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I moved to RIC for year 13 as I thought that I wanted to study Veterinary Medicine at University, however, I wasn’t studying A Level Biology, a required subject for most Vet Med courses. RIC enabled me to complete A Levels in Maths and Chemistry alongside A Level Biology in one year. Throughout my time at RIC, I was encouraged to think critically about my proposed career path. My tutors really inspired me during the course of the year, I gained an appreciation for my subjects as academic disciplines, and realised that it was Biochemistry that I wanted to go on to study at University. After achieving A*AA in my A Levels, I applied to Oxford. I received lots of advice and encouragement throughout the application process, which was immensely helpful, and the tutorial style teaching at RIC prepared me for my interviews, as every day in class, tutors encouraged us to discuss problems and explain our ideas. I have just finished my first year reading Biochemistry at Oxford and I have enjoyed it immensely, my time at RIC definitely prepared me for University. The tutorial system taught me to voice my thought processes and ask questions, which are essential for getting the most out of Oxbridge tutorials, and tutors helped me find the best ways to study, which has helped me learn the large amount of material for my first year exams. I think that Oxford can be a daunting place, but RIC gave me the confidence I needed to succeed here, both academically and socially. My year at RIC changed the course of my life, and I am immensely grateful for the opportunities I have gained. Georgia Crean 2020

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Good Schools Guide

Many students transfer here after poor progress at AS or A level and the effect can be dramatic. One pupil told us he was predicted to get Ds and Es; he moved from his grammar to the college in February, and in July he achieved three As at AS and an A at A level. Another student moved after getting a U at AS and she says, ‘In my first two weeks here I learned more than I had in the whole previous year.'

Good Schools Guide

Thinking of moving schools for Year 13?

Unable to continue your chosen subjects at your current school?

Don't want to go back to Year 12 and start sixth form again?

Completed your first year of A levels but want to spend your final year of sixth form boarding?

Missed lots of school in Year 12 so need to catch up in Year 13?

Want to apply for Medicine, Dentistry or Vet Science and worried about achieving the required three top grades?

Want to change direction in Year 13 and change some of your subjects?

Started the IB Diploma in Year 12 but think you'd be better suited for A levels?

Need to study Further Maths or Cambridge STEP papers in Year 13?

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RIC can help with our tried and tested switch for Year 13 programme

Every September up to 60 students join RIC directly into Year 13 for their final year of sixth form as either day or boarding students. RIC is able to offer teaching on all exam boards for most subjects so switching schools can be done with ease. Students also move directly into RIC’s sixth form after the first year of the IB Diploma programme or in cases of family relocation. Less formal than a traditional independent school but more structured than a further education college RIC has a real academic focus. We prepare our students for success: their hard work and first-class results mean they go on to win places at a wide range of top UK universities.

Transferring to RIC means that you will be able to take a fresh look at your subjects and maybe switch one or two, taking our successful one-year A level courses. The aim of moving half way through an A level course is of course to aim for higher grades and a wider choice of university at the end of year 13.

Our tutors and UCAS advisors are often able to quickly make credible grade predictions based on assessment of potential over the year here rather than prior achievement elsewhere.

If you need to stick with your original subjects you’ll revise everything from your first year carefully alongside the second year material. You’ll catch up, consolidate and be back on track to realize your potential and achieve your academic ambitions.

International students looking for direct entry into Year 13 will find themselves studying alongside students from all over the world.

In 2020 students who transferred directly into Year 13 after completing their first year of A levels elsewhere have won places including Politics @UCL, English @Bristol, Modern Languages @Sheffield, Fashion @Brighton and Physics @Manchester.

In 2019 students who transferred directly into RIC's Year 13 are celebrated university places that included Biochemistry at Oxford, Biomedical Sciences at Edinburgh, Computer Science at Aston, Accounting and Finance at Birmingham.

