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Non-selective Independent College in Medway, Kent

A non-uniform 11+ alternative for children from year 7 up

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A small class environment committed to personal development, which promotes academic and creative excellence and offers a nurturing and informal approach to education

Established as a sixth form in 1984, RIC has been offering places for children in Year 7 since 2006. Our Lower School is now a thriving alternative secondary school destination to the academically selective grammar and traditional independent schools available locally. 

RIC’s Lower School combines a friendly and informal approach with the teaching excellence and pastoral support of a top independent school. 

There’s a happy and lively atmosphere where academic success follows naturally from students being settled in their environment and engaged by enthusiastic and talented teachers. At RIC the transition from primary to secondary school is smoother and less intimidating than is sometimes possible at a larger school.

Our staff are as committed to our students’  wellbeing as they are to their academics and in the Lower School we have created a warm and welcoming atmosphere where everyone feels valued and respected where all can find their tribe, place and direction

A place to belong

Our students tell us it’s cool to study hard at RIC and that they feel at home here. They feel comfortable in their own clothes, confident in their own skins. 

The Independent Schools Inspectorate judged that the personal development and behaviour of RIC students was “excellent,” saying: “The use of first names and informal attire generate a relaxed environment. Sanctions are few in an atmosphere which values respect highly, and rudeness is not tolerated.” 

We welcome everyone who has the desire and motivation to excel, not just those who have passed the 11+. All class sizes are small, the average being 8, the maximum 12. 

A place to learn

Within an informal atmosphere, students respond enthusiastically to high expectations of behaviour and achievement and are able to achieve their academic and creative potential. The atmosphere is liberal but ordered. There are no mobile phones permitted during the day in the Lower School, that really helps. 

RIC’s Lower School offers a broad education before the specialisation of sixth form. There are different routes through the school. Prospective doctors, dentists and vets get to be stretched by the demanding Triple Science GCSEs while those who are more creative can study subjects such Film, Music Technology, Textiles, Graphic Design and Photography. 

A world of difference

Whether it's through collaborative projects, great school trips, or simply sharing a laugh along the garden pathways, RIC's Lower School fosters a sense of belonging and connection that is truly special.

On any given day you might find year 7 students in the garden testing frogs for ranavirus as part of a study tracking the spread of the disease in UK amphibians while another group are jamming with ukuleles. Year 8 students may be in a digital media mac lab working on a Spotify podcast with sounds and captured voices from the soothing to the irritating and random. 

Year 9 students might be digging into our library, sampling 100 must read Penguin Classics that break boundaries and challenge conceptions, graphic novels from Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper to Art Spiegelman’s Maus or vintage Marvel comics. 

At lunchtime some students might be having extra Maths tuition to help master a tricky topic. A student football team might be playing with staff and Oscar the RIC dog on the multi use games pitch while others are using the gym and discussing tactics for our latest dodgeball competition. 

Year 10 students might be out meeting their local MP for a tour of the Houses of Parliament at Westminster while Year 11s might also be heading to London in the evening for a performance of their set text ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to help prepare for their exams.  

Our staff are as committed to our students’  well being as they are to their academics and in the Lower School we have created a warm and welcoming atmosphere where everyone feels valued and respected where all can find their tribe, place and direction. 

STEM specialists

Caitlin below left, who attended RIC from year 7 to sixth form said:

“RIC gives you space, the flexibility to take things into your own hands and structure your education to suit you. There is no ‘one size fits all’ attitude.”

Having achieved outstanding GCSE results she got offers from all four of her chosen Medical Schools and the three A grades at A level she needed to meet them. 

Caitlin consistently worked hard but says she did so in a very supportive environment: "The teachers always gave me a lot of time outside of lessons, even in break times. I always had my questions answered and the interest and passion of the teachers for their subjects really shines through.”

Small class sizes, not exceeding 12

Small by design, we’re able to get to know everyone well but large enough for good friendship groups to be formed. 

With class sizes this small, our teachers are able to understand each individual and ensure that every voice can be heard. 

Student needs are clearly recognised and focused upon in a small school setting. Students are better known and relationships between teachers and children- and children with each other- prosper. Individual attention in all subjects is not only always available, but practically inescapable.

Keeping in touch

Imagine being able to stay in touch properly with your child’s progress at school. Reports that aren’t overly complicated with codes and generated by software packages but that give clear and honest assessments of what progress has been made and what needs to be done to improve. 

A smaller school size allows more opportunity for our teachers to work closely together and share information. Pupils can see the progress they are making, parents can see the difference great teaching is having. 

Students with mild learning difficulties such as dyslexia can easily be accommodated in small classes where everyone is encouraged and supported.

The size of RIC allows us to provide an unparalleled level of feedback to parents and operate an open door policy, with parents encouraged to come in and speak to Form Tutors or the Head of School about any worries or concerns. 

A place to make progress

Homework is set regularly, although students are always given a week to complete tasks rather than there being a daily prep regime. In some subjects there is more of an emphasis on project work and research out of the classroom and all students are given at least one novel each half term outside of their regular English lessons to read and review. 

The aim of all work in the Lower School is to encourage students to spend time thinking about what they have been taught and to begin to develop self-motivated exploration of the subjects they will come to study more intensively later. Students do not sit back because they are ahead and finished their work, nor do they give up because they are too far behind. Teachers regularly see students individually to help with particular academic problems. 

Target setting is done individually so that each student can aim for their personal best. We believe that the idea of testing understanding is that individual students gain confidence in their knowledge and find out what they need to do better. 

School can be different

Evan chose RIC over a local grammar after attending a Year 7 taster day. He said “RIC is really fun and we do things that I’d never done in my old school like wear my own clothes, drop eggs out of the window in Science to test forces and make a superhero comic on Photoshop in Media. What I’ve enjoyed most about my first year here is all the different subjects I do. I’ve really liked computer coding and designing video game covers and would love to work in the games industry one day.”

Evan’s mum says: “Evan has flourished at RIC, both academically and personally. In his primary school, it was easy for him to get ‘lost’ in a class of 30, and because he was quiet he perhaps didn’t receive the attention he needed. Now in small classes, he certainly makes his opinions heard! He was offered a place at a local grammar school, but when we looked round there, the large classes were off-putting. At RIC, Evan has loved the range of creative subjects offered and is enjoying PE for the first time, participating in sports such as badminton, ice skating, dodge-ball, climbing and skiing.”


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