference after high school – it was significant.”
Last year Matthew was rejected from all the Dental schools without interview. This year he received offers and achieved his grades and started Dentistry at Sheffield University in September 2010, proving that retaking A levels and broadening your profile can be successful. RIC’s successful Dental retakers often add AS Ceramics or AS Statistics to demonstrate and develop their mathematical and manual dexterity skills.
Louisa Garcia joined RIC on a 1 term January retake course last year from King’s, Rochester to improve her English Literature and History A level grades and secure a place on her first choice History of Art degree course at Birmingham University. To ensure she made the most of her extra term of study Louisa took AS History of Art alongside her A level resits to prepare for her chosen university course. Taking extra courses helps convince the better universities that retaking students are serious about preparing for undergraduate study. After her January A level retake term Louisa was able to enjoy the rest of her GAP year by travelling to Australia as originally planned.
This strategy of combining a one term A level retake course with extra subjects up to AS level is popular with universities as demonstrated by the success of RIC students taking this route. Studying something fresh rather than regurgitating a subject you have been studying for a year can often be more rewarding for the student as well. It turns an A level retake course into a university preparation course.
team ric a level january resit success
Will Selmon from Harrow school added AS World Development to his January A level retakes of Chemistry and Biology and won a place at Newcastle University to study Geography. Simon Melizan from The Forest School, Berkshire boarded at RIC for a term and took a combination of fresh AS subjects including Film Studies and A level January retakes to rack up the UCAS points needed for his Nottingham Trent Interior Architecture course.
“Your educational formula at the College is very special.”
Fill in our online enquiry form to request a prospectus, arrange a call back to discuss AS or A level retakes or book a visit.
RIC’s exam results regularly match or exceed those of more highly selective private schools. We believe that our small teaching groups, regular testing and structured tutorial support are responsible for this.
We are a mixed ability school that offers a full range of subjects so inevitably our results on a year to year basis reflects the range of students who join us each year. For some students 3 Grade Cs at A level represents just as much of an achievement as our Oxbridge high fliers with their annual rows of A* grades.
Click here for details of A level results 2015.
Click here for details of A level results 2014.
Click here for details of A level results 2013.
RIC is a non-selective school and students have historically joined us only for very short periods of time for their GCSE study, often for a year or even less. Ofsted report: “The good examination results achieved by students at both GCSE and A levels reflect their progress and the effective structures of support employed by the College.” The results include those of high achieving students who secure a row of As and A*s and those for whom passing five at Grade C level represents an enormous achievement in the light of their previous educational record. After GCSEs at RIC students are well prepared to proceed either to our own sixth form or to the selective local grammar schools.
“With the support of my teachers and classmates the intensive A level course has been a great opportunity to have another shot at applying for Medicine and succeeding.”
Vinny Soundararajan, now studying Medicine at the University of East Anglia
One popularly held misconception that Rochester Independent College debunks with complete and cheerful confidence is that “A levels have to be two year courses.” As RIC students show with year after year of fantastic results, A levels can be done successfully in just a single year of study. Students take one year A level courses for a variety of reasons. The most common are under-achievement in the lower sixth, AS year at another school; a need to retake A levels, perhaps adding one or two new subjects and returning to education after a break and needing to gain qualifications rapidly. Students also transfer to one year fast track A levels after a low score at IB. One year A level courses often open new educational doors for students and lead to places at first choice universities. Mature students and non Science graduates sometimes take one year A level courses at RIC if they need key subjects for their chosen university course such as A level Chemistry for Medicine and Vet Science.
2016 1 Year A level Success
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. Another high flying one year A level success is Henry Barten from Cranbrook School. Henry joined the College with CDDD at AS, switched all of his subjects and took three one year A levels in Psychology, Sociology and Film Studies. His grades of AAB have won him a Psychology place at KCL. Toby Vautier from Bryanston School in Somerset improved his CDD to ABB. Particularly noteworthy is that while Toby retook his Economics taking it from a C to an A he opted to take two new subjects from scratch in one year, English Literature and Film Studies. His parents said: “We are relieved and grateful in equal measure. It has helped his confidence greatly. He is really buzzed about Loughborough which is also positive.” Another boarding student retake success is Freddie Fone from Tonbridge School who improved his grades from BEE to ABB and now has a place to study Marketing and Management at Newcastle University. Freddie retook his Fine Art A level and again took two new subjects from scratch, Film Studies and Graphic Design.