Those from further afield including London are able to take up places in the College’s boarding accommodation. Harry from Hackney completed his Lower Sixth at Forest School and moved to Kent for his Year 13. He says: “During the week I was able to focus completely on my studies and improving my grades and even picked up two new subjects- Media and English. As the train back to Stratford takes only half an hour I never felt too far away.”

Students often look at moving from state or traditional private schools to independent sixth form colleges, attracted by smaller class sizes, university admissions expertise and a wider range of subjects with fewer option block restrictions. Sometimes however there are other, less obvious advantages.

Conor who joined RIC after GCSEs at a local grammar and is now at Newcastle University’s Medical School says:

“Passionate and engaging tutors encouraged me to take a mature approach to learning making A levels enjoyable, but also equipping me with the skills needed to tackle the challenges I have faced at university. RIC’s use of regular exam practice and reflection mirrors medical school.”

Conor’s mum, Julie adds: “The most interesting thing about Conor’s move was that he went for the results but the College was actually less on an exam factory than many schools are. RIC is about the development of students as a person, a much more significant thing.”

Transferring mid A levels is also an option, particularly if disappointing results have knocked confidence or students want to change direction and not lose a year.

For aspiring actress Lizzy, who converted disappointing AS grades into top A levels, it is a move she will never regret: “It really was the best decision I have ever made. Over this year, I have grown as a person, I’ve discovered that I don’t just fit into one box. RIC helped me regain my confidence in drama and essay writing too and has shown me other interests to be passionate about."

What is learning like for direct entry to Year 13 students at Rochester Independent College?

  • Teaching is similar to a seminar or tutorial at university. Rather than individual desks, students gather around a table while tutors encourage them to discuss different aspects of a topic critically.
  • Classes are an average of just eight in size, and students have at least eight hours of contact time per subject per week.
  • Students can choose from 40+ subject choices, with no restrictions on subject combinations.
  • All students in Sixth Form have a Personal Tutor who they meet with regularly to discuss progress, targets, and future aspirations. Students also receive one-to-one tutorials and study support sessions, where they can address any areas for improvement. Formal reports are regularly sent to parents, and Personal Tutors can be contacted via phone or email with any questions or concerns.
  • Year 13 entry means an intensive year- no bank holidays, no study leave and often teaching over half terms and Easter.
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Will I still be able to aim at a top university if I move schools for a one year A level course or for my Year 13?

Absolutely. That's the point of the making the move. Winning a place at a top university is challenging, but our programme of tailored support gives students the best chance of success.

Rochester’s Year 13 transfer students have often been told by previous schools to lower sights, repeat Year 12 or sometimes drop favourite subjects. Having a change of scene can reinvigorate the mind and allows students to turn a new leaf, settling down to really focus on their academic studies. With the support given by members of staff, students find new interest in subjects and set to their studies with renewed vigor that shows in the College’s continued success in students gaining places at top universities.

This year, students who completed Year 12 elsewhere or have come directly to RIC on one year A level courses, have university offers including:

Nottingham- Economics, Warwick- Mathematics, St Andrews- History, Edinburgh- Chemical Engineering, Manchester- Biotechnology, Trinity College, Cambridge, Natural Sciences, Exeter- PPE, Leeds- International Business and Marketing, Warwick- Film Studies, KCL- Medicine LSE- Law Sheffield- Aerospace Engineering, Liverpool- Medicine, UCL- Architecture, UCL- History of Art, UCL- Environmental Geosciences UCL- Science and Society, Birmingham- International Relations, Bath- Business Administration.

Students may also receive guidance and support from industry-leading experts at our sister companies at Dukes Education specialising in Oxbridge, Ivy League & US, medical and law applications.

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Good Schools Guide

Pupils have come from grammars where they felt under too much pressure, or from large schools where they felt overwhelmed, and all say they are learning better and enjoying school much more here.

Good Schools Guide
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Switch schools for Year 13 at RIC for a fresh start in a new environment. Interviewing now for direct entry to the second year of A levels in September 2022.

You can move schools successfully half way through an A level course and make it work as students who switch schools or colleges to RIC prove each year.

