non uniform education

As parents of children in Years 5 and 6 consider their secondary education options they are inevitably looking at what makes different local schools stand out.

In 1965 three Iowa teenagers were suspended for breaking uniform code by going to school sporting black arm bands to protest against the Vietnam War. Less politically, in the 1980s, Adrian Mole won the heart of Pandora Braithwaite by organising a red sock wearing protest against the fossilized fashion of school wear at their West Midlands comp.

RIC teachers don’t waste valuable time enforcing petty uniform rules and telling resentful students to tuck their shirts in. There’s nothing to rebel against, confrontation is avoided and teachers enjoy positive and mutually respectful relationships with students as a result.

The use of first names and the informal attire worn by all generates a relaxed working environment. Students’ attitudes to work and learning are exemplary. The warm and relaxed atmosphere gives them confidence to participate in lessons without fear of being labelled a failure.

Year 8 student Neranjana  joined RIC from The Bronte School, Gravesend and says:

 “The most noticeable difference between this school and my last is that there is no uniform. My old school uniform was really itchy. I feel so much more comfortable and relaxed in my own clothes- it helps my concentration.”


Some English schools have a curious fixation with uniform as a panacea for a range of educational problems, believing that endemic discipline and attainment issues can be resolved by resurrecting the blazer or tightening up on skirt length. RIC students though are motivated to excel and behave respectfully by being well taught. They flourish as individuals rather than as units that must conform. As examples from around the world show high standards of discipline and achievement are not dependent on school uniform.

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Daniel who is also in Year 8 joined RIC from Sutton Valence Prep and says:

 “RIC is brilliant because the classes are very small and all the teachers are really nice. They don’t wear suits and ties either!”


a first choice 11+ alternative 

Students have recently joined RIC’s Lower School from a range of local primary and junior schools as well as St Olave’s Prep, New Eltham, King’s Rochester Prep, Sutton Valence Prep, Hilden Grange Prep, Tonbridge, Spring Grove School, Ashford, the Bronte School, Gravesend and St Andrew’s School, Rochester. Students join at 11+, 13+ after Common Entrance or directly into Year 10 for two year GCSE courses.

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non selective and high performing

As the newest part of RIC the Lower School offers a first choice 11+ alternative for students from all over Kent and continues to evolve. Classes are small and although academically non selective, our first cohort of Year 7’s have just celebrated receiving their GCSE results with seven of them achieving 30 A*/A’s between them.

Former RIC student and English teacher David Thornthwaite says: “The achievement of this year’s students across a range of subjects is outstanding. RIC encourages a broad education before the specialisation of sixth form. Prospective doctors and vets get to be stretched by the demanding International GCSEs in the Triple Sciences (100% A*-C in Physics, Chemistry, Biology this year) while those who are more creative can study subjects such Film, Textiles, Ceramics, Photography and Graphic Design.”

small by design

Meaningful communication and feedback between school and home is a priority in the Lower School, with parents and students encouraged by our effective ‘open door policy’ and regular testing and reports.

Year 7 students travel on a daily minibus service from Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Kings Hill. Those coming from Bromley South come by train and we operate a train buddy service in the first weeks of term.

In a smaller school setting we can more clearly recognize and focus on students’ needs with the expectation that all will do well academically, grow in confidence and have great memories of school life.

This year’s Activity Week saw Kent used as a classroom and was based around the theme of evolution. It saw students meeting Time Team’s Tony Robinson at Penhurst Place Gardens and a visit to Darwin’s Down House where he wrote ‘Origin of Species’ and was inspired by the carnivorous plants and exotic orchids in garden hot houses.

Lower School plans include an onsite allotment where students will grow their own vegetables, an expansion of our Astronomy provision and exciting interdisciplinary curriculum innovations drawing on expertise from across the College and rooted in the local community. Environmental issues will continue to be central. Five of our students published in the first edition of The Geographical Times a newspaper for Geography students to share their work and ideas with the rest of the world. RIC has always supported the work of The Woodland Trust and The Kent Wildlife Trust.

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