One of RIC’s star performers in 2014 was Arielle de Lacy whose results of A*A*A (English Literature, History of Art and Philosophy)were achieved after only 9 months of study. Irina Bravo from Barcelona was similarly successful on her one year A level programme, achieving grades of A*A*AB in Spanish, Photography, Film Studies and Drama respectively.
Groups in all subjects on one year courses tend to be dynamic and exciting with lots of interaction between students and teachers. Those aiming for places on highly competitive courses such as Law, Medicine, English, and Veterinary Science will find themselves in groups of similarly dedicated students keen to make rapid progress. The pace is swift and focused on the demands of the examinations. Classroom teaching is supplemented in all subjects by a structured revision programme and weekly testing.
Paul Dutton, RIC’s Head of Physics has this advice for students thinking about a one year A level course:
“How can students achieve A level success in one year? You have to bring something to the party: Commitment. In return we offer courses with the flab removed. At RIC we have the expertise to put together a course which distills A levels down to the essentials and ensures that everything you learn is completely relevant to your syllabus. Our programme of regular testing under exam conditions ensures you know exactly how you are performing on a weekly basis. Our generous allocation of lesson time ensures that the one year course is not rushed but paced. One year A levels, either from scratch or from a background which is not working at present, are often seen as daunting. With proper planning and management they are achievable.”
Tuition methods at RIC are aimed at helping each student to understand and realise their own potential. Small classes, with a maximum of eight in a group, and the easy accessibility of staff ensure that students receive a great deal of individual help and attention. Regular tests under examination conditions are designed to help those who suffer from ‘examination nerves’ and prepare them for public examinations.
Typical of RIC one year A level students is James Baker from King’s Canterbury who joined with two A levels- a C in Geography, a D in English- and a D in As Economics. After a one year course at RIC James celebrated ABB at A level in three brand new subjects (Media, World Development and Sociology)- all taken in a year from scratch. James received offers from Bristol, Cardiff and Oxford Brookes but opted to take up a place studying Sociology at his first choice- Exeter University to study Sociology. Off to train as a vet is another former King’s School Canterbury student Elizabeth Royce who after a one year intensive A level course in Chemistry will study at Bristol University.
Adam Dooley joined RIC last September from Sutton Valence. His story is typical in demonstrating that subject choice is often crucial in determining success. He left SVS with EUU at A level in Business Studies, ICT and Sports Science. He took three fresh subjects at RIC (Media, Film and Graphic Design), all in one year, and ended up with BCC at A level and a place at Leeds Metropolitan University to study Sports Marketing.
“Last year my results were CCB and I only got my insurance offer at uni which was Manchester Met. I actually went for one week but felt disappointed because I knew I could have done better and my results didn’t reflect my capabilities. My parents spoke to family friends and RIC was mentioned. I left Manchester Met and had an interview at Rochester where I was reassured and encouraged to aim higher. It has helped to raise my ambition and realise my potential – my previous school told me I would never get into a Russell Group university. It has also helped me become more confident. It is relaxed and welcoming in the boarding house. The quality of teaching is noticeably better than at previous schools with small class sizes and plenty of discussion. The teachers have made me truly interested in my subjects and see their relevance in the world. I’ve got five offers from Exeter, Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Newcastle.”
A level one year A level boarding student 2012-13
Intensive one year A level courses for day and boarding students at Rochester Independent College in Kent
One year A level student Joe McManners joined Rochester Independent College as a boarder having already achieved 10 A*s at GCSE and 3 A*s at A level in Maths, English Literature and History at Tonbridge School. Changing direction, he is now taking one year A level courses in Chemistry and Biology and he has a few tips as to what has worked well for him in the past.
Joe says: “I tend work in silence when I’m rote learning, but if I find myself lagging, I’ll get out a bit of ‘Pendulum’ on my iPod and have a 5 minute burst to shake off the cobwebs. It’s really is effective and stops me drinking too much coffee! Sometimes, I’ll stand up and walk around the room incanting chemical equations to myself, so after 20 minutes or so I’ve learnt a whole portion of material.
A really good way to bring less engaging material to life is to work with a friend and run through the book together, asking each other quick-fire questions back and forth like a game of ping-pong. This way, by the time you come to sit down to the work, you are already familiar with the material – the neurological pathways have already been illuminated. It can be high-energy and is much easier than struggling away by yourself.
