One Year GCSE Retakes

One Year GCSE retakes at Rochester Independent College, one of the UK’s top specialist boarding schools.

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Many transfer from other schools after disappointing experiences and achieve success, with greatly enhanced self-esteem.

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Do you need to retake your GCSE courses, either to improve grades for university entry or to move on to A level study? If so, RIC can help.

The improvement in grades is significant year on year.

GCSE grades matter. Entry to college courses, selective school sixth forms and access to some A levels depend upon them. Universities use GCSE results, which are declared on the UCAS form, to judge academic performance and potential. Some courses such as Law and Medicine specify the number of top grades applicants must offer. RIC can help you get back on track after a disappointing Year 11. If your GCSE grades don’t cut it contact RIC and we will help you plan a way forward that works.

Since GCSE were reformed they've got tougher and it's not unusual for students to need to retake. Perhaps the most impressive improver of the year was Paul who joined RIC from a local grammar school last September with disappointing GCSE grades. After a one year GCSE course Paul improved his Sciences from 444 to 866, his English from a 3 to a 5 and most stunningly his Maths 6 to a 9. Paul now how the foundation in place to start his A levels.

Top GCSE subject for grade improvements this year is English where the upgrades were dramatic. Justin who joined the College to retake his GCSEs from Hong Kong went from an E to a 6, Oliver and Malika who both boarded at the College went from 3s (D equivalent) to 8s (A* equivalent).

All students who came to the College to retake GCSE English secured a pass grade. One said writing to her English teacher: “I am over the moon after retrying 5 times in 3 different places.” The success of students like this demonstrate that one bad year is not the end of the world and that retakes can result in improved grades, restored confidence and a wider range of options for the future. Small classes (average 8), heaps of exam practice and lots of individualised support are all part of the RIC retake formula.

GCSE retake course students benefit from a more adult, sixth form environment, small group teaching and a structured revision and exam preparation programme. While most students on GCSE retake courses have failed to pass at Grade C level first time around RIC is also able to offer GCSE resit courses to students who have Bs and Cs at GCSE but who need to improve these to As and A*s for competitive university courses or highly selective school sixth forms.

Students needing to retake most of their GCSEs join a 1 year intensive course where subject content is re taught and coursework and practical work redone. While resitting core GCSEs it is possible to start new GCSE subjects which are taught on one year courses. Some GCSE resit students join RIC intending to apply to other independent schools for sixth form following an intensive GCSE resit programme. Others proceed to our own sixth form.

A flexible timetable means that RIC can offer the possibility of starting A level courses while improving GCSE grades. English and Maths GCSEs can often be reset in November or January. It is quite usual for example for students to start A levels in sixth form, say in arts, humanities or social science subjects while still retaking GCSE Maths. At RIC you're an individual not a GCSE points score. We don't have set grades you have to achieve at GCSE to be permitted to start particular subjects at A level or a set number of GCSE passes that have to be achieved to move onto Level 3 study.

Repeat Year 11 to improve GCSE grades

Average class size 8

Start A levels while retaking GCSEs

Weekly and full boarding

Exam practice and weekly testing

Individual tutorial support

All boards offered by teacher examiner experts

Take a fresh look at your GCSE options

Every year students join us with few or no grade C passes and finish the year with 6 or 7 good grades and are able to start A levels. It shows what can be done when students have the determination to improve their grades. We also specialise in supporting students who have low GCSE grades who need to retake to secure A*s and As for top universities.

We offer both GCSE and IGCSE resit courses to students from both UK and international schools.

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Adelfio, joined RIC to retake GCSEs from Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet in 2016

I have found everyone at RIC to be really friendly. It’s been fun and really easy to learn here – I’ve actually enjoyed coming to school. There is a positive connection between all the staff and students, teachers are approachable and really supportive.

Adelfio, joined RIC to retake GCSEs from Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet in 2016
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Tamia, joined RIC from Welling School to retake GCSEs in 2016

I came to collect my results this morning wearing comfortable clothes to console myself in case I was disappointed with my results – I wish I’d worn nice clothes now! I’m overjoyed with my results, I can’t believe it! At first I was quite down at the prospect of resitting my GCSEs but it was definitely the best decision. I’m really looking forward to studying A levels at RIC and I feel so much more confident now.

