RIC understands the university entrance system. They take the time on first meeting to listen to your child’s wishes, and to advise on the best possible course by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of results to date. Sometimes they suggest a complete change of subject as in the case of my youngest daughter being advised to take English A level in one year which resulted in an A. They also advise the pupil as to which Examination Board they would be best suited to take to achieve success. For me, as a parent, this adult approach is like a breath of fresh air, preparing for the way universities require them to work independently. Despite initial despondency this method whereby the student is constantly monitored and supported works.
Having paid for private education for our three children since they were small, we assumed after they achieved sound G.C.S.E results that they would secure good A level grades. This didn’t happen. Without moving them all to Rochester Independent College, they wouldn’t have been able to achieve their dreams: James to study Mechanical Engineering (First Class Honours from Sussex 2013 followed by the offer of a scholarship to Imperial College where he’s gained a Masters in Advanced Mechanical Engineering) and has been accepted on to a 4 year Graduate Scheme with The Nuclear Industry. Hannah to study Music ( MMus 2:1 from Bath Spa 2015). Lauren to get to U.E.A to study Psychology. susan morley, july 2015
Please would you pass on my thanks to all the staff at RIC who have given Isabella so much help, advice and support with her A Levels – what a difference a year makes! We are absolutely thrilled that she will be starting her vet medicine course in September. Kind regards, charlotte derosa
“James wanted to go to university – without RIC this wouldn’t have been an option. I was sceptical as James had had poor results but RIC believed James could do three brand new, never studied before, subjects in one year! How could he? If he hadn’t managed over two years, how could he do it over one? From the first meeting with Todd, James began to open up, discussing music tastes and modern culture. Three subjects were decided upon there and then and, 12 months later, having achieved an A and 2Bs, James had been accepted to his first choice university, Exeter (with 5 offers to good universities in total). He believes that the teaching style, being relaxed and discussion based, and less didactic than he was used to, is probably what motivated him to work. RIC were always on his case, checking up if he missed a class but encouraging him and building up his confidence as he proved he could write essays and get them in on time! They were always more positive than I dared to be – I had to rely on their experienced advice which turned out to be right in the end. James has completed his first year at Exeter and is having a ball.” parents of james baker, ric class of 2014
Dear Brian and Alistair, I have been meaning to write to you since last August and have only just got around to it! A very belated thank you to you at Rochester for the wonderful opportunity you gave Lottie Evelyn last academic year to change her A Level subjects and take up Graphic Design. She had such a happy time at Rochester, made very strong friends and came alive again with a new interest in her subjects. She has just completed her Art Foundation year at Loughborough and gained a Distinction. She also one an award for Best Sketch Books in Visual Communication which is remarkable considering she started her year at Rochester without even having done art GCSE. Please pass on my thanks to Kelly for steering Lottie along and for her advice and patience and to you all at Rochester for giving Lottie the opportunity to change her A Levels. Kind Regards karen evelyn, august 2015
“Our son Alan resat his A and AS levels through Rochester in 2012/3. He subsequently got a place at Cardiff to study archaeology which he is enjoying thanks to the excellent help your school gave him while he was there. His confidence and his essay writing skills came on by leaps and bounds whilst he was with you.
Well he would be a bit horrified that I was telling you, but in a recent essay he wrote on Ancient History he got a high first. He was so pleased that he sent us a copy of the mark sheet and when we had finished scraping ourselves up off the floor, we naturally told him how very proud we are of his achievement. It brought tears to my eyes! So well done Rochester for turning our son around! And thanks to all the staff who worked so hard with him. stephanie wolf, 2015
Can I just take the opportunity to say that we are so grateful for all the staff at Rochester – this year has been fantastic for Sophie, I wish we had known more about the school and made the decision to move Sophie there years ago.. I am sure more time at Rochester would have helped Sophie develop herself and her confidence. The grammar school was definitely not the right school for Sophie – we learnt too late and also, I don’t think the (majority of) state schools provide the extra support and character development that independent schools do which is very much what we expect from education. Whatever the results in August – and we are all hoping for good ones! – we are most definitely very happy with Rochester Independent College and are very grateful for all the help from all the teaching staff. helen burns 2014
tom parsons, class of 2011: “Thank you so much for all you’ve done for Tom, giving him the opportunity to realise his potential. He is now looking forward to studying for an MEng in Computer Science at Imperial College- two years ago I’d never have thought this was possible. The ethos at RIC was ideal for Tom and allowed him to be himself- he has so grown in confidence it’s a joy to see. All the teachers have been brilliant, and the students have been fantastic too. His personal tutor, Todd, pitched it absolutely right so he settled in well. He also gave me lots of support! Thank you to all at RIC for a school that doesn’t conform to the traditional structure but embraces young people whoever they are and makes them feel happier in themselves.” petra parsons
rebecca griffiths, class of 2003: “I needed to take my GCSEs because I had missed most of them at school due to illness. I had A grades in Maths GCSE and Art A level, but that was all. The flexibility at Rochester Independent College was ideal because it allowed me to switch to one year A level courses half way through the year when I’d become a lot more confident and my health had improved. So despite missing quite a bit of school I have not only caught up with GCSEs I also have the A levels I need.”