To keep on track I always write a timetable so I’ve defined my goal parameters for that evening’s work. To prevent distractions, when I’m ‘on’, the phone is ‘off’; Facebook updates, emails and texts I catch-up with during teabreaks. Whenever there’s something I don’t understand I get out my post-it notes and flag up the problem. I then go and see my teachers after lessons who are all very happy discuss things.”
Joe McManners starts Medicine at Oxford University in September 2016.
Watch the video below to learn about one year A Level courses at Rochester Independent College
The advantage of 1 year A level courses for overseas students is that they can move quickly into Higher Education, specialising in a way that is more difficult in many international systems or with the IB Diploma. The range of university options for students with A levels is much wider than those following foundation courses and many of our students proceed directly to top universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Warwick and Imperial after only one year of study at Rochester. RIC’s two top performing students in 2013 Kla Karava and Puthipong Worasaran both netted 4 A* grades in one year of study and have places at Trinity College, Cambridge for Natural Sciences where generations of princes, spies, poets, prime ministers have studied
The advantage of one year A level courses for UK students transferring directly into our year 13 is that it allows them to play catch up, revise the AS comprehensively alongside the A2 and still complete their A levels within the standard two year period and aim for a good university.
Class sizes are extremely small, usually numbering around 6 motivated and hard working students. This means that every student has access to individual attention. Problems can be quickly diagnosed and tackled. Progress is rapid. This is due to a combination of intensive teaching and examination practice and high levels of motivation on the part of the student.
One year A level student profiles
Tim Hoffman “I come from a background studying IB at an international school in Istanbul. I lived there with my family and completed the programme but was very disappointed with my results.
RIC was recommended to me by friends whose daughter had had the same experience but came to Rochester. She switched to A levels and did really well.
It seems to me that the main difference between A levels and IB is that A levels allow me to focus on the subjects I am interested in. Also, it is essential to be well rounded academically achieve a high score at IB, I’m mainly interested in the sciences so it was harder for me.
I’ve had a good boarding experience at RIC, especially considering that this is my first time living away from the family. I can’t go home at weekends but I feel safe and looked after. The food is great too. I play football in a league and we are currently second in the division! I think that RIC has been a great transition for university.
I wish now that I had taken A levels in the first place as I always knew that I wanted to study Bioscience at university. I am now taking A levels in Biology, Chemistry and Maths at RIC and I feel really prepared, I’ve had lots of support. I have a number of offers but am hoping to get AAB to go Bath.
When I finish my exams I’m really looking forward to four weeks kite surfing in Turkey!”
Tim achieved the grades for his first choice and is now studying Biochemistry at University of Bath
Another fast track success story is Alex Wellbelove who left the Judd School after year 9 when he was home educated until returning to full time education for accelerated one year courses at RIC. Alex leaves the college with AAA for his first choice course, Psychology at the University of Sussex. Alex’s one year A level subjects were English Literature, Maths and Physics.
Recent one year A level success stories include two students from Germany. Ines Stelk is now at UCL studying Psychology and Cara Lai at Leicester University studying English Literature. Both girls secured Grade A passes in one year from scratch in subjects ranging from Psychology to History of Art, Government and Politics English Literature and Media Studies.
Rochester Independent College student Josh Adcock notched up an impressive four grade As in Government and Politics, Film Studies, English Literature and History of Art a year early, all achieved in just 1 year’s study from scratch! On the back of these results Josh secured a coveted place to study English at Bristol University which he started in September 2010. Josh says: “The college isn’t like a traditional private school. The teachers give you plenty of guidance, but they expect you to take responsibility which makes it more like being at university.”
Studying alongside Cara, Ines and Josh in 2008-9 were two Oxford University entry success stories. Tanatorn Khotavivattana and Phakpoom Anpanitcharoen won matching places to study Chemistry after a one year A level programme at Rochester. Tanatorn will be at Merton College, Phakpoom just across the street at St John’s!
Liz Fitzwalter formerly of King’s School, Rochester graduated from UEA with a 2.1 degree in English Literature, not perhaps the best grounding for a potential vet! She completed A level Chemistry in a year from scratch at RIC having not studied the subject since GCSE five years earlier and secured not only a Grade A but an impressive 550/600. Liz won a place to study Vet Science as a mature student at Bristol University.
Harry Japp joined RIC from the Perse School, Cambridge for a one year intensive A level course in Music Technology and Music. He secured an A and a B and a place at Leeds College of Music.
