“I never thought I could stay on at school for GCSEs, let alone 3 A levels. The extra help you receive at the College makes it very achievable. I love it here and am treated on equal terms. I never could get on with the petty rules of school and the big classes.”
jay patel, joined ric from temple school, strood
fast track success with one year gcse courses
RIC has many years of experience teaching flexible, intensive one year GCSE programmes to students from the UK and overseas. As all subjects on this programme are taught intensively over three terms moving from another school directly into Year 11 can be done with ease. Students joining the College at this stage in their education are often doing so to enhance their GCSE grade prospects.
One year GCSE programmes are also suitable for those forced to move school due to illness, family circumstances such as relocation and those needing to do GCSE resits after disappointing results first time round. Our flexibility of approach means we are often able to help in uniquely difficult or exceptional educational circumstances.
Students have joined our One Year GCSE classes directly from international schools, including those where they had been following IGCSEs or the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme in Year 10. Changes of examination board can be dealt with easily as all courses can be retaught from scratch. It is sometimes the case that students can use coursework already completed (as long as it is of a top standard!) and it is always possible to replace subjects with fresh ones which can be effectively taught on a one year programme even if they’ve not been studied before.
For international students the one year GCSE course can be an excellent introduction to studying in the UK and a good preparation for A levels or IB. For previously home educated students they often work well as a preparation for GCSE exams after time out of education.
The average class size on a one year GCSE course at RIC is 8. All students benefit from a great deal of individual help and support outside of regular lesson times. Half terms and Easter are often used to perfect coursework. There is no study leave on a one year GCSE course and students are guided and supported right the way through to their final examination.
Teaching at RIC is closely geared to the demands of the GCSE and IGCSE specifications with a particular emphasis on regular testing, targetted feedback and extra support for students whether it is to stretch the most able or help those who need more guidance and individual attention. In small classes there is no back of the class and individual attention is inescapable.
resitting exams with a one year gcse course
Students from the UK and Overseas can also opt for a one year GCSE course to retake their GCSEs. Resitting GCSEs can be a good route for students who need to satisfy the entry requirements of other independent schools or local highly selective grammar schools. As increasing numbers of university courses are also looking at GCSE grades as part of their admissions process resitting GCSEs or switching schools to ensure good grades are secured first time around can be a good strategic move.
boarding for gcse students that is a stepping stone between school and sixth form
Year 11 students on 1 year GCSE courses are welcomed into boarding if they are 15 or older. There is a more informal atmosphere than is possible in a traditional boarding school but still lots of guidance and support from resident tutors. The emphasis is on providing a home from home in a comfortable, happy and fun environment. Students following 1 year GCSE courses are, where possible, grouped together in the boarding.
Year 11 students Robby Cross and Katy Gee both joined RIC as boarding students on one year GCSE courses in September 2011 and have each gained eight GCSEs grades A* to C. Robby missed most of years 10 and 11 at his previous school and came to RIC to take his GCSEs in a year. Although seeing his friends moving onto sixth form was dispiriting, Robby found a way to turn this to his advantage, by writing a story for his English coursework about his illness and his time out of school, called ‘The Nurse’s Parrot’. Katy had lots of absence at her previous school and missed nearly all of year 10. She found the thought of returning to education difficult, but she has had an excellent year at RIC, achieving 8 GCSEs, all A* to C, including an A* in Photography and As in Maths and English. Both Robby and Katy are continuing on into the sixth form as boarders where they will be building on their success this year.
a fresh approach on a one year gcse course for day and boarding students
All subjects are comprehensively retaught and we do not depend on coursework completed or syllabus material covered at other schools in Year 10. Because of this changes in examination board are possible. The speed of delivery is intense and more focused on the demands of the exams than is common in many schools.
The one year GCSE course also allows students to take a fresh look at their options, perhaps starting one or two subjects from scratch. It is sometimes possible to add a subject at AS level to prepare for A level study.
