“The best thing about school is science. We do the three separate subjects Physics, Chemistry and Biology. This gives us a real chance to spend time and study in more depth.”
aaron, year 8 student, joined ric from wickham court school
The curriculum for our students in years 7-9 is based around the core subjects – English Mathematics and Science. Beyond this core is a particular emphasis on creative and arts subjects, including Drama, Music, Media, Photography, Film, Art and design. Across the curriculum and central to the ethos is a focus on environmental issues in both local and international contexts. As they move through RIC students can follow different routes, specialising in Maths and the Sciences- or the Creative Arts – our first Film Studies GCSE students sat their exam in 2008. We expect all of our students to develop an interest in the world around them, to read books and newspapers daily and become responsible and creative users of technology and the internet. We broadly follow the National Curriculum for Key Stage 3 so students joining RIC at different points can do so with ease.
Lower School students benefit from being taught by the College’s team of highly experienced subject specialists which is particularly beneficial in Science and Mathematics. Science is taught by specialist Biology, Chemistry and Physics teachers from Year 7 onwards and we encourage students seeking to progress to Science A levels to take all three of these subjects to IGCSE.
In Science there is a marked emphasis on practical work and hands on experience of experiments and research. Graham Anderton has taught Chemistry at RIC since 1984 and is famed for his pyrotechnical garden firework displays.
A menagerie of snakes, spiders, scorpions and snails populate a corner of one of the labs and students chart the growth and development of chicks each year. Biology teacher Katharine Lang ensures all learn dissection skills while Physics teacher Mike Bloor organises Astronomy club.
In Maths we value traditional numeracy but teachers also try to introduce abstraction at an early age. We expect all students to know their times tables and to be able to survive without calculators! Students benefit from individualised learning plans and an emphasis on making the subject less intimidating but at the same time stretching the most able to complete GCSEs in Maths and Statistics early and proceed to A level study.
As with the Sciences, students are taught by dedicated subject specialists in History and Geography, ensuring a rigorous foundation for GCSE and A level. As students progress through the Lower School we ensure that a wide range of periods are studied and that key skills are developed. There is a particular focus on local History and project work but also an emphasis on ensuring children learn key facts about the world around them and the past.
In English we are committed to ensuring that students read widely throughout their teenage years. Contemporary and classic fiction is given to all students to read outside of class while English lessons in Years 7-9 include regular spelling tests and the study of Shakespeare, Beowulf, Chaucer and Greek and Roman Mythology. Grammar is taught formally and there are regular spelling tests.
We encourage children to become as adept at using libraries and books as they are with the internet. Creative writing flourishes throughout the school.
RIC’s provision in the visual arts is rich and students are taught Fine Art, Textiles, Photography, Ceramics and Graphic Design. The locally based and internationally renowned artist Billy Childish works alongside the subject tutors. The ICT options available include short courses in Photoshop, Illustrator, Digital Video Editing Computer Programming and Music Technology. Film and Media are on everyone’s timetable from year 7 onwards, as is Drama. From time to time the Lower School curriculum is supplemented by short courses offered by the College’s team of subject specialists including Astronomy, Electronics, Business Studies and Economics, ICT, Philosophy, RE, Environmental Science and Art History.
Music is proving increasingly popular at the College and as well as timetabled lessons students take instrumental tuition and enjoying playing in a variety of bands at College events. Individual peripatetic tuition on a range of instruments is arranged in association with Kent Music School.
Health, fitness and nutrition are important parts of our Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education curriculum. Last year a number of outside speakers visited, including a local NGO that organises educational projects in Africa, a former MP and government minister and the local police. As part of last year’s PHSEE programme Year 9 students travelled to Westminster to be taught by Gok Wan! Lively classes also see students learning about world faiths and religions, politics, government and citizenship in local, national and global contexts.
Throughout the lessons in the Lower School we place an emphasis on living responsibly. The environmental concerns of RIC are passed on to students through the study of recycling, sustainable development, the use of public transport, and through the patronage of local environmental charities. By providing students with the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes to make informed decisions about their lives, they develop as distinctive individuals and are prepared for the opportunities and responsibilities of adulthood.
Students are encouraged to enjoy and achieve by celebrating their successes and sharing their skills and talents. Presentation and performance skills are taught in Music, Art, History and Drama amongst many others. Work on healthy eating and sun protection in Science directs each student to be healthy and stay safe. Media Studies supports many objectives of citizenship as students are encouraged to take a well informed and critical view of world events, and they study the effect of the media on health and the reporting of crime. Literature studied in English stimulates reflection upon philosophical and cultural issues such as tolerance, diversity, respect and spirituality.
“The quality of the curriculum is good with a number of outstanding features. Behaviour is outstanding and classes are conducted in a mature learning environment. The quality of discussion and questioning during lessons is outstanding.”