Top performer in 2010 was Kenny Siriwatwetchakul, 19 who has notched up an astonishing FIVE A STAR grades in only one year of study. Kenny’s results saw him awarded the new grade in Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths and Statistics. He starts his course in Natural Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge in October. Kenny came to Rochester from Bangkok in Thailand to study his A levels at RIC. He is joined at Cambridge by fellow 2010 Rochester Thai scholars Jirawat Tangpanitanon and Thanapat Worasaran. Nat Dilokthanakul will study Physics at UCL and Pisak Chermpray Mechanical Engineering at Imperial.
In order to realise his ambition of becoming a doctor Michael Swindon took one year A level Chemistry from scratch while studying the remainder of his A levels at the Sir Joseph Williamson’s Maths School in Rochester. It is sometimes possible to combine studying one A level at RIC while staying at local school sixth forms for the remainder. Michael is now studying Medicine at Southampton University.
Ben Turner was disillusioned with life at Simon Langton Grammar School and left after AS levels to get a job. While working he became increasingly interested in the workings of society and decided to study this at university. He came to Rochester to take one year courses in Sociology and Film and complete his History. Ben says: I’m a pretty independent person and found school a bit frustrating at the end. At Rochester you get treated much more as an adult and the teachers are more approachable. I’ve been able to work to find things that interest me about my subjects more than having to learn what I was told. I now have a place to read History and Sociology at Leeds and I am really looking forward to it.”
“Since starting at the College I have totally changed, it has been a complete reversal of character. I have grown up a lot. The personal coaching, small classes and being on first name terms puts everything on a more personal level. There is mutual respect between teachers and students – I really want to do well for both myself and my teachers. They tell me that there is nothing to stop me getting A grades – this kind of positive feedback helps me believe in both myself and my abilities.”
Richard Day, joined RIC from Simon Langton School, Canterbury
In general students requiring English Language support are aiming for University places. RIC offers tuition in the Academic IELTS (International English Language Testing System) which is universally recognised and accepted by all UK Universities. The examination is organised around the four skills:Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
All students need guided practice in these language skills but what is perhaps more important is experience and practice in free and confident self-expression which is a core skill for all sections of the examination as well as for the future demands of university and life in the UK in general. Therefore, this course contains both controlled and free practice not only of examination skills and targeted language, such as that contained in the course book, but also of authentic language in use, such as in newspapers.
Also, it is important that students learn to become self-critical and aware of their own and others’ common mistakes. Everyone makes occasional careless slips, even native speakers and tactics for dealing with these are vital.
The course uses official IELTS coursebooks as the curriculum guide and other activities are designed around the content in the text books. This content is skills based and provides guided progression in all aspects of academic language. Authentic language, most often that found in newspapers or online, is brought in as much as possible within the time constraints of teaching students on one year courses. Pronunciation is at the core of lessons wherever possible. Before coming to the College, most students have received intensive training in the structure of the language and, while form is an important part of the course it is not the main focus. The main aim is communication and improving students’ ability to notice the language around them and bring it into their own use.
While ‘higher level’ grammar, such as formation of complex sentences, does form part of the course, much of the grammar content is remedial and occurs in response to need rather than forming a central part of the course design.
Students less advanced in grammatical knowledge receive additional, often individual, support. Full mock IELTS examinations in the skills of Listening, Reading and Writing are taken regularly to ensure students are well-prepared for the three hour final examination.
Speaking forms a major part of all lessons and is progress is assessed throughout the course.
Vocabulary acquisition is an essential part of IELTS and students are encouraged to take part in a wide variety of trips throughout the year in order to access a wider range of ideas, concepts and words. In addition, of course, these trips assist students with very useful, and hopefully enjoyable, background knowledge of UK culture, landscape and society.
a first class british boarding school with small classes that are more like university tutorials
Students work in lively, stimulating and productive groups. The average class size is 8. Teaching is focussed on the examinations and there is very regular testing and exam practice.
an academic boarding school with a wide range of A level subjects and a focus on exam success and university entry
RIC offers a passport to the UK’s best universities including Oxford, Cambridge, the LSE, Warwick and UCL. We do not offer a university foundation course or access programmes as A levels are the most reliable and respected route for international students to follow. Unlike the IB Diploma programme, or most overseas post 16 systems, A levels allow students to specialise in three or four subjects. Specialist English language teaching prepares students for their IELTS examinations which are also required for university entry.
