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Denice Zhuang, Principal, Power Talk, Shantou, CHINA

After looking at Allen's recent report, I felt I really wanted to tell you all you are just fantastic! I am so glad I found out about Rochester, as it truly is a magical place. Allen finally has a place to let his true abilities shine at Rochester, after a struggle in Chinese public school system. I do believe he is just a wonderful boy at heart, and he seems to be growing in all aspects. Many heartfelt thanks to you both, and to the teachers there for your patience and ongoing support of Allen. You all are just wonderful!

Denice Zhuang, Principal, Power Talk, Shantou, CHINA

A Top British Boarding School Education

RIC is one of the best independent boarding schools in England and prepares students for competitive universities and key professions. RIC is a boarding school that offers specialist university entry pathways in both Maths and Sciences and the Creative and Visual Arts so whether you are an aspiring doctor, scientist, filmmaker or artist you’ll study with people who share your interests.

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The Independent

The teaching at Rochester is rigorous and tailored to the best possible exam results. It offers a broad education, combining its original focus on getting students into competitive university courses such as medicine, dentistry and veterinary science with an emphasis on the creative arts.

The Independent

A UK boarding school with market leading university admissions expertise

Through our links to Dukes Education, RIC has the best preparation available worldwide for students applying to Oxford, Cambridge, Russell Group or U.S Ivy League universities, or for Medicine, Dentistry, and allied medical subjects at university.

A UK boarding school that is successfully individual

At RIC it is possible to study A levels over two years- the standard length of study, over 18 months or, for very well qualified students, intensively over one year of study. We also offer pre-GCSE, one-year GCSE courses, two-year GCSE courses and a pre A level course for international students.

Just like all of our students from the UK, our international students are a bunch of amazing individuals. We recognise that everyone’s goals are different and that everyone’s background is different no matter how similar it may look on the surface. We pride ourselves on tailoring courses as much as is possible to the needs of our students. While at the start of every course, this shows in the individual design of each student’s timetable, it continues throughout all courses with our personal tutor system ensuring that there is constant communication between student and teacher. We can’t guarantee exam success or entry to a particular university – no one can. But we can guarantee that every student will be fully aware of everything they need to do to give them the best chance of meeting or – often – exceeding their aims. Our individual approach to all our courses means that students have the best chance possible of developing their strengths, gaining new skills and building a strong foundation for their future.

A UK boarding school that is consistently academic

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At RIC I was able to take the Science subjects I needed in a short period of time. I got 4 grade As in a year from scratch and am now studying Biochemistry at my first choice university, Imperial College, London



One year Pre-GCSE Programme

YEAR 9 (AGES 13-14)

A preparation course for entry to British curriculum year 10. Day or Boarding.

Students in the UK start their preparation for GCSEs at 13 and for International students at RIC we have 2 options depending on the student's level of English:

1. Students with lower levels of English (CEFR ≤ B1; IELTS < 5.0) can join our Pre-GCSE Programme, comprising intensive English teaching as well as studying a range of other academic subjects alongside our UK students, including Maths, Science, Geography, History, Music, ICT, Art and PE.

2. Students with higher levels of English (CEFR ≥ B1; IELTS ≥ 5.0) will enter directly into year 9, where they will learn alongside the British students (a maximum of 12 students in each class) and study a broad curriculum in preparation for the start of their GCSE course in Year 10.

The Year 9 curriculum covers the core subjects - Maths, Science, English, Geography, History, ICT, Art and Design, a Modern Foreign language, Drama, Music, PSHEE and PE.

