A level retakes
What a different experience for us a family this year and of course for Patrick! I recall so vividly talking to you for the first time. Paul and I were bewildered as parents, scared worried and totally out of our depth in terms of knowing how to help Patrick and what was best for  him. Coming off the phone and then going down to meet you left us in a very different place. Patrick has really enjoyed his year with you and has done a lot of growing up. we are relieved and truly delighted with his academic achievements..a different young man. A heartfelt thanks to you and your team from a very happy mother. Thank God RIC and you are there for the next young ‘Patrick.’ With very best wishes, Marie Cooper 


Patrick joined RIC after Year 12 from a local grammar school. He considered restarting a two year A level course but instead opted for an intensive catch up in Year 13. His spectacular grade improvements saw him go from UUUD at AS to BBC at A level.

Not all students demonstrate what they are capable of in exams first time around. Rochester Independent College is Kent’s specialist sixth form and every year students join for both intensive one year A level courses and A level retake programmes designed to give a second chance to those aiming high. We also welcome talented international students aiming for top universities and offer short courses for those already highly qualified but looking to change academic direction.

It is no disadvantage to have in your Chemistry class a student who struggles with English if that student has recently won a Gold medal in an international Chemistry Olympiad.  Jiratheep ‘Boom’ Pruchayathamkorn (pictured right) got no fewer than 5 A*s in Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, Physics and Statistics is off to Oxford to study Chemistry. Boom’s new Oxford College Merton boasts Nobel prize winners and cultural icons such as Tolkien and T.S Eliot amongst its dazzling alumni. Boom’s main worry was his English. Aspiring Medic Joe McManners, who joined RIC from Tonbridge School who achieved grades A* A* in Biology and Chemistry from scratch in one year, says of his Thai classmate “I’m not sure I would have done anywhere near as well without Boom in the class. And while there aren’t that many international students in the Halls, the Thai scholars really make it a great place to be. We help them with their English and they help the rest of us with our homework – it’s a great partnership”. Joe precociously shot to fame after starring in the BBC’s operatic version of ‘The Little Prince’ and was subsequently nominated for Album of the Year at the 2006 Classical BRIT awards.

a level results news 2015Many students arrive at Rochester Independent College each year having missed their UCAS offers and leave with three top grades and a first choice university place after an intensive A level retake course.  Equally important is the self confidence gained from these successful educational makeovers. Also sharing class with Boom were Rohan Ghag (pictured far left), and Aimee Coleman who joined RIC from local grammar schools. Rohan, who improved his A levels in Chemistry and Biology from BD to AB and added A level Statistics as a one year course, is now off to study Biomedical Sciences at his first choice, Royal Holloway while classmate Aimee retook four subjects and secured her first choice: a coveted place at the University of Bath to study Maths and Physics.

a level retake medicineRetake at RIC for Medicine Uni Success

Special congratulations to George Hales who is off to Exeter to take up the place at Medical School that his previous school told him only one short year ago that he would never achieve. His great friend Abi Wong, who had also been discouraged from persevering with her dream of a career in Medicine now also has the grades she needs (A*AAAA in Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Stats and Sociology) and is all set to apply again this year. George resat his Biology and gained an A* and brought his Chemistry up from a B at AS to a full A level grade A. To really make sure the Universities took him seriously, he took up Sociology from scratch as a one year course gaining an A*.and kept up his interest in French. “It’s not a breeze, but if you put in the effort and decide you can do it and listen to the advice you get here then anything is possible! Just look at me!”

retake gcsesAlso starting this year at medical school from RIC is Charlie Bicknell who is off to UCL, Tom Kerr who will start at Plymouth and Florence Wallace who has a place at Bristol University Medical School.

One of the year’s top performers is former King’s Canterbury student Idris Kaplan who after taking a mix of A level retakes and one year courses now has a stunning range of A levels in possibly the year’s most diverse range of subjects: History A*, Maths A*, Physics A, History of Art A* and English Literature A*. Idris says:

“Many people claim that universities do not give out offers to retake students. This fear-mongering should not be heeded. The new found focus delivered by the extra year in education is reflected in the personal statement and the reference by your teachers. For the majority of the other retake students I knew and myself, university offers were being given regardless of the fact we were retaking. I can claim confidently that retaking your exams will produce a higher grade the second time around. The lingering scars of disappointment from last summer’s results day provide the motivation, the extra year of maturity provides the work ethic and the experience of the UCAS system ensures you have a goal to which you focus your studies. For many of my friends, going from very disappointing grades, they now see themselves at highly competitive universities studying well respected degrees.”


Idris received offers from UCL, Bristol, Newcastle and Southampton and has opted for Architectural Engineering at Bath.

private colleges london a level retakesOther newsworthy achievements include Tom Lightfoot who last year took a place at Oxford Brookes through Clearing but left after a month and decided to retake instead. This year he is now celebrating a first choice place to read Maths at Loughborough University.

George Baker-White from King’s Canterbury went from CBB at A level to AAA and has a place at Exeter for International Relations and Spanish. Ellie Walsh from Felsted School went from BDUU at AS to BBB at A2 in one year and has a place at Leeds University.

Lizzie Bradshaw who has been at RIC since the age of 11 in Year 7 and has stayed for seven years through to sixth form is celebrating results including top A* grades in Film and Photography and a place at Warwick University to study Film.

“We never contemplated private education until we heard about RIC and it has worked out for Lizzie. She’s really flourished and that’s due to the ability & dedication of the teachers, as well as her own hard work.” Helen and John Bradshaw


My sincerest thanks for not only supporting Ollie, but me too – I think the process is almost as traumatic for the parents! RIC is the most extraordinary place and together you have transformed Ollie and given him the opportunity to move on to the next stage in life. All I’ve ever wanted for him is to have his chances in life and have happy experiences reaching for them, the college has certainly enabled this chance. Many, many thanks to you, all his tutors and the extended staff. Alison Magnion

“I would just like to thank you so much for everything last year, helping me completely change my situation! I remember being told by one of my old teachers after receiving my as-levels to just ‘apply to do BTECS or get a job’ because maybe university ‘wasn’t for me’. I was in a hopeless situation (I thought!) and genuinely believed I had insufficient skills to pass my A-levels. But just out of pure luck I found Rochester Independent College on the internet and my mum encouraged me to give A-levels another shot. I am so grateful for everything and want to thank everyone at Rochester for helping me jump back onto the path I was told I shouldn’t take. ” Patrick Cooper

Just a brief note to say that we are pleased with Tom’s results and delighted that he has been accepted at Manchester.  Clearly the hard work put in by Tom, and the exemplary support given by the academic staff, has paid off and vindicates the decision to change schools for year 13.  We would have no hesitation in recommending RIC to others in a similar position. Please pass on our grateful thanks to all of Tom’s teachers and to the boarding staff whose support was equally important – not least for putting up with all that muddy rugby kit! The experience of being away from home has also been a maturing one for Tom and a great stepping stone to university life. Chris & Angela Fidler


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