a boarding school that is modern and flexible and where students join at different points for courses of different lengths
RIC’s boarding is for those aged 16+ and so half of the residential community is new each year. It’s easy to make new and interesting friends. The atmosphere is more like a university halls of residence than a school. We don’t impose supervised prep and our single study bedrooms all have telephones and internet connection. We do not teach on Saturdays. Unlike a traditional boarding school RIC offers accelerated one year A level and GCSE courses as well as eighteen month and two year programmes. We are also able to offer specialist retake courses and welcome students over the age of 18.
a boarding school where only small numbers of non native speakers are admitted each year and so where speaking English is inescapable
Most of our overseas students come to us through positive word of mouth rather than via agents. We seldomly have more than three or four non native speakers of English from any one country. Our overseas students are fully integrated into the life of the school rather than in a separate international study centre. Many RIC boarders are UK students, sometimes those whose parents are in the armed forces or ex pat workers based overseas. We also welcome students from international schools who join us for A levels after their IGCSEs or the IB Middle Years programme.
a lively, international boarding school with a talented and inspiring team of highly qualified teachers and residential staff
RIC is more like an international school than a traditional British boarding school. There is no uniform and there are no old fashioned or petty rules. Students and teachers are on first name terms. Unlike other independent sixth form colleges that offer accommodation all of RIC’s boarding is on campus. Students are closely supervised, the site is totally secure and there are resident staff based in each of the buildings.
a boarding school where each student has a dedicated personal tutor, providing one to one support and guidance
Personal tutors know their tutees well, meet with them individually and keep parents closely in touch with their progress throughout the academic year.
a happy, coeducational boarding school that is about so much more than examination results
Students at RIC enjoy a colourful range of sports and clubs. They are served great school meals and help plan their own exciting events, parties and innovative trips. Music, Art, Film and Drama give a creative buzz. At RIC though all non academic activities are optional and students are free to make their own choices about what to take part in.
a boarding school that is close to London and easy to reach from different parts of Europe and beyond
RIC is a short walk from Rochester railway station, 20 mins from London Stratford (for the Olympic Stadium) and 40 mins from London St Pancras or London Victoria. Our students can enjoy everything that the capital city has to offer without the problems of living in it. The major airports are within easy reach, Gatwick being only one hour and Heathrow one and a half hour away by road. Airport pick ups are arranged at the beginning and end of each term by the College. The Eurostar services to and from Brussels and Paris stop at Ebbsfleet International, a ten minute drive from the College.
Click here for our international facebook page.
“It would be hard to find better provision for an artist.”
Good Schools Guide 2014
A level students enjoy an Art College atmosphere where they are welcomed at all times during the working week, not just during lesson times. Spacious studio spaces are available with individual working zones for fine art students and an open area for graphics, textiles, ceramics and photography students. All those who teach within the department are active, practicing artists, designers and photographers whose concern for the subject is not restricted to teaching and who therefore bring freshness of experience.
By the time students leave they know how to work, they know better who they are and can take responsibility for themselves and the direction of their art. The final outcome of artistic activity and personal reflection is as important as the journey that gets students to that point. Art students often benefit from the theoretical and historical insights gained by studying A level Art History alongside their creative subjects. All Art students follow a Ways of Seeing course, based closely on the first AS Art History module.
There is a culture of encouraging students to become active and involved in their own learning by referring them to other sources. Art, Photography, Graphics and Art History students are all inducted into using the neighbouring University of the Creative Arts library.
Click here for our visual arts blog.
Students specialise in one of the following areas:
Fine Art (including drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking)
Graphic Design (including corporate identity, packaging, illustration, printmaking and computer aided design)
Click here for one of last year’s animations!
Photography (including traditional and digital photography, studio techniques, lighting and photoshop)
Textiles (including fashion)
Students are able to combine Visual Arts courses with additional A levels in Art History, Theatre Studies, English, Film Studies and Media Studies. Students at the end of their courses are well placed to proceed to either degree or foundation programmes at Art Colleges and universities. Two RIC students start their degree courses at UCL’s Slade School of Fine Art in 2013 and students win places on the Central Saint Martins and UCA courses each year.
Regular half and one day artists workshops are held to encourage a broad approach to the creative process.