I want to let you know how much we appreciate all the work you have done with Allan and how much he has flourished at RIC. I have seen how impressive your school is, on both the academic and pastoral sides. It is unusual to find a school that has your distinct ethos and a capacity to work with a degree of informality that makes students feel comfortable and able to express themselves while giving them clear boundaries about what is acceptable. I have also appreciated the constant level of knowledge about Allan’s progress and needs. Many thanks again. beth stockley, co-deputy head teacher, royal borough of kensington and chelsea.
dr philippa thorpe, class of 1993: “I think I came to RIC in 1992. I had just received my A Level results and had failed to meet the offer from Liverpool University to study medicine despite it being a very generous one. I made an appointment to see the Principal of RIC. Somehow I agreed to retake 4 A levels. The first thing that struck me when I started at the college was the smell of sausage rolls in the morning. I also remember being told off for “not descending the stairs like a human being”. After three terms of maths, science and general deportment courtesy of Mr Brian Pain, I managed to meet the second offer from Liverpool and also learned to descend the stairs like a lady. A bit. I now live in Liverpool and work as a surgeon having qualified from medical school in 1999. I owe all my success to RIC. I look back on that year with enormous gratitude.”
louise reynolds, class of 2010: “Dear Alistair, I wanted to write to you and your colleagues who have made such a difference to Louise this year. I must particularly thank you for your marvellous insights when you first met Louise in helping her choose her subjects. What inspired choices. The commitment of the staff, and the standard of tuition, are excellent. It has been wonderful to see Louise develop academically and grow in confidence. I sing the College’s praises to everyone I meet. With grateful thanks.” jenny reynolds
josh craddock, class of 2008: “Dear Pauline, Thank you to you and your staff for helping to get Josh to university. I am sure that had he remained at Wellington College he would not have achieved sufficient to get him a reasonable university place.” martin craddock
alex norman, class of 2001: “We wanted to write to you to express our gratitude for everything you and the staff of the College have done for Alex. She has had a wonderful year and, hopefully, there will be some good academic results in August. However, what is more important to us is the complete change in her demeanour. You may remember how nervous and lacking in confidence she had become in the last two years at Kent College and I think you will agree that the Alex of today is very different. A year ago it was difficult to get her to talk- now we can’t shut her up! The other very obvious difference is the way her intellect developed. She is now interested in everything around her and has an opinion to express on most subjects. Our main worry is that whichever university she goes to needs to have inspirational and humourous tutors if it is going to carry on the good work that has been started at Rochester.” Alex achieved 4 Grade As at A level in a year from scratch and graduated in 2006 with a degree in Art History from Pembroke College, Cambridge. After a Masters degree at Trinity College, Dublin Alex started work at the BBC in September 2009.
freddie topps, class of 2011: “Dear Alistair, This seems a good opportunity to say how pleased we are with the progress Freddie has made in his first year at RIC. He is in his own words ”very proud” to be part of the college. Freddie will be returning in September and we are confident that he will continue to develop under the care and guidance of your fantastic staff.” katriona topps
alistair wickham, class of 2010: “This is just to say a very big ‘thank you’ to all of Alistair’s tutors at Rochester Independent for your superb guidance, expert management of the application for Law, unfailing kindness, patience and brilliant teaching. You taught him to think properly, to write clearly and fulfilled every promise you made to us. I wish you all continued success and many more students to benefit as he has done.” judith wickham
louise evans, class of 2000: “We can’t say we are lovers of mobile phones. We like them even less when they intrude upon ones holiday, but when ours rang on a rather dismal Friday morning three weeks ago at our hotel in Mallorca, the feeling of elation was difficult to describe. On screen it read ‘A’ Economics. We both screamed with delight, shocking and bemusing our fellow guests in the process. In one second we realised that Louise had gained her dream place reading Psychology at Warwick.- YIPPEE! Two and a half years ago Louise started at your College after a couple of years in the educational wilderness. She has worked hard to turn herself around and so have you and your brilliant staff at Rochester Independent College.” nick and janice evans
daisy falconer, class of 2003: “It was a difficult decision to retake my A levels but now I know it was the best thing I could have done with my gap year. I have found all my teachers inspiring and enthusiastic and they have given me the confidence I needed to achieve my potential. I have the skills and confidence to go and do well at university. I would like to say a very big thank you to Richard Blood. At my previous school I really struggled with the A level Geography course and I got a D grade. Richard approached the subject in a whole new way and over one term I turned it into an A grade, getting full marks in 2 of the 6 papers. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without his help and dedication.”
