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Venturing beyond

Astronomy 8971

RIC's super curricular pathways

Supercurricular opportunities at Rochester Independent College help you along the road to university admissions success and are designed to take you beyond the regular exam syllabuses. 

They offer students the chance to explore their interests and demonstrate their commitment to learning, all while giving them that extra edge that makes all the difference in the competitive world of higher education. 

Top universities want to see applicants engaging in supercurricular activities rather than foregrounding extra-curricular achievements. Cambridge for example say: “As our admissions decisions are based on academic criteria, we expect to see evidence of students’ super-curricular activities and wider engagement with their area(s) of academic interest, such as reading and other exploration relevant to the course applied for.” University College Oxford adds: “Super-curricular activities are those that take the subjects you study further, beyond that which your teacher has taught you or what you’ve done for homework. You may go into more depth on something you picked up in the classroom or learn about a new topic altogether. You can explore your subject in many ways; for example, by reading, as well as watching videos online, downloading lectures, visiting museums or entering academic competitions.”

While RIC’s team of subject specialists will guide you with reading lists, podcast and competition recommendations and magazine subscriptions we also offer some structured opportunities within the College to flex your academic interests and help you broaden your horizons far beyond the confines of the classroom. Museum, gallery and theatre trips are offered regularly at RIC, taking advantage of being so close to the capital and being able to use London as our classroom. Student led clubs and societies flourish, this year we have a Philosophy Society and a Social Action Justice Group. Students are encouraged by staff to enter competitions in subjects ranging from Maths to Digital Media. 

Taking STEM Further

At RIC we have a “Maths Plus” club for those applying for high level STEM courses where a teacher looks at areas beyond the syllabus including Maths and Music and tackles problems such as proof that the Harmonic Series diverges, the Basel Problem and a proof of infinite circles and deploying strong induction to prove the nth term of the Fibonacci sequence. Not stuff you’ll find in a regular class but great for stretching the most able and preparing for university.

Lower School Chemistry students took part in an exciting opportunity to visit the Community Lab at Discovery Park which is run in partnership with Pfizer and Canterbury Christ Church University. Our students took part in practical tasks in the lab to make a range of polymers including polystyrene and nylon. We were also given a tour of the site and learned about some of the innovative businesses such as Venomtech that carry out fascinating research into the use of venom for a range of industries.

Global Business School

RIC Business and Economics students travel each year to Munich’s Global Business School. To take part in world class business simulations run by some of Germany’s leading CEOs. Students also visited BMW and the stunning 1972 Olympic Park.

Business and Economics students meanwhile enjoyed a super supercurricular day out in London being amazed at how difficult it is to lift a solid gold bar while exploring the Bank of England museum. 

Our Year 10 students enjoyed a trip to Stratford Upon Avon, learning about Shakespeare’s legacy. Students also played the role of cryptographers at Bletchley Park, centre of Allied code breaking during WWII under Alan Turing.

Talking heads

Today’s generation of teenagers are really flexing their muscles and leading a sea change in attitudes. They are hungry to learn from passionate people on a wide range of issues. At RIC, we recognise this hunger and encourage our students to suggest figures to invite to speak.

Recent speakers include cancer research scientist Dr Tim Fenton, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Professor of Journalism Tim Luckhurst and Steve Goldstein, deputy at the State Department in the Trump Administration until he received the “You’re fired” broadside from the Oval Office. 

Arts Competition Success

Having won the National ISA Digital Art Competition for both 2022 and 2023, RIC student Vasilisa has again received recognition for her exceptional digital art work, with her work ‘After the Flood’ being highly commended by the judges. 

Congratulations to Andrei from Romania for winning first prize in the ISA Short Film competition for his Rochester set short Double Agent.  

Congratulations as well to year 13 student, Saul, for receiving awards from London Met’s Photography competition in 2024 in two categories, Your Places and Your Things, as well as being the overall winner, and shortlisted for Your People. Saul is looking forward to starting at UAL to study Photography in September.

