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Key Stage 3 Curriculum (Years 7-9)

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RIC’s Lower School offers a compelling combination of an informal atmosphere with a traditional academic curriculum. We balance support and challenge to ensure that all students make good progress

The curriculum is founded upon the fundamental importance of the core subjects: English, Maths and Science. We recognise that a solid grounding in the core subjects is essential. 

Our informal atmosphere enables our students to relax and feel comfortable, an absolutely vital ingredient for successful and immersive learning. 

Anyone touring the College will see all of the lessons they would expect to find in any school, but with some interesting and engaging alternatives, all delivered by passionate and committed teaching staff in quiet and calm classrooms.Beyond the core, there is also a particular emphasis on creative and arts subjects including, drama, music, digital media, photography, film, art and design.

Spanish and French are the main languages offered at Key Stage 3 and students also study History, Geography and PHSE. 

Across the curriculum and central to the ethos is a focus on environmental issues in both local and international contexts. We expect all of our students to develop an interest in the world around them, to read books and newspapers daily and become responsible and creative users of technology and the internet.


English teaching in KS3 at Rochester Independent College seeks to develop students' knowledge, skills and enthusiasm for reading, writing, speaking and listening. 

Students are encouraged to read widely and texts spanning varied time periods and genres are taught including canonical poetry, prose, drama and a range of non-fiction texts. 


In Maths we value traditional numeracy but teachers also try to introduce abstraction at an early age. We expect all students to know their times tables and to be able to survive without calculators. Students benefit from individualised learning plans and an emphasis on making the subject less intimidating but at the same time stretching the most able to complete GCSEs in Maths early and proceed to A level study.

Creative and performing arts

RIC’s provision in the visual arts is rich and students are taught Fine Art, Textiles, Photography and Graphic Design. 

Digital Media includes short courses in Photoshop, Illustrator and Video Editing. 

Film and Media are on everyone’s timetable from year 7 onwards, as are Drama and Music. A full range of instrumental lessons are offered from visiting teachers. 


Lower School students benefit from being taught by the College’s team of highly experienced subject specialists. There’s an emphasis on practical work and hands on experience of experiments and research. 

We encourage students seeking to progress to Science A levels to take Biology, Chemistry and Physics as separate subjects at IGCSE while students just looking for a basic grounding at this level can opt for a single IGCSE in the Sciences. 

Lower School Science Video 


RIC goes west

The Lower School residential to Cornwall involved  surfing, pizza, throwing and handbuilding at Leach Pottery, visits to the Eden Project and the Minack Theatre, a bit more pizza, a little bit of Kylie and massive amounts of friendship making. And, as Leighton Bright puts it: “I genuinely believe that all of our students will remember this weekend for the rest of their lives. Established friendships and bonds have grown stronger; new ones have developed that will only grow over the next few years.”

Lower school arts week

Lower School students take often take part in our Arts Week. 

We kicked off one recently with a trip to the Design Museum. Workshops helped students to gain new perspectives on the role of designers and the impact of design in everyday life. 

Back at College, students spent a day working to produce work in response to what they saw in London using practical skills and techniques in Fine Art, Graphic Design, Photography, Textiles and Three-Dimensional Design, designing and making simple lights using all manner of materials. 

The week culminated in a residential trip to Paris. As well as the obligatory trips to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre we visited the Centre Pompidou and the Musée d’Art Moderne.

Dukes Young Leaders Award

Preparing students for the future also means equipping them with a sense of service so they can lead meaningful, fulfilling lives. Dukes Education has created its own leadership award for children of all ages so they can develop the skills and qualities they will need to successfully navigate their way in an age of rapidly changing technology and increasing uncertainty.

The award focuses on student achievement in three key areas- Service, Entrepreneurship and Adventure. 

At RIC, the Dukes Young Leaders Award will draw together and recognise student achievement in the various leadership initiatives already taking place in years 7-9- the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, digital young leaders, sports leadership awards and the sustainability curriculum.

Mini gap year opportunity in Switzerland

Thinking globally in year 9

This programme invites RIC year 9 students to spend a term at Copperfield International School, a Dukes school nestled in the Swiss Alps. 

Here, the UK/pre-IB curriculum is complemented by the extraordinary setting of Verbier, ensuring a smooth transition back to RIC without academic interruption. The split will be roughly 70% academics and 30% experiences (workshops, outdoor activities etc).

Why a mini gap year? 

It's different. You do something that you cannot do if you stay at home.

It's challenging. You learn a skill or have an experience that stretches you and you can take with you on your journey.

It's memorable. You meet people and make memories that will stay with you for decades.

Alpine adventuring and learning

Copperfield accommodates the Year 9 Key Stage 3 curriculum with a focus on small class sizes (max 16 in a class) for tailored learning experiences. Pupils reside at the Chalet Flore 4* boarding house, engage in campus activities, and partake in weekend excursions to explore the Alps.

The why of this

Language development – French, Spanish and German available at Copperfield.

Extraordinary memories with
new friends.

Trying lots of new things and developing new
skills to take home and develop into future
career or hobbies (mountaineering, skiing, etc).

Exceptional experience to tell in
personal story for CV.