Parents all speak highly of the pastoral care, and the growth in confidence they have witnessed in their children. One has three children at the school and she says: ‘They are all very different but they are spot on about all of their weaknesses and strengths.
Imagine being able to stay in touch properly with your child’s progress at school. Reports that aren’t overly complicated with codes and generated by software packages but that give clear and honest assessments of what progress has been made and what needs to be done to improve.
A smaller school size allows more opportunity for our teachers to work closely together and share information. Pupils can see the progress they are making, parents can see the difference great teaching is having.
The size of RIC allows us to provide an unparalleled level of feedback to parents and operate an open door policy with parents are encouraged to come in and speak to Form Tutors or the Head of School about any worries or concerns. Parents’ evening is an informal house party event although we do use an appointment system to ensure everyone is seen in a timely way. Children accompany parents and introduce them to their teachers.
Homework is set regularly although students are always given a week to complete tasks rather than there being a daily prep regime. In some subjects there is more of an emphasis on project work and research out of the classroom and all students are given at least one novel each half term outside of their regular English lessons to read and review. Students are issued with a homework diary each year and these are checked by tutors and parents on a weekly basis.
The aim of all work in the Lower School is to encourage students to spend time thinking about what they have been taught and to begin to develop self-motivated exploration of the subjects they will come to study more intensively later. Students do not sit back because they are ahead and finished their work, nor do they give up because they are too far behind. Our teachers ensure that students are always working at the edge of their competencies. Teachers regularly see students individually to help with particular academic problems. Students with mild learning difficulties such as dyslexia can easily be accommodated in small classes where everyone is encouraged and supported.
Parents especially appreciate the efforts made to ensure each pupil gains the best possible grade. One said:‘ There are a lot of extra lessons before exams, in the holidays and so on. They will do as much as they can if they think you can improve your grade.’ Another praised the fact that they don’t charge for extra tuition in the evenings and holidays, adding: ‘I was concerned about my son’s maths and suggested getting him some tuition. They said it was their responsibility, and I should not be looking for tutors. They did some extra work with him and he got an A, so I was ecstatic.
Target setting is done individually so that each student can aim for their personal best. We believe that the idea of testing understanding is that individual students gain confidence in their knowledge and find out what they need to do better. Of course we always look at test marks, but we will never automatically assume that the result, either good or bad, indicates that a student should or should not continue a particular subject. We are not academically selective at any level. However, the inevitable result of this approach over the years has been excellent results, high league table rankings and lots of high-flying ex students.
“We started our daughter here in year 7, Sept 2016. She absolutely loves it. Since starting here, she has for the first time been really enthusiastic about school, and is excelling at some subjects she had no interest in before. I think this is down to the standard of the teaching. The enthusiasm the staff generate is brilliant. The care and consideration shown to the year 7s has been amazing, and I never worry about her being at school - I know she's safe with people who look out for her. This ethos carries down to the students - the older ones are very sweet to the younger ones. The class sizes in Lower School are tiny, which has been the gentle start to secondary school that my daughter needed. We are so pleased our daughter is here. This is a place where they can be themselves.