Philosophising in Cambridge

Students from Year 11 and 12 recently attended an A level conference in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. The day consisted of four talks from specialists at the faculty of Philosophy who provided new and challenging perspectives on areas related to the AQA pure Philosophy syllabus which we study, ranging from Idealism and Scepticism, to Artificial Intelligence, the Trolley Problem and Nietzsche’s perspective on Religion. Students were also offered valuable information on what studying Philosophy at university is like and tips for admission at Cambridge. Year 13 Psychology students meanwhile spent a day at Canterbury Christ Church University trying out the different equipment the university is using in Psychological research

Engineering the future for girls

Students take a lead on suggesting exciting activities such as science competitions. Kazhakh student Zhanel organised a multinational, mixed year group entry to the UK Space Design Competition ( Zhanel went off to study Aerospace Engineering at BUWE. She did previously done an internship with the “Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary”, which designs, builds and operates earth remote sensing satellites. Kazakh cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov, founder of the Young Cosmonauts School in Astana told Zhanel he was impressed with her interest in aerospace engineering. 

Great British Economics Olympiad

The Great British Economics Olympiad final is held each year at RIC. Driving the launch of this was another RIC student, Angelina who worked with the Economics department to accredit RIC as the host centre. Every year we bring Economics experts to the campus to speak to finalists, run workshops and deliver lectures. Our Economics students help curate and take part in the event, exposing them to theories and arguments that go far beyond their syllabus. 

Science Olympiad Success

Our Science and Maths students regularly compete and achieve success in Science and Maths Olympiads. One of our amazing Thai scholar students, Jeans was awarded with a distinction in the Astronomy & Astrophysics Challenge 2023-24. 

The British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad project offers schools across the UK a series of competition papers that focus on astronomy and astrophysics.


Supercurricular opportunities also flourish in RIC’s Lower School. WISE (Women Into Science and Engineering) is an organisation promoted strongly in some top universities and it is always good to take the chance to introduce girls at an early age to the idea that science really is not just a boy thing. While women are certainly well represented in the RIC science department, there is no doubt that there is still a gender imbalance in the field generally.

Dukes Renaissance Scholars 2024

Every year a group of RIC students get to take part in a weekend of scholarship organised by one of the Dukes Education Colleges. This year our joint hosts were CSFC Cambridge and St Andrews College, Cambridge. 

Day 1 - We arrived at St Paul's church in Cambridge for the "Looking to the future as innovators, engineers and leaders" talk with the theme of science, looking at the current and future practices of Artificial Intelligence hosted by Cardiff Sixth Form College. We started with Cesare, a student who built a nuclear fusion reactor aided by the team at Cambridge University research as well as current PhD student Jamie Edwards and Dr Jem Pearson, followed by a talk on artificial intelligence in Alzheimer's by Dr. Betty Tijms. The innovation for microchips for toxicology and drug testing followed this by Dr Emily Richardson. In the afternoon, our students were ready for a debate on whether innovation in A.I. would result in our demise. The students debated towards the topic in groups. We continued to discover Renaissance innovation through the Wren Library at Trinity College as well as the most renowned books kept in the library including the first original copy of the Bible, Isaac Newton's personal letters, among others. The students also went punting along the river Cam. 

Day 2 - Our practical skills were tested by constructing Da Vinci's bridge using mathematical constructions and problem solving. After this, the botanical garden was our priority just to discover the fantastic Fibonacci number-like flora. This followed a built-on activity involving single-board computers, Raspberry Pi, and coding. Our students concluded: 'What I can say about the trip is that it was fantastic! We got to do so many incredible things, From seeing a book written by Isaac Newton to building our own mathematical bridge.' Next year’s event is at The Institute of Education, Dublin. 

Renaissance Scholars on Star Hill

The Renaissance was a period of radical cultural transformation, disruption and iconoclasm. We considered over a uniquely RIC two day event the question of whether there is value in challenging the mainstream through activism and protest.

There was theatre, karaoke, local history tour flaneuring, Ukrainian synth pop and light shows. Speakers included Ed Fidoe from the London Interdisciplinary School and award winning film director and former RIC tutor Clio Barnard. 

Workshops included The London Gospel Choir, cybersaur arts and wet plate collodian from Rikard Österlund. 

Highlight of the weekend was Icon Theatre’s immersive theatre show The Ballad of St John’s Car Park exploring how protest movements shaped the identities of individuals and the community, including the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020; the closure of Chatham’s Dockyard in 1984; the activism that led to the establishment of Medway’s First Pride March in 2019 and local young people who took part in the Greta Thunberg climate protests in 2018.