Tamia, joined RIC from Welling School to retake GCSEs in 2016
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GCSE Resits and a Place at UCL Medical School

Charlie joined RIC from Hertfordshire on a two year A level course as a boarder and secured a place at UCL Medical School. His achievement is even more impressive as alongside his A levels he also resat his GCSEs to secure the entry level grades required.

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Zain Olivia

Zain has achieved 7 GCSEs including English and Maths all at 4 and above. This is a remarkable re-launch after enrolling last year with a clutch of D-grade GCSEs. Zain is proof that hard work and motivation can change your future. Small class sizes and rigorous academic standards are part of the ethos of the college, particularly on the one year GCSE retake programme and this gave Zain the focus to get his grades. Zain joined from Bennett Memorial in Tunbridge Wells.

Fellow student Olivia has also turned around her academic profile by achieving 5 GCSEs including Grade 6 in Film Studies and 6 in Photography after leaving Fort Pitt Grammar School with just two GCSEs passes at 6. Olivia has now added another five GCSEs including Science and Maths. Olivia worked hard to improve her grades and took advantage of the alternative setting of RIC, and the opportunity provided by the non-selective admission policy. It gave her the chance to prove herself and succeed.

Leighton Bright who oversees GCSE resit programmes at the College says: “Many people assume that students only have one have one chance to complete their GCSEs. Here at RIC we truly believe that everyone deserves another chance. There can be many different reasons why a student does not achieve well in their GCSEs first time round but this doesn’t mean that they should have to carry this forward with them. We are used to supporting students with a variety of experiences, helping them to start their GCSEs afresh. Of course the most important subjects to retake are English, Maths and Science. However we offer a wide range of subjects and with the expert support and guidance of our subject tutors we are able to help students get the grades they need for their next academic step. Students often combine retakes with extra one year GCSEs.”

Resit GCSE alongside starting A levels at Rochester Independent Sixth Form College in Kent

Where students just need to retake a few missing key GCSEs it is often possible to combine doing this with starting A level study and still completing sixth form studies within a two year period.

Focussed GCSE resit courses in Maths and English run from September to November and January. Science GCSE can be retaken over the course of a year alongside AS study. It is quite usual for RIC students to start a two year A level programme while they resit GCSEs as they go along. This avoids the need for a demoralising full GCSE resit year. GCSE resit classes are timetabled around sixth form classes. Students study with those in a similar position, they do not have to go back and attend year 11 classes. Suitability for this programme depends on GCSE results and the choice of A level subjects. GCSE results though are not always the best predictor of A level success and RIC has a more flexible approach than many independent schools to sixth form entry.

Short part time GCSE retake courses

RIC offers GCSE resit courses in Maths, English and Science to students from other schools who may need these core GCSEs for entry to university courses or professions such as teaching.

Students needing to retake these key GCSEs can attend the College part time alongside other commitments. Depending on exam board and subject GCSE retakes are available in November, January and May/June. There are no age restrictions on these GCSE retake courses and it is not unusual for mature students and graduates to come to RIC to retake GCSEs alongside more recent school leavers.

Particular congratulations in go to Mohammed who joined RIC in January to retake his Grade E English Language GCSE and now has his Grade C pass. Mohammed says:


Rochester Independent College helped me to achieve Grade C in a few months, which is really unthinkable. The teaching staff are really helpful and the class was really small. As I have achieved a Grade C in English Language now I can apply for my dream job in the RAF. I can’t find the words to describe my feelings, as I am overwhelmed.


Rochester student Freddie is celebrating a dramatic turnaround in academic fortunes and an offer from one of the country’s most competitive universities.

Two years ago Freddie joined RIC from a local FE College with an uncompleted BTEC and without key GCSE passes in Maths and English. After two years of A levels and GCSE retakes at RIC he now has his missing GCSEs went on to secure three top A level grades and a place at Edinburgh University.

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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. We are more than delighted with Freddie’s AS and GCSE results.  This has been an excellent year for him. I know Freddie is particularly pleased to now be able to draw a line under the English and Maths GCSEs after his retakes! 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.


Get back on track and resit GCSE exams at a top UK boarding school

Rochester Independent College is a boarding school that was established in 1984. Students who resit their GCSEs join others in our boarding houses who are doing so from all over the UK and all over the world.

GCSE retakes 2021 - latest news

With GCSE results in 2021 being based on predicted/teacher assessed grades we are expecting a great deal of interest in both our one year resit courses and in our short GCSE resit courses over half term to prepare for the autumn sitting of GCSEs. Please contact us to discuss options.

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