josh thompson, class of 2006: “Coming to the College for the Upper 6th was a completely different experience from grammar school. I had no idea a “teacher” could be any more than a face spouting information – the personal and caring atmosphere you have in place nurtured me into the young man that was so stifled in the image conscious and controlling institution that I spent 5 years suffocating in.” After securing AAB at A level Josh studied English at Sussex.
gurj sandhu, class of 2000: “Dearest Brian. My motto in life is honesty is the best policy but I honestly do not know how to express how grateful I am for everything you have done for me. Since attending this College I have changed so much (all for the better I hope) and I owe that largely to you. I think I am ready now for uni life, which I definately wasn’t before I came here. Before I get all soppy, I’m going to stop…”
mike day, class of 2003: “To Alistair, Jim, Brian, Meg, Sue and everyone else! Thank you! I’ll hopefully get my life back on track with a good university education thanks to the grades you’ve done so much to help me get! Thanks so much for being so flexible and accommodating and letting me study while working.”
emily martyn, class of 2010: “I was really happy with my GCSE results from Tonbridge Grammar School so saw no reason to go anywhere else for A levels especially as all my friends were staying on. However I didn’t do well in my AS year, I wasn’t concentrating and knew I was going to fail. It was a very pressurised environment, there wasn’t much individual help and you were left to either sink or swim. It was very stressful, I wasn’t getting anywhere, I was totally unprepared for my exams and as time went on I felt that there was no way out of my situation. I continued on to my A2 year though regardless. When I got my final A level results I was so shocked. I got CDD and I knew I had to make a difficult decision. I had been really looking forward to my gap year. I had an amazing expedition planned – a placement at a big cat sanctuary in Malaysia then travelling round Asia and Africa. I now had to decide whether to take a clearing place at a university that I didn’t really want to go to or retake. I decided to retake and it has been such a brilliant experience. I can’t thank the College enough. The teachers are so good at what they do, they encourage commitment and that really works for me. I get so much help and encouragement that my confidence has improved enormously – even my driving instructor has noticed it! Any worries about not knowing anyone soon disappeared as everyone in my groups are in the same boat so we have lots in common. I have made loads of new friends. I would advise anyone to change their learning environment if they are struggling. I wish I had known about the College sooner so that I could have transferred after AS. Coming to Rochester Independent College is the best decision I have every made.”
carla and anna lee, class of 2011 and 2012: “To Pauline and Maeva. Thank you for being our personal tutors this year. Thank you for always watching out for us!”
roshni patel, class of 2009: “This is our second daughter to study at RIC and they have both done equally well – one in her final year of dentistry and the other off to study Medicine. Thank you.” mr and mrs patel
faye and claire lawson, class of 2004: “Dear Alistair, We would like to thank you and the staff team for the personal interest and support you have shown to both Claire and Faye during their time at the College. We are especially grateful to Jackie for the understanding and help she has given Claire as personal tutor. Faye has valued the high level of commitment and personal support from many of her subject tutors and has greatly benefitted from her year at the College. Many thanks for all your hard work and commitment to the students.”
priya sethukumar, class of 2005: “To all the staff of Rochester Independent College. Thank you so much for helping me achieve my dream of studying medicine and getting into Imperial College, London. The unconditional support, encouragement and motivation meant so much. It has been a completely different, sometimes difficult, always worthwhile but also fun year.”
nina balachander and stephen groves, met September 2000 at Rochester Independent College, married 16th August 2008.
dannii jennings, class of 2008: “Dear all. I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for everything you did to help me achieve A levels that I could never have dreamed of. This time last year, I thought my dreams of ever going to uni had vanished, now I have achieved the impossible and a place on the best drama course in the country! I know I haven’t been the easiest student but I am truly grateful for every inch of help you have offered me. Hopefully seeing how much I have changed over the last year is satisfaction enough. I am 110% more confident in my ability and feel totally ready to embark on the challenging degree ahead, knowing I will take the skills I learnt at Rochester with me. Rochester (and my failure last year) have taught me that if I want something, I can achieve it- if I work for it!”