A more individualised approach means that disappointing results in Year 12 can be dealt with without university plans being wrecked. A change of environment at this stage of a two year A level course is a highly successful way of ensuring good results without the need for a retake year. You might have chosen the wrong subjects first time around or simply want to be taught in smaller classes with more exam practice and individual support. You might be looking for an environment that is different to a traditional school and will prepare you effectively for university.

Situated in the beautiful and historic city of Rochester, our enclosed campus provides a safe and welcoming home for all students.

Rochester is situated 37 minutes southeast of London by train in the county of Kent. With its charming cobbled high street, castle, cathedral, and a range of vintage shops, bookstores, and cafes, the city is an idyllic place to study. It also enjoys excellent transport connections, with regular trains reaching London in under 40 minutes. For Paris and Brussels, the Eurostar can be boarded at Ebbsfleet International just 10 minutes away.

The college itself is based in our enclosed campus of historic Georgian buildings. Our award-winning gardens, student allotment, underground theatre space, outdoor classroom, musical gates and mathematics garden house all add to the college’s unique and homelike atmosphere.

Up to 120 of the 360 students at the college board each year. As a boarding pupil, students will be part of a close, supportive community. Students all live on-site in single rooms (with some en suites available) and breakfast, lunch and dinner are freshly prepared on the premises. Boarding houses also have comfortable common rooms where film nights and other social activities take place every week. Tutors who live in college are always on site. The College grounds are the site of regular garden parties and al fresco teaching.

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Lizzie, Achieved A*AAB and is now at Exeter studying Law

I had attended one of the leading Grammar schools in Kent, and did relatively well. I had always enjoyed learning and school but often felt restricted and uninspired. Asking questions about work seemed to be a bit of an inconvenience. I felt pressured, not supported and encouraged. When I got my AS results I was in complete shock and confusion. I had a dream of attending Exeter to study law, but with grades EEC that dream seemed over. But then RIC told me I wasn’t a failure. I knew that this was the school that I wanted to attend, because it wasn’t just a place to learn, but somewhere that truly believed in me, encouraged me to persevere and be resilient. I will never forget the moments of reassurance and dedication that my teachers have offered me. For me, Law at Exeter is now reality and not a pipe dream.

Lizzie, Achieved A*AAB and is now at Exeter studying Law
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Becky, Joined RIC after Year 12 at Invicta, grades achieved in Year 13 at RIC: AAAB

I had always been an A grade student, but after GCSEs I was due to leave Invicta Grammar School with CCCD. I was disillusioned, deeply unhappy, not working, not motivated and completely disengaged with school and work. Looking around RIC and being told there were only 3 rules, show up, work hard, and be nice, is a moment that will stay with me forever after so many constricting rules previously. Grammar school made you feel that unless you had achieved an A or A* you weren't good enough. RIC was the best year, I'm eternally grateful to my parents for finding it and sending me there.

Becky, Joined RIC after Year 12 at Invicta, grades achieved in Year 13 at RIC: AAAB
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Patrick Cooper

I would just like to thank you so much for everything last year, helping me completely change my situation! I remember being told by one of my old teachers after receiving my AS-levels to just ‘apply to do BTECS or get a job’ because maybe university ‘wasn’t for me’. I was in a hopeless situation (I thought!) and genuinely believed I had insufficient skills to pass my A-levels. But just out of pure luck I found Rochester Independent College on the internet and my mum encouraged me to give A-levels another shot. I am so grateful for everything and want to thank everyone at Rochester for helping me jump back onto the path I was told I shouldn’t take.

Patrick Cooper
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Chris & Angela

Just a brief note to say that we are pleased with Tom’s results and delighted that he has been accepted at Manchester. Clearly the hard work put in by Tom, and the exemplary support given by the academic staff, has paid off and vindicates the decision to change schools for year 13.  We would have no hesitation in recommending RIC to others in a similar position. Please pass on our grateful thanks to all of Tom’s teachers and to the boarding staff whose support was equally important – not least for putting up with all that muddy rugby kit! The experience of being away from home has also been a maturing one for Tom after living in Muscat and a great stepping-stone to university life.