An artist in residence scheme is in place with a diverse range of artists/photographers/designers working with students on the college premises throughout the year. Life drawing is part of the course and weekly classes are held for A level students.
Recent trips organised by the Art Department include overseas visits to Paris, Barcelona, Florence, Rome and Pisa as well as many visits to the V & A, Tate Modern, the National Portrait Gallery, the London Museum of Transport, the Saatchi Gallery and the Royal Academy. 2010-11 visits included The Design Museum, Zandra Rhodes’s Museum of Fashion and Textiles in Bermondsey, the Computer Arts Graduate Showcase at Cafe 1001, Brick Lane, the Museum of Brands, Advertising and Packaging in Notting Hill, the Powell Cotton Museum in Birchington and Billy Childish’s studio in Whitstable.
There is an annual summer show where the students’ work is showcased. The web gallery is also an excellent means of display.
A one week ‘foundation’ style art week is held just prior to the start of term for all A level art and design students. This is important for students to get to know each other, identify as a group, and meet their tutors.
The Art Department also runs summer and easter courses for local primary school children.
The well known artist, poet and musician Billy Childish is a Visiting Lecturer. Billy was closely associated with the Young British Artists, founded the Stuckist movement and has been described by fellow artist Peter Doig as “one of the most outstanding, and often misunderstood, figures on the British art scene.” Billy is the only RIC member of staff as far as we are aware to have inspired the name of a Kylie Minogue album and to have counted Kurt Cobain and Jack White amongst his celebrity fanbase. Click here to see Billy interviewing himself on The Tate website.
carla lee, joined RIC from yarm school, stockton on tees
“I’m originally from South Korea. My family moved to Durham when I was 5 years old and I have studied in the UK ever since. My sister Seewon (Anna) came here to do a one year course last year and I came to visit. I had a chance to talk to some of the teachers and they really sounded as if they knew what they were doing! My previous school was one of the best in the area and I was very happy there but I thought perhaps a change for 6th form would be a good idea. At first it was very weird, particularly the informality of the school and the fact that there was no uniform. Boarding life was very different too but gradually I became more settled and happier. I would like to study Law at university but I love art too. I’m taking A levels in Chemistry, Government and Politics and English lit and this school gave me the chance to study A2 textiles in one year so that I can focus on the others next year.”
tom teverson joined RIC from more house school, surrey
I came to RIC this year for year 13 to study A levels in Biology, Chemistry, English and AS Maths. Previously I’d been a student at Moore House, a boarding school in Surrey and at a comprehensive school in Hayes. I’m dyslexic and there was no real help for me at Hayes. It was like a giant machine churning out students – there were about 3000 pupils in total. There was no room for individuality – I hated it. I really loved the ethos of my previous school though – it was an inspiring and I had amazing friends but my head was completely in the clouds. I would spend my time reading Shakespeare, rowing and fencing obsessively. Although I thought I was working hard it wasn’t enough and the study I did do was not exam focussed. Consequently my A level results were BDEE. It turned out that actually I needed go back to basics at AS to improve my understanding overall and with such big syllabuses there was a lot to cover in a year.I’m here to get the grades. The teaching is superb and I now feel incredibly well prepared for the examinations. I hope to study English next year.
jack weston joined RIC from gravesend grammar school for boys
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.
alex alford joined RIC from bennett memorial school, tunbridge wells
I was so happy with my GCSE results but then my AS year did not go as well as planned at my previous school. 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.
maneesh dhillon joined ric from st george’s school, gravesend, pictured with pav randwawa
Last year I didn’t have much guidance as to what subjects to choose for A level, I studied Chemistry, Biology and RE. When I got my results I decided to change subjects and haven’t looked back. I’m now doing Biology, Chemistry, Statistics and Sociology and I’m aiming for Medicine. I had already planned to come to RIC for year 13 as there was just not enough help at my old school. I effectively had to teach myself, the classes were too disrupted by people who didn’t really want to be there.
At RIC everyone has common goals, we know what we want. It is much better for learning, a more relaxed atmosphere. We are on first name terms with the teachers making them more on a level, which means there is more respect. Programmes of work/modules are put together carefully to suit each individual.
It all just seems to flow when you are here. I sit with my friends in class and work hard. Teachers give you the incentive, they help you to study effectively and use your time wisely. I think this has really prepared me for independent study at University.
I still find time for Gatka, performance swordfighting – see us in Gravesend town centre on Saturdays from time to time!