Two Year GCSE Courses

YEAR 10 & 11 (AGES 14-16)

GCSE course for entry to British curriculum sixth form. Day or Boarding.
There are 2 options at RIC depending on the student's level of English:

1. Students with lower levels of English (CEFR ≤ B1; IELTS < 5.0) can join our 2 year GCSE Programme with English Language support, comprising intensive English teaching as well as studying a range of other academic subjects alongside our UK students, including Maths, Science, Geography, History, Music, ICT, Art and PE. Once in year 11 and with the required English level students can add one year GCSEs to their timetable

2. Students with higher levels of English (CEFR ≥ B1; IELTS ≥ 5.0) will enter directly into year 10, where they will learn alongside the British students (a maximum of 12 students in each class) and study a broad curriculum in preparation for the their GCSE course in Year 11. Once in year 11 students can add one year GCSEs to their timetable

One Year Intensive GCSE Course

YEAR 11 (15/16 YEAR OLDS)

An intensive one year GCSE course preparing students for 6th form entry (years 12 and 13). Students will require a 5.5 IELTS or equivalent English level for this course although taking the IELTS exam is not in itself a pre requisite. Day or boarding.

Students who successfully follow these one year courses proceed to study A levels and RIC, creating a three year pathway to university. Depending on the student’s level of English and academic background they may take a small number of GCSEs on a pre A level course or opt for a fully comprehensive intensive GCSE course. Either route is the perfect preparation for sixth form for international students aged 15+, covering a broad range of academic subjects and English language classes.

One Year Pre-A Level Course


This course prepares international students for A-Levels in the UK, especially for those needing to improve their English language skills. This course is a mix of intensive English language teaching and GCSE level academic courses. This course is perfect for students who need more English language support to achieve the level required for A level study. Day or boarding.

Two Year A level Course

YEAR 12 & 13 (AGES 16 UPWARDS)

The ‘conventional’ A level course lasts for two years. At RIC it is usual for students to study four subjects in Year 12 and three in Year 13. Where required, additional language teaching support leading to the IELTS examination is part of the course. Day or boarding.

Some students have a firm career aim and can with confidence select a certain set of A level subjects. Others are encouraged to select combinations which keep their options as wide open as possible.

Early on a two-year course, students even have chance to try subjects for a while before settling to a final choice. RIC specialises in teaching short courses and it is thus rarely a problem should a student wish to change subject options as late as the beginning of their second year of study.

Guidance is always available in making option choices, indeed, students would not be allowed to change subjects until the change had been discussed at length with Personal Tutors. Many two year A level students take a combination of one and two year courses and thus maintain variety, interest and challenge in their programme of study.

One Year A level Course


Groups in all subjects on one-year courses tend to be dynamic and exciting with lots of interaction between students and teachers. Those aiming for places on highly competitive courses such as Law, Medicine, English, and Veterinary Science will find themselves in groups of similarly dedicated students keen to make rapid progress. On a one-year A level course it is usual to concentrate on three subjects although each year three or four RIC students successfully complete four or even five from scratch. If needed, IELTS preparation is combined with these courses.

The advantage of one year A level courses for overseas students is that they can move quickly into Higher Education, specialising in a way that is more difficult in many international systems or with the IB Diploma.

RIC specialises in Maths and Science A levels and is able to offer the full range of subjects at A level (including further mathematics and statistics) to students ensuring they have the right qualifications and skills base for a variety of degrees in the Sciences, Engineering, Accountancy, Finance and Management Studies.

There is no such one year option in many traditional Private schools as A levels are generally taught as a 2 year course. Instead of joining a university foundation course, brighter students from abroad can take a one year A-level course to maximise their chances to get into the best UK universities such as Oxford and Cambridge as well as competitive courses such as medicine.

Five term A level course

Five term courses commence in January and end in June the following year. International students who finish their academic year in December overseas can move immediately onto these courses, avoiding the need to wait until the following September to start a two year course. For students with weaker language skills, the first two terms can also be used to prepare more intensively for IELTS enabling them to focus more on academic subjects from September.

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Former Student

Rochester is quiet compared to Lagos, but living in the College is great. It is very friendly and the teachers are always there to help. Even though I started very late in the term the teachers were all so supportive and I really enjoyed my short time at the College.

