resitting a levelsI am sending you this mail on behalf of my daughter, Barbara Akpata and the whole family, to express our delight at her recently released A level results which were excellent. As you may recall, she resumed at your school half-way into the first term last year, and she had to have extra lessons, particularly in economics, a subject she had  no previous tuition in. When you consider that she was enrolled for the one year programme, her ABB grades in English, Economics and Sociology  are all the more remarkable. This success is undoubtedly largely attributable to the diligence and professionalism of her teachers. I congratulate you for this feat, and ask that you keep the flag flying. Be rest assured that your institution shall continue to receive the highest recommendations from me, as you labour to develop young minds. Osifo Segun Akpata


cambridge olympians and A* star hill success

Rochester Independent College students are celebrating places at their first choice universities and, for some, finally achieving their dreams of higher education after disappointments last year. Remarkably this second chance success includes places studying Medicine and Dentistry and at universities such as Durham, Bristol, Exeter, King’s College London and UCL. Five RIC students have won places at Cambridge University.

A level studentSisters Carla and Anna Lee from Stockton have won matching 2012 places at Sheffield University, Carla to study Law, Anna Dentistry. Both left the North East to board at RIC from Yarm School. Carla says:

“The variety of my A level subject choices of Government & Politics, English Literature, Chemistry and Textiles has given me a wider perspective on my life, as well as my studies. My life-changing volunteer trip to Ghana last summer focused my future on international human rights.”


Anna’s place at Dental School is particularly impressive as she joined us to retake her A levels.

Heading to Leeds University this year is Harry Neilson who after a two year A level course at RIC will be reading Philosophy. Harry says:

“My GCSE grades from Maidstone Grammar last year were not quite as good as I was expecting, I just didn’t try hard. I could have stayed at school but came to RIC for sixth form to study A levels in Politics, Philosophy, History and Sociology. This school has invigorated me! The teachers enjoy teaching which has made me become much more of an active participant in lessons. I’ve been helped by the small classes; the teachers are passionate about their subjects and really know their stuff. The most exciting experiences of the year so far have been the trips but specifically the History trip to the Marxist Library in London. It’s the first time I’ve been and it was amazing.”


team ric a level resit 2012 success

a level retakes a level resits russell group university retake a levelsAman Chana from Townley Grammar in Orpington says:

“A level results day last year was horrible. I had an offer from St George’s for Medicine and was two grades off. Instead of just doing A level retakes I opted to change direction and do one year courses in Economics and Further Maths. I considered going back to school but wanted to study somewhere fresh to resit my A levels that would boost my chances.”


Aman’s classmate Rosie Geradine came to RIC to retake her A levels with grades ACD in her A levels from Tonbridge Grammar. She says:

“Smaller classes mean more one to one help on things you specifically need rather than a group problem. The teaching is more friendly and less formal. I’m more comfortable in class and more able to ask questions. Before when I went to talk to a teacher about a problem I felt I was doing something wrong.”


Rosie won her place at Durham University to study Psychology and Aman was similarly successful in meeting her UCL offer for Economics.

In 2012 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 History of Art and A level January retakes to rack up the UCAS points needed for his Nottingham Trent Interior Architecture course. Another boarder, Kristina Gadsby from Highgate’s Channing School retook Biology and Geography, won two Grade As and secured a place to read Biology at Birmingham.

freddie wows the arts scene

Freddie Topps is celebrating a dramatic turn around in academic fortunes and a place at one of the country’s most competitive universities. Two years ago Freddie, formerly of Mid Kent College and Meopham School came to us without any GCSE passes. After two years he now has his missing GCSEs in English and Maths, four top grades at A level including an A* in Fine Art and a place at Edinburgh University.

