The subject knowledge of teaching staff recruited by the senior management team is excellent and teachers share the vision that the team has created. All show a strong commitment to the success of the college. The creation of a friendly community which enables students to realise their potential is the focus of all staff.
At RIC you'll be taught by specialist teachers, many of whom are also examiners. Some have Masters level qualifications and PhDs or are continuing to work towards them, helping to sustain a lively academic and creative environment. They know that not everyone learns in the same way and are adept at devising strategies to help you learn effectively. Our teaching style is positive, enthusiastic and encouraging. Many of our teachers are also textbook authors. Students are prepared for their GCSEs and A levels with help from professionals who arereally in the know about what is required.
Scroll down for just a small selection of the RIC Sixth Form teaching talent or click here for the full staff list.
Head of Sixth Form Ian Pay attended Chatham Grammar School for Boys and graduated from Lancaster University with a First Class degree. His Masters degree is in Contemporary British History. He teaches Politics and History across the College.
Ian says: "Sixth form students meet with their designated Personal Tutor every few weeks and this affords a great opportunity to discuss subject choices, progress, academic and career aspirations and any concerns that may have cropped up. As the academic year progresses, attention in these meetings turns to exam preparation and revision strategies."
Dr Anthony Gilliand joined RIC after working at CATS College, London as a Senior Tutor. Prior to that he was a Welfare and Accommodation Manager at Stafford House. He has a BA Hons in Government from the LSE and a PhD in Politics. Anthony is a resident tutor in boarding and helps run our evening study clubs for students where they can access tutor support in the evenings and work in a quiet, structured environment. Last year he ran a successful trip to parliament for our Lower School students.
Dr Kamila Pawlikowska teaches Sociology and Psychology and is a Senior Tutor. She studied Sociology at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun (Poland) and Comparative Literature at the University of Kent at Canterbury, where she later taught literature, sociology and cultural studies. Her PhD in Comparative Literature was published as Anti-Portraits: Poetics of the Face in English, Polish and Russian Literature. She has recently completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship in Tokyo where she was a British Academy / Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Research Fellow and studied the perceptions of Japan in Europe. Her interests include images of the human body and face in literature and visual arts, cross-national literature, intercultural communication, Japanese culture and language, and global education. This year Kamila was a visiting lecturer for a month at Penn State University in the USA.
Head of Science and Biology teacher Katharine Lang says: "Small-group teaching, lots of hands-on practicals, time for discussion around the syllabus topics and six hours of teaching every week by specialist teachers (eight hours for a one-year course). That's science A Levels at RIC. We don't just teach you the syllabus requirements, we encourage you to explore the subject, both in lessons and by pointing you towards resources which will widen your knowledge and excite your interest. With six hours per subject per week in teaching groups of six to eight students, we have plenty of time to complete the theory and required practicals, plus extra practical experience in the lab and on the field course, as well as ensuring your exam technique is really up to scratch to help you achieve the best grade you can."
Before teaching Katharine worked as a journalist both locally in Rochester and at Country Life. She studied Biology at Exeter.
Many former students are now practising doctors, dentists, vets and pharmacists.
Also teaching Chemistry at RIC is Dr Sophie Hilton whose medical research was based around the design of enzyme inhibitors. Sophie says: "Working at RIC is like a breath of fresh air, the small classes and the fact that the students are very well behaved and want to succeed means I can convey my enthusiasm for Chemistry and turn my attention to every student. Chemistry is a hard subject but it is so interesting and it offers openings to great careers. I really hope that at the end of the course, the students studying Chemistry at RIC will feel the same way as I do about the subject."
Imperial College graduate Paul Dutton has been Head of Physics since 2003. The department is hoping to repeat the successful trip to Tenerife where the A level Astrophysics module was taught to a group of sixth formers from Rochester, using the resources of the famous observatory there. This year a group of A level students visited The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxford to take part in a Particle Physics masterclass. We are also planning a trip to CERN in Switzerland for A level Physicists.
Paul says: "The College attracts very high quality science students from both the UK and overseas who complete A levels, often in a year from scratch, and proceed to university."
David Thornthwaite did a fast track one-year A level Film Studies course at RIC and returned to teach in 2009 after studying English at Warwick University. David's Masters degree is in Victorian Literature. David organises an exciting programme of trips and visits for English students, recent literary excursions have involved overnight trips to Jane Austen's Bath and Shakespeare's Stratford. The department has won a Good Schools Guide award for its A level English Literature teaching. David says: "Each of the texts we teach is a window, opening onto worlds of idea and sensation. Our authors tackle the big themes, love and sex; class and aspiration; science and ethics."
Lessons at RIC are a mixture of in depth analyses and informal, seminar-style discussions. We also use a lot of one-to-one feedback, especially for devising and developing coursework. David's favourite texts have a suspicious habit of finding their way onto the curriculum, but he insists that he likes them because they are so accessible.
Dr Rachel Woolley is a Senior tutor and UCAS Advisor in the sixth form. Rachel's PhD was in the work of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. She is Principal A level English Literature examiner for one of the main exam boards and sets A level question papers. Rachel says: "Every year I will probably mark, monitor or review the marking of over 800 students. Marking for 10 years has dramatically enhanced my understanding of what students need to learn and enables me and my colleagues in the department assist students to hone their skills for literary study. It instills a sense of confidence that the work is on course for success. Teachers who mark are in a better position to diagnose 'problem areas'. It helps me keep in mind a maximum marks answer so that I can better support the students and keep motivating them to improve." Rachel has taught at RIC since 1999.
Head of English as a Foreign Language and UCAS Advisor Sue Cooper has worked at RIC since 1984.
