One Year GCSE
One Year GCSE Retakes
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One Year fast-track GCSE, Day or Boarding Guide

GCSE grades matter. They are looked at by universities when assessing applications. With A levels reformed and many students not taking AS exams it’s likely that GCSEs will be even more crucial as they will be the only grades already achieved when applicants submit their UCAS forms. RIC GCSE students experience a fresh alternative to traditional schools with no uniform and an informal environment.

Can I do GCSEs on one year?

It's hard work but absolutely yes! Half of RIC's GCSE students each year are on 1 year courses.

GCSEs or IGCSEs are usually taken over two years but the specialist one year GCSE route allows students to take IGCSEs in one year only. In only one year you'll get the qualifications you need to move on to sixth form.

The programme is highly structured with lots of individualised support and close monitoring of progress. Homework is set frequently and students improve their exam technique through regular practice and feedback. This 1 year GCSE course is appropriate for UK students who wish to catch up on work missed in year 10 and focus on achieving top grades. We also welcome international students moving into the UK system or those who are retaking their GCSEs after disappointing results first time round.

How Can I Switch Schools for Year 11, the final year of my GCSEs?

Moving to RIC for a one-year intensive GCSE course either as a day or boarding student will ensure you get the help and support you need for the best possible grades. Class sizes are small- an average of 8- and are supplemented by one-to-one support and a highly structured programme of testing and exam practice.

As all subjects on this programme are taught intensively over three terms moving from another school mid GCSEs, directly into our Year 11 can be done with ease. Single year GCSE students can specialise in their strongest academic areas. Some students take the triple Sciences, Biology, Chemistry and Physics to prepare for A level in these areas. Others opt to take two or three subjects from our extensive range of Creative and Visual Arts GCSEs, including Photography, Film Studies, Graphic Design, Music and Drama.

Click here for the full range of GCSEs available for single year courses at RIC.

Students joining the College at this stage in their education do so to enhance their GCSE grade prospects. Our teachers can offer all exam boards so moving schools can be done with ease. RIC sometimes opts for IGCSEs, the international qualifications not offered in state schools. They are equally valued by universities and employers and in some subjects a better preparation for A levels.

One year programmes are also suitable for those forced to move school due to illness, family circumstances such as relocation and those needing to perform GCSE resits after disappointing results first time round. For previously home-educated students these courses work well as a preparation for GCSE exams after time out of education.

Our flexibility of approach means we are often able to help in uniquely difficult or exceptional educational circumstances. We have been offering intensive fast track GCSE courses for over 30 years and have a proven record of academic success.

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One Year GCSE courses fast facts

For international students the one year course can be an excellent introduction to studying in the UK and a good preparation for A levels or IB. Students have joined our 1 year GCSE classes directly from international schools, including those where they had been following IGCSEs or the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. In only one year you will achieve the GCSEs you need to proceed to A level or IB study.

Unlike many GCSE courses for international students our programme is completely integrated with the main College for both academics and boarding. Students experience life in a British boarding college not an international study centre. Applicants for this programme must have a good level of English and a strong academic background. Otherwise our two-year GCSE programme or one year pre A level programme may be more appropriate.

All of our boarding is on campus in single rooms, offering a safe environment and a structured introduction to life as a student in the UK for those moving abroad for the first time.

Current GCSE student Peyibomi who joined the College part way through Year 11 from BIS in Nigeria says ‘The College has given me the freedom to be myself and feel just as important as every other student, even if I’m not the smartest or loudest person in the room.’ She also mentions that ‘teachers actually care about you and help you to do the best you can.’

Hassan, joined RIC for a one year GCSE course gaining 10 As/A*s at GCSE. He's now at UCL studying Medicine

I remember my grandfather telling me, “Hassan, intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. Remember this and you will do well.” I have hung onto his piece of advice. Moving back to the U.K, leaving my father, family and school friends 6,222 kilometers away in Khobar, Saudi Arabia has been the biggest and most exciting change in my life so far. We had to find somewhere with a significantly low-crime rate, as we were coming from a sheltered compound (a walled, safe-zone of residential villas and leisure-centres where expatriates live in relative freedom from Saudi laws) so we found Rochester Independent College (RIC), an outstanding private school close by that would allow me to take my GCSE’s in a year. RIC was a lot like the British International School where I studied before. The diversity of culture and ethnicities at RIC from Thai to Congolese to Indian to Chinese to Russian eased me into school-life smoothly, and I didn’t feel like an outsider, I fit in. Here at RIC, I have attended science-fairs, musicals, plays, art and fashion exhibitions, taken part in national writing competitions, played on the RIC football team. The classes are small, with a maximum of 8 – 10 students, which allows teachers to be very in tune with students. The teachers track your progress very closely, quickly pick up on your weaknesses, spot your strengths and inspire you to build on them. Teacher feedback was really beneficial for me because I had to complete a total of 10 GCSE’s in just a year.  My grandparents recently visited us here after two years, and we carried on our last conversation like it had only been yesterday. My grandfather shook my hand, hugged me and smiled, “I am proud of you, Hassan… You remembered.