Peter and I just wanted to say how thrilled we are with Freddie’s results – we couldn’t have hoped for better. I think it is fair to say that Freddie didn’t have much confidence academically when he arrived.  He now has this but is not over-confident if you know what I mean.  katriona topps


international school kentDuring his time at RIC Freddie had the opportunity to work alongside visiting lecturer, the iconic Billy Childish, founder of the Stuckist movement and local artist, musician and provocateur. Other Visual Art department successes include Ginte Barzdaityte from Maidstone who has a place at Central St Martins and Friederike Ach from Germany who will study Architecture at London’s prestigious AA, the UK’s oldest school of architecture  and one of the most prestigious and competitive in the world. Ginte and Friederike both have matching A* grades in English Literature, consistently one of RIC’s top performing subjects. Friederike also won Grade As in Maths and French. Also off to study Architecture is Ben Sharma who moved to RIC after Lower VI at St Olave’s Grammar in Orpington who has a place at Nottingham University.

2012 cambridge success 

Five RIC students have won places at Cambridge, including three at the most prestigious of the colleges- Trinity.

Top performer is Nakarin Lohitsiri who has a record 5 A* grades, all achieved in a year from scratch. This gives Nakarin who came to Kent from Thailand a record 700 UCAS points!

The average UCAS point score of students who read Maths at Cambridge is 560 so Nakarin comfortably won his place at the historic college where Isaac Newton studied and which boasts 29 Nobel Prize winners.

Nakarin says:

“Before coming to Rochester I represented team Thailand in the 41st International Physics Olympiad in 2010, and was awarded a gold medal, competing with students from all over the world.”


As well as his A levels, Nakarin was awarded the highest grade of S (Outstanding) on STEP 2 and the most intimidatingly hard Maths paper in the country, STEP 3 which is not for the faint mathematically hearted. Achievement in the Sixth Term Examination Papers (STEP) normally forms part of  conditional offers to read mathematics at Cambridge and Warwick. There are five grades, which are (from highest to lowest) S, 1, 2, 3, and U.

Among the many local students studying alongside a record 9 high achieving Thai scholars this year was Aaron Thurston from Borden Grammar in Sittingbourne who arrived at RIC with a grade E in A level Maths and left with a Grade A.  His Physics grade shot up from a D to an A and he added a third top grade with an A in Geography from scratch. Aaron has a place on his first choice course, Mining Engineering at Camborne School of Mines, one of the world’s most famous mining schools and part of Exeter University.

astrophysics goes to the theatre

top independent school ukLaurence Routledge joined RIC’s sixth form from Gad’s Hill School where he was the top performing GCSE student of his year group. He is now celebrating an impressive five full A levels in perhaps the year’s most unusual range of subjects- Maths (A*), Further Maths (A), Physics (A*), Geography (A*) and Theatre Studies (B).

Laurence says:

“I looked at a few schools before choosing RIC after Gad’s but I preferred the informal atmosphere here. I also liked the way I was free to choose whatever subjects I liked because there were no option blocks. I was able to do more A levels because the sixth form here doesn’t waste time doing subjects like General Studies or Critical Thinking- subjects the universities themselves aren’t interested in. I was really happy with the quality of teaching here. My Physics teacher went to Imperial and my Maths teachers were great- one went to Cambridge and two to Durham. It was really inspiring and one of them was always available to help.”


Laurence has won a place to study Astrophysics at the University of Sussex and, after performing Brecht at RIC, may be the only fresher on the course who can portray a noisy old lady in Szechwan with comic skill and an authentic Chinese accent!

second chance gravesend pharmacist makes the grade

Maneesh Dhillon joined RIC with Grade Es and Us in Chemistry and Biology after a disappointing Year 12 at St George’s School in Gravesend. He took the difficult decision to restart his A levels and after two years’ hard work is now celebrating ABB at A level and a place at Medway School of Pharmacy.

Maneesh says:

“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 was also able to build up my work experience at a local pharmacist- giving me a real insight into the profession. I still find time for Gatka, performance swordfighting – see us in Gravesend town centre  on Saturdays from time to time!


