April 2010 issue

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High school prep in the UK

Schooling in a foreign country can be a daunting yet highly rewarding experience and a number of UK providers report that they have recently expanded their offerings to include preparatory courses to help international students settle in.

The benefits of a high school preparation course are plentiful; not only do they adequately prepare overseas students for campus life but in most cases – and on the proviso students successfully complete the course – they can also provide automatic entry into full-time boarding school education.

“We have been offering [such] courses since 2002,” explains Peter Etherton from Etherton Education in Wellington, Somerset. “As language teachers with over 30 years’ experience, we saw that overseas students needed more than just in-school language support to help them get the most out of their British education,” he says. Facilitated by Wellington School, the organisation offers several preparatory models including pre-A-level and a four- or eight-week pre-GCSE course held during the summer. “This year, our eight-week course will start with one week in London followed by seven weeks at Wellington School,” details Etherton.

Sherborne International College in Sherborne, Dorset, has been preparing international students for the rigours of the British education system for the last 33 years and Anne-Marie Slack, Registrar at the school, relates that demand has been consistent throughout. “Our main academic year preparation courses are well supported, as agents and parents view them as the best kind of educational, social and cultural preparation to enter a good UK boarding school for A-levels or the International Baccalaureate,” she explains.

Others like the Licensed Victuallers School (LVS) in Ascot, Berkshire, however, are relatively new to the preparatory concept. Ian Mullins, Director of Education, admits that while a majority of their students are already enrolled in full-time education, enquiries regarding taster courses have been growing in recent years. Consequently, “We are expanding our offering and are inviting students to join us for prep courses of one-to-three terms before enrolling in the standard curriculum,” he says. Badminton School in Bristol also welcomes international students to start a term early; this can be supplemented with ESL tuition.

At Sedburgh School in Cumbria, Lotte Tulloch says that preparation courses are also a new addition to the curriculum. “This is our first year offering this [type of] course and we are excited by the enthusiasm and initial feedback we have received,” she enthuses. “We offer a truly unique product – a three-week course, at the beginning of the summer in one of Britain’s finest full-boarding schools,” she notes. While afternoon lessons focus on more subject specific content like mathematics and science, students also put their practical English to good use in more sociable activities such as drama, blogging and magazine writing.

Preparatory courses come in various guises with some providers offering purely summer programmes and others promoting more immersive term-time options. At Moreton Hall in Oswestry, Shropshire, students can choose from either option. Their 10-week intensive course offers three alternative start dates during the academic year (September, January and April) and weekly components include 20 hours of English language tuition, science, maths, business studies/economics and IT tuition, plus sports activities and excursions. Meanwhile, the more compact eight-week summer version follows a similar curriculum. Alexandra Hankinson, Marketing Director at the school, notes there is demand for both models. “We have approximately 10-20 [students] for our term-time courses and up to 50 [students] for our summer preparation course,” she observes, adding that the school is in the process of building a stand-alone international study centre.

Bell Bedgebury International School in Cranbrook, Kent, offers a whole host of study programmes from a five-term GCSE programme to a four-to-five week summer foundation programme. “Since 2007, the breadth of high school programmes has grown in response to student demand,” affirms Headmaster, Eric Squires.

While some schools like Queen Ethelburga’s in York and LVS in Ascot grant automatic entry onto a high school programme (subject to successful completion of the initial preparation course) others do not. Instead, many schools have a counsellor on hand to offer advice and guidance. “If requested by parents or agents, we can assist in the school selection process and ensure that it is a good match for the individual,” notes Marianna Slivnitskaya at the London International Study Centre in Surbiton, Greater London. “No school is right for every student but for every student there is a right school,” she concludes.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.





      Accommodation &

English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
International House
      World Organisation  

Alphe Conferences  
British Boarding
      School's Workshop  
International House
      World Organisation  

Pearson Education  

Dr. Walter GmbH  
Student Guard

LTM Star Awards  

Malta Tourism
Office de Tourisme

Bond University  
Carrick Institute
      of Education  
English Australia  
La Trobe University  
Language Studies
Pacific Gateway
      International College
      International College
Global Village
University of
University of
      Western Australia  
University of
      Western Sydney

CERAN Lingua
      (Belgium, England,
      France, Spain)

Global Village  
      (Australia, Canada,
ILSC - International
      Language Schools
      of Canada  
National School
      of Languages  

     Language Training

      Education Group  
Camp Beaumont  
International House
      World Organisation  
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
King's Colleges
      (Prime Education)  
LAL Language
      and Leisure  
      (Canada, Cyprus,
      Ireland, England,
      South Africa,
      Spain, Switzerland,
Queen Ethelburga's
Spinnaker College  
St Giles Colleges  
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group  
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy,New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
Thames Valley
      Summer Schools  
Twin Group 
      (Ireland, UK)
University of
      Essex -
University of
Wimbledon School
      of English  

Accent Francais  
      Université de
Alliance Française
      Paris Ile de France
Home Language
Office de Tourisme

International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

Q Language Ltd  

      Language School  
EC English
      Language Centre  
      (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
Feltom Malta  
Malta Tourism

Dominion English

EAC Language
      Centres and
      Activity Camps.  
      (England, Ireland,
      Scotland, Wales)

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Costa Rica,
      Ecuador, England,
      France, Germany,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Russia,
      Spain, Switzerland,

Columbia University
ELS Language
IH New York  
Julian Krinsky
      Camps & Programs
      International, LCI  
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)

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