Chris & Angela
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Nadine, joined after Year 12 from Mayfield Grammar. AS Grades BDD. A2 Grades at RIC: A*A*A*

I’ve got the Muncey perfection streak and was determined to improve on my AS results. I have though really exceeded my expectation and can’t believe my results. I really like the relationship between teachers and students here. In class there was lots of banter as we sat around tables in small groups.

Nadine, joined after Year 12 from Mayfield Grammar. AS Grades BDD. A2 Grades at RIC: A*A*A*
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Sue, Mother of Emily, from Walthamstow Hall, Sevenoaks

We are so happy that Emily’s difficult decision to change school last year, and all her hard work this year has paid off. Her grades last year of BCC (and E in physics!) were raised by 4 grades. There is no question that if she had remained at her old school, she would not have been in a position to take up a place at Exeter University. We are all absolutely delighted and relieved that she has achieved so brilliantly at RIC this year. I have had a couple of conversations with friends whose children are in a similar situation to Emily last year. I’m having no difficulty at all in recommending RIC!

Sue, Mother of Emily, from Walthamstow Hall, Sevenoaks


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Jack, joined after Year 12 at Greenacre School. AS Grades CCDU. A2 Grades at RIC: AAB. Destination: Business Management, Surrey University

Thomas, joined after Year 12 at Greenacre School. AS Grades CCUU. A2 Grades at RIC: ABBC. Destination: Finance, University of East Anglia

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Ben Sharma

Ben left St Olave’s Grammar School in Orpington after his AS results. Ben says: “Moving schools for Year 13 allowed me to retake modules where I needed to and focus on achieving the grades for my first choice university- Architecture at Nottingham.” While studying hard, Ben also found time during the year to run the London marathon and exhibit his photography at a local Pizza Express.

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Jack Weston

Jack: “I decided to change school after year 12. I was at Gravesend Grammar School for Boys and was disappointed with my AS results. My results were not what I wanted or needed for university. I’d been at my previous school for 6 years and consequently there were lots of distractions. I came to RIC to take Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Government and Politics, it’s a much more academically focussed college. In fact it was my parents who came in looked around as I was working, it wasn’t until my first day that I saw the college for myself! It has been a really good year, I’ve worked really hard and the support from the teachers has been excellent. My personal tutor gave me lots of help and advice with my university application and I now have 5 out of 5 offers for university. Warwick is my first choice and I know that I’ve done all I could have this year to get the grades.” After CCC at AS Jack improved to A*AB at A2 and won his place. His parents comment: “We are absolutely delighted – as is he!” It is particularly special for us because we met at Warwick University – and got there with lower grades than Jack!”

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Alex Alford

Alex: “I was so happy with my GCSE results but then my AS year did not go as well as planned at Bennett Memorial. I got BDD in Maths, Chemistry and Physics. I was lucky, my parents gave me the opportunity to come here for year 13 and retake some of my AS modules. Environment change has been the key. I think I was just too buddy with my friends at Bennett which affected my work. At RIC I am here to work hard and get the grades I need for Engineering. The travelling is strenuous but it is great having the college minibus service from Sevenoaks. I feel so much more confident now and am much better prepared for the exams. We do loads of past papers and the teachers give us fantastic insights into how to answer questions to achieve our potential. There is a real enjoyment of learning, the teachers are passionate about their subjects and we don’t just work from text books. Maths lessons are quirky in the shed in the garden! I’m hoping to study Chemical Engineering next year.” Alex secured AAB and leaves for Bath University in September.

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Martin, Former Parent

Thank you to you and your staff for helping to get Josh to university. I am sure that had he remained at Wellington College for Upper VI he would not have achieved sufficient to get him a reasonable university place.

Martin, Former Parent

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