sam begg, class of 2010, joined ric from judd: “Dear Hugh, Brian, Janet and Brenda. Thank you so much for enabling Sam to get his 2As and a B for Manchester. We are really thrilled he has been able to fulfil his potential in this way but know that it wouldn’t have happened without the excellent quality of teaching, guidance and pastoral care that you provided.” emma begg
jacob muncey, class of 2008: “Alistair- it only seems like yesterday that we were discussing what Jacob should do! Your advice and guidance was spot on and Jacob has certainly got a lot out of this year. He now has one of the most important things- choice about what he does next. Over the last year he has shown what he can do when he gets the right support. He also enjoyed the year, which is important. He made some new friends and met people from lots of different backgrounds as well as different countries. We did have some fun BBQs here at home when he invited some of them back for an end of year party and without exception, they were delightful. So thankyou to Lisa, Todd and Jim for their patience and support.” liz and neil muncey
dr amrit dugala, class of 2001: “To become a doctor has been my lifetime’s ambition so not achieving the necessary A level grades first time round was disheartening. I decided to retake at Rochester Independent College. The teaching style here was a little unorthodox compared to what I was used to at school but one that I settled down to very quickly and one that proved to work. This combined with the friendly atmosphere was a great tonic to my confidence levels. Brian’s constant constructive criticism in Maths helped me to reach my goal and getting entry to Medical School became more and more probable. I was absolutely thrilled when I got my grades in March and I’m now looking forward to starting Medicine in October.”
lauren thrift, class of 2010: “To Brian, Alistair, Pauline, Pete, Rachel, Sarah, Gemma, Meg, Robin, Kelly and Brenda and all at RIC. I can’t thank you enough for everything you have done for Lauren this year! Many thanks. wendy thrift
chris cox, class of 2007: “To Alistair. Thankyou to all of you for being there when we really needed help and support. We can’t thank you enough for all your positive support.” lesley, jean and christopher cox
abi fleury, class of 2006: “To all the staff at RIC. Thank you so much for everything you have done for me over the last three years. I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed my time here. It was the best decision I ever made to come to the College and I have learnt so much from you all- not only in the educational way but lessons in life I will take with me wherever I go.”
alastair bennett, class of 2000: “Dear Brian. What can I say I am still in shock with the relief of receiving my son Alastair’s results, particularly the English. When Ali was encouraged to go for Warwick I thought you were all shooting high but he’s done it, he has learnt a lot about growing up at the College and now he has a very much brighter future to look forward to. I can but thank you and all involved in this success, from his tutor Alistair whom we first met at that very difficult time twelve months ago and who gave him the initial inspiration to join the College, to the ladies who kept him so well fed after he left home and became a resident. I do hope that his story will help others face their current disappointment and go on to achieve their maximum. Your educational formula at the College is very special.” anthony c bennett
george holland, class of 2001: “Dear Alistair. I am enormously grateful for all the time and special effort you and the staff have made helping George make so much progress. Thank you once again. jools holland
darragh, class of 1996: “Dear Brian. This is a somewhat belated letter of thanks for everything you and the other tutors did for me four years ago. It was through your efforts and dedication that I was able to realize my dedication and gain a place at Trinity College, Dublin. The study techniques I learned with you served me well during my four years at university. I read politics and graduated with a 2.1 just last week. Once again, I cannot thank you enough for everything you all did for me. The approach you took towards learning helped me gain the necessary confidence to retake my A levels after my initial efforts at King’s.”
jaspar gale, class of 1994: “As you will now know, Jasper has been offered, and has accepted, a place at Liverpool University to study veterinary medicine. All the effort and persistence paid off, none of which would have been possible without the enormous amount of work you and your team have put into helping him get his grades and the guidance that you have given both to him and to Suzy and myself to help us to keep him on course. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy and it hasn’t been. It has, though, been enormously worthwhile and the whole purpose of this letter is really just to say thankyou for teaching another pig to fly.” roger gale mp
edward matthews, class of 2003: “Dear Brian. I am writing to thank you and your team for the considerable hard work and effort that you have displayed over the past year for Edward. Our specific thanks must go to Brenda Harrison, Paul Dutton and Graham Anderton, each of these tutors have given Edward their valuable time, support and built his confidence. The staff and Edward should be congratulated on their success. Edward’s offer to read medicine at Leicester has been confirmed.” brian and susan matthews
tom watkinson class of 2003: “Dear Alistair. Thank you for all your help in getting Tom fixed up to take his A levels at Rochester. He has rediscovered the ability to apply himself to study and (dare one say it) actually enjoys doing so. The credit for this belongs to his tutors in particular and to the adult atmosphere of Rochester in general. Please pass on our warmest gratitude to all your colleagues.”
robert and shirley watkinson