Former Student

Recent one year A level boarders include two students from Germany. Ines is now at UCL studying Psychology and Cara at Leicester studying English Literature. Both girls secured Grade A passes in one year from scratch in subjects ranging from Psychology to History of Art, Government and Politics, English Literature and Media Studies. Studying alongside Cara and Ines were two Oxford University success stories. Tanatorn and Phakpoom, both from Thailand, won matching places to study Chemistry after a one year A level programme at Rochester. Tanatorn will be at Merton College, Phakpoom just across the street at St John’s!

At RIC international students on one year courses study alongside those from the UK. Josh, 18 notched up an impressive four grade As in Government and Politics, Film Studies, English Literature and History of Art, all achieved in just a year’s study from scratch. On the back of these results Josh won a place to study English at Bristol University. Josh says: “The college isn’t like a traditional private school. The teachers give you plenty of guidance, but they expect you to take responsibility which makes it more like being at university.”

One of the best British boarding schools for both medical sciences and the creative and visual arts

Rochester Independent College has been helping prepare students for medical, dental and vet school entry since 1984.

As well as two-year courses we also offer intensive one-year A level Science and Maths courses that have been successfully taken by highflying international and mature students preparing for medicine, dentistry and vet science.

For international students aiming for these courses a two-year programme is generally better to allow us to help them to build up relevant work experience.

Many of the College’s former students are now successful practitioners working locally and many of the local GPs, surgeons and consultants send their children to us. This gives RIC a real wealth of experience to draw upon when advising students about who to approach when organising their work experience. Our parents also help with the mock interviews we arrange for all our applicants aiming for these courses.

Medical school entry for international students

With up to 10 applicants per place at the 31 UK medical schools it is inevitable that every year there will be students with top grades and good work experience that are left disappointed. With international students there are additional challenges in preparing applications. The medical schools operate a quota system for overseas applicants so it is particularly important that applications are targeted strategically. Oxford for example has only 14 places for international students on its undergraduate medicine course, Nottingham only 25.

It’s important for international students to note that some UK medical schools such as Imperial, Cardiff, UCL, Glasgow and Southampton give preference to those from countries without their own medical schools.

For medical school entry it is often advisable for students to do an arts or social science subject as their fourth subject to show a degree of breadth. UCL actually state that candidates who do so are at an advantage. Obviously the most important A level subjects for potential medics are Chemistry, Biology and Maths, all subjects that Rochester Independent College has an established track record in. Options chosen in the A levels at RIC are often geared towards medical school entry, for example the Sociology of Health and Medical Physics.

Students are guided through every aspect of their UCAS application. We offer guidance for students who need to take additional entrance tests such as the UKCAT. RIC students also have an outstanding track record of securing places on medically related courses such as Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Audiology, Optometry and Radiography.

There are also some emerging private options for aspiring international doctors. The private University of Buckingham has launched a new medical school with fees for UK, EU and Overseas students set at £35,525 per year while London’s well established Queen Mary University are charging £25,500 per year for their new private medical training venture on the Maltese island of Gozo.

Art school entry for international students

At RIC students enjoy an art college atmosphere where they are welcomed at all times during the working week, not just during lesson times. There are spacious studios with individual working zones for fine art students and an open area for graphics, textiles, ceramics and photography students. All those who teach within the department are active, practicing artists, designers and photographers. The well- known artist, poet and musician Billy Childish is a visiting lecturer. Regular exhibitions of student work are organised at local galleries and arts venues. Our students frequently progress to top Art Schools, especially in London.

Students can specialise in the following areas: Fine Art, Graphic Design, Photography, Fashion & Textiles, Sculpture & Ceramics.

Visual Arts courses can be combined with different A levels including Art History, Theatre Studies, Film Studies, Media Studies and Music Technology. Students aiming for Architecture or Engineering at university can combine Visual Art courses with Maths and Physics.

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