Only English, Mathematics and Science are compulsory on a one year GCSE course. Most students take both English and English Literature GCSE and at least GCSE Core and Additional Science although we are also able to offer Biology, Chemistry and Physics and as IGCSE Single Sciences.
Students will be guided and advised during the admissions process as to the most appropriate combination and number of subjects to take- anything from 5 to 12 is possible depending on individual circumstances. With the exception of Modern Foreign Languages any subject can be taken as a one year course from scratch without the requirement for the student to have studied it previously.
Students at the end of a one year GCSE programme at Rochester Independent College are well placed to proceed to A levels either in our sixth form, one of the local selective grammar schools or other UK independent schools.
profiles of one year gcse students
Sam Partner: “I grew up in East London before moving to Kent a few years ago. School was tough and I got in with the wrong crowd. I couldn’t read or write properly until I was 13. RIC has been a lifesaver. My parents knew I could do it but socially I was a horrible person. I refused to do GCSEs at Westlands in Sittingbourne, my old school. When my Dad and I looked around the college we thought ‘no way will I get in.’ We wondered if it was even worth going. I was so pleased when I was invited for a taster day – I couldn’t believe it. I came for 8 months of year 11 and GCSEs and achieved AA in English and English Literature and 7 more passes. RIC has completely turned me around. I found that I wanted to come to school. It’s so relaxed but it brought me out of myself. I actually couldn’t wait for parents’ evening! I never thought I was the sort of person to go on theatre trips but now I really enjoy them and go whenever I can. My Dad is so pleased. After this I threw myself into A levels, I’m hoping to study History at University. The highlight of my year was going on the History trip to Lenin’s house and sitting at his desk. I was the only one brave enough to ask!”
Chris Cox cheerfully admits that Year 10, the first year of GCSEs at St Bede’s, an independent school in Eastbourne was not characterised by much diligent hard work! He and his parents had concerns that this would lead to underperformance in Year 11. He joined our 1 year GCSE programme and with a fresh start was able to look again at his options, choosing new subjects like Media and Photography alongside his traditional academic subjects. Two of 2010’s top performers at GCSE last year were in fact both one year GCSE students. Freddie Wallis from Colfe’s School and Rob Byrne from Bishop Challoner School, Bromley. Both stormed to a row of grade As at GCSE last summer.
Sisters Alice and Faye Lawson both joined the College in Year 11 from Chapter School, Strood on a 1 year GCSE course with a view to improving grade prospects. Faye proceeded to a two year A level course at RIC after GCSEs, read law at Warwick University and is now at Harvard!
RIC is an international community and this makes for a very vibrant and colourful atmosphere. Vicky Zhang from China, Elena Ebner from Germany and Konstantin Yun from Kazakhstan and are amongst our recent overseas students following GCSE courses. GCSE students have come to RIC from as far afield as Malawi, Mozambique, the USA and Canada, Latvia, Germany, Nigeria and Russia. A 1 year GCSE course at RIC is the perfect way for international students to integrate into the UK system. We offer summer English courses to prepare students for their one year GCSE programme.
Richard de Fazio came to the College from King’s School Rochester at the age of 14 and opted to skip Year 10 and the first year of his GCSEs! He followed an accelerated 1 year GCSE programme, taking 11 GCSEs a year early. Richard achieved 3A*s, 4As, 2Bs and 2Cc and proceeded to storm through 3 full A levels- German, English and Art History- in his Year 11! His sister Sarah was similarly prodigious, completing four full A levels in a year at RIC! Richard and Sarah both left to continue their education in Italy.
Joe Pasquale, Young Magician of the Year, started working in magic at the age of two. While studying at Rochester Joe appeared on the Des and Mel show and hosted our talent night. He says of the College: “You feel very relaxed here. There’s always a teacher on hand and everyone gets on well.” Joe’s A grade in GCSE Drama gave him a head start at the Italia Conti Drama School in London where he secured a place. Joe is now starring in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks!
“Students of all abilities, including those who have experienced difficulty with education previously, make outstanding progress.”