Our difference

Our difference

RIC: School that works

Founded in 1984, Rochester Independent College in Kent is a day and boarding school offering a distinctive alternative to traditional independent education. Globally grounded, third culture kids from all over the world come to RIC to finish their secondary education before proceeding to universities in the UK.  

Click here for an article in the UK’s Daily Telegraph about the difference studying at Rochester Independent College, compared with the approach of Harrow School. 

Nearly everyone who visits immediately senses our difference. The mutual respect between teachers and students is palpable. There is no uniform, no bells ring, students and staff are on first name terms and the average class size is 8.

The first thing you’ll notice when you visit RIC is that we occupy a one-of-a-kind urban campus. At the heart of a designated conservation area, the historically distinctive site with listed buildings linked by award winning wildlife gardens creates a special sense of place to explore and in which to live, study and work. 

Visit our campus just once and you’ll swiftly see why RIC is a school unlike any other. 

RIC aims to give students an enjoyable and successful experience of school in an international environment with small classes and high quality teaching and pastoral care. Smaller schools like RIC also offer students, particularly coming from overseas, a close knit community where they are known, have strong friendships and students feel they matter. Giving a student a sense of who they are and where they fit in is an important factor in achieving self esteem and building confidence. Experiencing small and intimate classes, being in a place where they are known and their contribution is valued is important for Hong Kong students who are travelling great distances to be exposed to what the UK does well- the best teaching in the world.  

Students in all parts of RIC do not sit at rows of individual desks but gather around one table, in the style of a university tutorial. The focus is on achievement without unnecessary pressure, on examination success in a lively, supportive and informal atmosphere. 

At RIC students learn and achieve more because they enjoy school and feel positive about themselves.

We encourage students to carry on with the interesting things in their life outside of school: we certainly don’t take over their home life. We always involve parents and keep them up to date. Because it works if we’re all in this together.  

RIC students search for their own answers, voice their opinions, and think critically, creatively and independently. They leave us real world ready, not only with exam results that exceed expectations but also with enthusiasm for the future, a readiness to make life more interesting and with confidence about themselves and their education.

We value academic and creative achievements equally. Our reputation was first established in Mathematics and the Sciences. Royal Thai Government Scholarship students join each year, often after winning International Olympiad Gold Medals before arriving at RIC. Many of the College’s former students are now successful medical practitioners and local GPs, surgeons and consultants often send their children to us. 

As well as offering traditional academic pathways, RIC is also one of the leading creative boarding schools in the UK and our staff, who are all practitioners in their own right, have industry and studio experience in filmmaking, fine art, illustration, graphic design and digital media, photography and fashion and textiles. 

We’re as committed to supporting students for whom passing exams at grade C is a great achievement as we are to those aiming for A*s. We welcome everyone who has the desire and motivation to excel, not just those who have passed the 11+ or have a string of top grades at GCSE. We help turn things around when they haven’t worked out in the past. We aim to ensure that no student, regardless of academic ability, is left lost, overlooked or let down. 

RIC is characterised by an unusual flexibility, a focus on making the system- and the timetable- fit around the students who come here rather than the other way around. We avoid overengineering education, overcomplicating it. We get on with doing what’s useful and necessary to help students get the results they need and enjoy school. We get out of the way when it’s useful, we intervene when it will help. Years of experience enable us to know the difference, to know what will work. It may look different for every student. A small school size allows us this flexibility. 

This successfully individual environment is a natural stepping-stone between school and university. Our annual destinations list reflects the diversity of our students and their enthusiasms. Recently students have proceeded to courses including Natural Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge; History of Art at Edinburgh; Fine Art at UCL’s the Slade, Digital Media at Leeds; Computing at Imperial; Medicine at Oxford; Music Production at BIMM, Veterinary Science at Liverpool; Film Studies at Warwick; Law at Exeter; Dentistry at Bristol; and Fashion Marketing at UAL’s London College of Fashion. 

Come and see what makes RIC work. We’d love to show you our school. 

RIC’s A level Maths teacher Danny Cheung has a first class degree in Mechanical Engineering from City University. Danny came to RIC from Hong Kong in 2004 to study English and work in our kitchens. Under the careful mentorship of the RIC Catering team his traditional roast dinners and baking skills were quickly appreciated by staff and students alike. RIC awarded Danny a full scholarship to allow him to study at university. Danny celebrated his British citizenship ceremony at the Rochester Corn Exchange this year.