Working closely with the A level personal tutor team Sue helps oversee over 100 UCAS applications each year, including many to Oxford, Cambridge, medicine, dentistry and vet science. Sue is also responsible for teaching IELTS classes to our high-flying international students, including those young scholars who join the college each year from Thailand on a prestigious government sponsorship scheme. International students are taken on a wide range of educational trips each year including a pre exam minibreak to the Dorset Coast as a well-deserved break from revision!
A level Maths teacher Danny Cheung has a first class degree in Mechanical Engineering from City University. Danny came to RIC from Hong Kong in 2004 to study English and work in our kitchens. Under the careful mentorship of the RIC Catering team his traditional roast dinners and baking skills were quickly appreciated by staff and students alike. RIC awarded Danny a full scholarship to allow him to study at university. Danny celebrated his British citizenship ceremony at the Rochester Corn Exchange this year.
Classics tutor Dr Alistair Donaldson says: "My PhD is in Classical & Archaeological Studies. I have several years experience teaching and tutoring GCSE and A Level students, in addition to lecturing at the University of Kent. When teaching my students I try to encourage their interest in the debt we owe to ancient cultures ("What have the Romans ever done for us!?"), by arranging trips to museums, heritage sites and performances of ancient plays." Last year he took his students to see a 21st-century take on Homer's The Odyssey: Missing Presumed Dead at the Globe. Alistair has recently started Latin club in the College's Lower School.
York graduate Richard Blood joined RIC in 2001 to teach Geography. Geography is one of the strongest departments at RIC both in terms of academic and extra curricular provision. The department holds a Secondary Geography Quality Mark from The Geographical Association. Richard has a keen interest in World Development Studies and has worked on a voluntary basis for the British Trust of Conservation Volunteers and Oxfam. Richard is also responsible for coordinating RIC's environmental projects and Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme which we offer to all students from Year 9 upwards. Aspects of the DofE scheme run throughout the curriculum involving everything from first aid to film making as well as popular expeditions. As well as Geography the department offers A level Global Perspectives. This subject takes an interdisciplinary approach to issues related to social and economic development in a globalised world, covering topics such as climate change, aid and debt, migration, gender relations and political development.
Head of Art Robin Macintosh has taught Fine Art and History of Art at RIC since 2003. Working alongside Robin in the art department in 2017-18 is Tom Wynn Owen. Tom joined RIC from the Judd School for sixth form and has just graduated from UCL's The Slade School of Fine Art. Next year Tom, who will also be a resident tutor in the boarding, will also be running our popular evening life drawing classes. Tom says he chose RIC as it was “the only place that would let me do all the subjects I wanted and did not make me wear a suit. I met the most exciting people here. RIC helped me to learn a lot in subjects I really enjoyed with awesome teachers I get on with. A very good atmosphere and lot of help available for work. Good trips – cool plays in London, and the art trip to Paris was excellent.”
Music teaching at the College, both traditional and popular is developing fast under Head of Music Alex James. Alex is a musician, composer and musicologist who has performed with a wide range of popular, improvising and experimental artists, including The Cinematic Orchestra and Eddie Prevost. Alex passed both his BA and MA with distinction and is currently studying for a PhD at Nottingham University, where he is the Henry Thomas Mitchell scholar. Alex teaches on both the Music and Music Technology courses at Rochester.
Photography tutor Michael Daks joins RIC in 2017 from Paris College of Art (formerly Parsons Paris, the French Annex of Parsons New School.) He was formerly Senior Lecturer in Photography at Southampton Solent University and Visiting Professor at the Istituto Marangoni, Paris. Michael has worked as a fashion and portrait photographer in London, Paris, Milan and NYC, with clients including The New York Times Magazine, Untitled Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan. His short film 'The Butterfly Collector' has now been viewed over 1 million times on youtube. Michael's portraits of Dennis Potter and Kenneth Branagh are in the permanent collection of The National Portrait Gallery in London. His fashion work for BLITZ magazine was recently exhibited at the ICA in London, and published in the book 'As Seen in Blitz- Fashioning 80s Style.'
Head of Film and Media Lisa Herron joined RIC in 2001 after teaching at DLD and Fine Arts College, Hampstead. She says: "Film Studies at RIC is a Good Schools Guide Award winning subject at both GCSE and A level. Combining academic and practical work including screen writing and film journalism these A levels and GCSEs are an exciting alternative to more traditional subjects. The teaching provided by College tutors is supplemented by visiting speakers and industry practitioners."
Film and Media teacher Nicki Komorowski has taught at RIC since 2008. Outside of College, Nikki has been involved in making promotional films for local schools and authoring educational resources and courses including an education pack for Shorne Woods and 'Streetwise' - an educational resource for the 'Clean Kent Campaign.'
Nicki says of her work as a Film Studies examiner: "It helps me to teach the students how to think like an examiner in order to review their own essay writing skills and explain what the enigmatic mark scheme actually means to students and teach them how to think like an examiner in order to review their own essay writing skills."
Leading Drama and Theatre Studies in our dedicated underground theatre space at the College is Deborah Postgate. Deborah studied at UKC and Aberdeen before joining RIC. As well as GCSE and A level students also have the opportunity to take LAMDA grade exams in Speech and Drama. These qualifications also carry UCAS points for university entrance. Underhill Hall, in the grounds is also known as the Womble building. The theatre space is underground, whilst over the top, there's an outdoor seating area used as an open-air auditorium. The College hosts regular performances and workshops from the European Arts Theatre Company. In 2017 Deborah is taking responsibility for our student councils across the College.