Hassan, joined RIC for a one year GCSE course gaining 10 As/A*s at GCSE. He's now at UCL studying Medicine
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One Year GCSE: A Passport to A levels

Every student who has taken a single year GCSE course in recent years at RIC has proceeded to A levels, either in RIC’s own sixth form, other highly selective independent schools or at local grammar schools. As RIC is part of The Dukes Education Group it is also possible to use our GCSE course as preparation for entry to our sister school for A levels, Cardiff Sixth Form College. A separate application will be needed for entry to sixth form at CSFC but Rochester students will be guided carefully through the process.

Boarding for GCSE students that is a stepping stone between school and sixth form

Year 11 students on the single year GCSE courses are welcomed into boarding if they are 15 or older. There is a more informal atmosphere than is possible in a traditional boarding school but still lots of guidance and support from resident tutors. The emphasis is on providing a home from home in a comfortable, happy and fun environment. Students following fast-track GCSE courses are, where possible, grouped together in the boarding. There is extra support in boarding for students whether it is to stretch the most able or help those who need more guidance and support.

Aiming Higher on a One Year GCSE Course at a UK Boarding School

All subjects are comprehensively retaught and we do not depend on coursework completed or syllabus material covered at other schools in Year 10. The speed of delivery is intense and more focused on the demands of the exams than is common in many schools.

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Testing means you can’t get delusions, you really know where you are at any point,’ said one pupil. Another, who was told by her grammar school that she needed to ‘lower her sights’ said: ‘The teaching style is completely different, we are tested all the time and my grades have gone up consistently.

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Former Student

I never thought I could stay on at school for GCSEs, let alone 3 A levels. The extra help you receive at the College makes it very achievable. I love it here and am treated on equal terms. I never could get on with the petty rules of school and the big classes. I came to RIC for a one year GCSE retake course having failed them all. I left for university with 6 passes and three A levels.

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Fast Track GCSE Success

Ayodeji attended RIC after his family moved back to the UK after living in Toronto, Canada. During his time at RIC he studied such subjects as Graphic Design, Photography and Media Studies alongside the core academic ones and he achieved 8 GCSE’s at grades A*-B. Having travelled from the Greater London area each day Ayodeji enrolled at one of the grammar schools in his local area.

Harry came to RIC from St Edmunds, Canterbury at the beginning of Year 11. He achieved 9 GCSE’s A*-C in a variety of subjects on intensive one year courses including History, Film Studies and Drama. During his time at RIC Harry was one of our boarding students where he was able to benefit from the study sessions run by our specialist teaching staff.

Top performer on the fast-track year GCSE programme was Lorna who joined in Year 11 from King’s Rochester, achieved 2 A*s and 5 As, and opted to start sixth form at RIC.

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Profiles of One Year GCSE students

Sam: “I grew up in East London before moving to Kent a few years ago. RIC has been a lifesaver. I refused to do GCSEs at Westlands in Sittingbourne, my old school. When my Dad and I looked around the college we thought ‘no way will I get in.’ We wondered if it was even worth going. I was so pleased when I was invited for a taster day – I couldn’t believe it. I came for 8 months of year 11 and GCSEs and achieved AA in English and English Literature and 7 more passes. RIC has completely turned me around. I found that I wanted to come to school. It’s so relaxed but it brought me out of myself. I actually couldn’t wait for parents’ evening! I never thought I was the sort of person to go on theatre trips but now I really enjoy them and go whenever I can. My Dad is so pleased. After this I threw myself into A levels, I’m hoping to study History at University. The highlight of my year was going on the History trip to Lenin’s house and sitting at his desk. I was the only one brave enough to ask!”

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Joe Tracini, while studying at Rochester appeared on the Des and Mel show, was young magician of the year and hosted our talent night. He says of the College: “You feel very relaxed here. There’s always a teacher on hand and everyone gets on well.” Joe’s A grade in Drama gave him a head start at the Italia Conti Drama School in London where he secured a place after a one year GCSE course. Joe is now best known for starring as Dennis Savage in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks and as a mental health advocate.

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