Other significant grade improvements in 2012 include Hannah Morley from St Lawrence’s School, Ramsgate who pushed her Music A level up from a D to a B and added Music Technology AS and Thomas Kwok from Colfe’s School who joined with DDEU at AS and left with ABC at A level. Simon Tucker from Sevenoaks took a different route to resit success. He opted to switch schools after a disappointing Year 12 at Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys and decided to change direction. He took A level Geography, one of RIC’s strongest subjects, on a one year intensive course, gained a fast track Grade A and won a place to study the same subject at Reading University.

from bundle of nerves to bubbly success

Michaela Lock from Gravesend is celebrating three grade As in English, History and Media and a place at Royal Holloway, London University to study English and Creative Writing. A year ago she was struggling with education.

Michaela says:


 “I went to a local grammar school but  when I reached the sixth form I did one term before starting to have anxiety attacks. It was such a pressurised environment, I always felt that I was doing things wrong. I decided to look for a school that could offer me a one year intensive A level course and a fresh start.  I started at RIC in September this year and I was very, very nervous. I don’t think I concentrated properly for the first few weeks but I was much more comfortable with the very small classes. I thought that trying to do everything in one year would be really difficult but the teachers were inspiring. I loved the debates in history, I felt really involved and it really helped my confidence. My personal tutor was great but all my teachers showed an interest and checked I was OK.”


Todd Dedman, Michaela’s personal tutor at RIC said:

 “I has been a privilege to watch Michaela grow from a school phobic, shy girl to a mature, confident individual. She is proof that even though the one year courses can be difficult, for conscientious and enthusiastic students these courses can often lead to grades that students had previously been told were beyond them.”


resit a levels russell groupMichaela will be joined at Royal Holloway studying English by Katie Jackson, former Head Girl of Cobham Hall who took A level English in a year at RIC. Another success story is Angus Whitehorn from Wadhurst who in spite of the perceived prejudice of top universities against A level retake students has secured a place at his first choice Bristol University to study Drama after taking History of Art and Film Studies alongside retaking English Literature and Theatre Studies.


rochester tutorsTom Teverson never thought he would end up studying at the University of Exeter. While at RIC Tom caught the literary bug, applying to read English Literature. Tom leaves the College with A* in English Literature, A* in Sociology, an A in History of Art, a B in History and a B in Biology.

Tom says:

 “As someone with dyslexia, studying English at a top university seemed like quite a long shot. I am delighted to be going to Exeter and couldn’t have done it without Rochester Independent College.”


Tom’s UMS score in English was a pretty dazzling 398/400. Tom lives in Keston and travelled in daily from Bromley South. He was often on site before many of the day students as alongside his studies he had a part time job serving breakfast to boarding students and staff in RIC’s Star Hill refectory.

Also celebrating A* English Literature success is boarder Hannah Baines from Essex, James Weber from Sevenoaks, Lydia Sohdi from Rochester Grammar and Alex Halpern. In his Year 11 Alex published his first novel ‘House of Wolves.’ An enthusiastic online fan comments:

“Alex has used great suspense, characters, jumps and scares in his fantastic debut novel. He creates his timing well and kept me constantly on the edge of my seat with his creativity.”


RIC Science students have won places at King’s College, London. Kishan Muthu who joined RIC from Rochester Maths has a place to read Chemistry and Wilf Elliott from The British School of the Netherlands will join his classmates on a Biomedical Sciences degree. Other Science success stories include Georgina Winney from Highsted Grammar who has a place to study Neuroscience at Bristol, Vinitha Soudararajan from Chatham Grammar who won an A* in Sociology and a place studying Medicine at UEA, Willow Hight Warburton from Harpenden who after retakes at RIC goes to Newcastle for Biological Sciences,  Orarat Ginsawaeng from Thailand who has a place at UCL studying Biology and Tim Hoffmann from Germany who after ditching the IB Diploma programme for intensive one year A levels goes to Bath for Biochemistry.


We just wanted to drop a quick line now that Laura has her results. We are so pleased (and relieved) that Laura  now has the opportunity to do what she wants for further study and possibly career.  She was very excited but now it has sunk in she is rather nervous. Anyway, we did want to say “thank you” again to everybody for all their hard work. We are a much happier family than this time last year! Thanks again, Colin and Hilary Weightman
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