November 2012 issue

News Round Up
Inside the industry
Advisor Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus
Special Report
Course Guide
Regional Focus
Market Analysis

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International study centres

A dedicated international study centre – attached to or separate from a UK secondary school – can ensure overseas students build up their language proficiency before embarking on further secondary school study. Nicola Hancox reports.

Sometimes international students are propelled into sixth form before they have the language skills, study skills and academic confidence to flourish,” observes Andrew Gillespie at d’Overbroeck’s College, an independent school for 11-to-18 year olds in Oxford. Welcoming students worldwide, he adds that the dedicated international study centre (ISC) on site offers an essential first year of study before students progress onto A-levels. Students can enrol on GCSE or iGCSE programmes at the ISC in a wide variety of subjects including maths, French and history.

Educating girls from the age of 11-to-18 and boys from the age of three-to-11, Moreton Hall in Shropshire established a stand-alone, purpose-built ISC in 2005. Catering for roughly 50 students at a time, the centre is on the same 100-acre site as the main school but operates independently, explains Victoria Eastman. But while ISC students are taught separately from the main school, there are plenty of opportunities for domestic and overseas students to mix, she affirms.

Alexanders International School, part of the Skola Group of Schools, is a dedicated ISC in Bawdsey on the Suffolk coast. With a student body of internationals only, it provides a firm foundation for students to build their language skills while introducing them to a different culture, relates Dave Stacey. Offering foundation courses, one- and two-year GCSE and iGCSEs, Stacey explains that students are aged from 11-to-17.

International College, Sherborne, is another purpose-built centre established in 1977. Facilitating up to 160 girls and boys from non-British, non-English speaking educational backgrounds, it has three aims for all students, asserts Anne-Marie Slack: improvement in spoken and written English; academic preparation in English for curriculum subjects; and a good introduction to the study skills necessary in the British school system.

Slack observes that “classes are small, with a maximum of eight students so that the staff-to-student ratio is high and all students benefit from individual attention. All teachers are experienced specialists in their own subject, and also have EFL qualifications.”

Offering one- and two-year GCSE and iGCSE programmes, Slack notes, “The college prides itself on excellent results – 88 per cent high grade passes in 2011. Such excellent results help most students enter good English independent schools should they wish to continue their education in the UK.”

Like International College, Sherborne, Alexanders International School is not attached to a mainstream independent school, but students can go on to a mainstream programme at its affiliated partner institution: International Community School in London, notes Stacey. “Very few students have moved from Alexanders to the London school, which delivers the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum up to diploma level,” he adds. “The main focus of our school is to improve the English level of students and help them move on to the most suitable school. The main focus of international study centres attached to a school is to move the children on to the main school – which might not be the most suitable for their needs.”

However, as Eastman highlights, there are distinct advantages of attending a school with an ISC on the premises. “If [a student] moves on to a place at [one of our] main schools we have a partnership agreement with, they only need one visa,” she says. Similarly, if a student is struggling with mainstream curriculum they can easily undertake an ESL programme at its ISC, she adds.

ISC students at d’Overbroeck’s use some of the same facilities as main college students, and this lends itself well to immersion at the school, notes Gillespie. “This is important, particularly for those staying with us for A-levels. The ISC has its own location in the centre of Oxford and this helps students develop a sense of community with others on the same course. British sixth form students benefit from a more global perspective of issues.”

Chinese is the main overseas student nationality at Moreton Hall, followed by Spanish, Russian, Thai, Korean and Japanese. “Girls with a low level of English attend the ISC first, particularly if they wish to enter the sixth form,” asserts Eastman.

“Demand is especially high from China and Eastern Europe, but we try to maintain a good balance of students,” notes Gillespie. There is a good transition rate from the ISC into the main sixth form, he adds, with many ISC students preparing for A-levels or the IB. He notes that 40 per cent of students are international, with 38 nationalities represented.

Marketing acumen

Schools providing specialist preparation for secondary education are in constant demand, and schools rely on a variety of methods to ensure these services are marketed internationally. At Alexanders International School in Bawdsey, Dave Stacey relates that they employ a Search Engine Optimisation company to ensure the school website attracts attention from overseas. Face-to-face meetings with agents and students are also valuable. Talking about new agent enquiries he notes, “Whenever a new agent expresses interest in working with us – whether we met at a workshop or having sent an email – we ask them to provide references which we then check out.”

Student recruitment is mainly through a worldwide network of agents, asserts Anne-Marie Slack at International College, Sherborne. “The college marketing representatives also support agent workshops and fairs and regularly visit agent offices,” she observes. “A termly newsletter is sent to agents and regular e-zines are sent to update on latest student vacancies,” she adds.

The word-of-mouth factor is an important recruitment advantage at d’Overbroeck’s College in Oxford, affirms the school’s Andrew Gillespie. However, if looking into new source markets he identifies agent workshops as a way to discover new possible partners. “Our aim is to build key, long-term relationships with partners so they understand which students thrive in our environment.”

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

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






Britannia Student Services  
Generation Estates  
ESL Academy  

CAPS-I (The Canadian Association of Public Schools  
English Australia  
English UK  
Feltom Malta  
IALC International  
Languages Canada  
MEI Ireland  
Quality English  
Study Gold Coast  
English in Chester  

English Australia  
Study Gold Coast  

CERAN Lingua International 

Braemar College  
Calgary Board of Education  
Centennial College of Appplied Arts and Technology  
College of New Caledonia  
Edmonton Public Schools  
Georgian College  
Greater Victoria School District #61  
Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced  
IH Pacific (Vancouver, Whistler, San Diego)  
ILSC - International Language Schools of Canada  
Kootenay Lake School District #8  
Languages Canada / Langues Canada  
Mission School District # 75  
Niagara College  
Nova Scotia International Student Program  
Sol Schools International (also IH Toronto)  
St James - Assiniboia School Division  
Thompson Rivers University  
University of Manitoba  
University of Victoria  
West Vancouver School District #45  

iMandarin Language Training Institute  

Camp Beaumont  
Highbury College  
International House World Organisation  
International House Bristol  
INTO University Partnerships  
Kaplan International Colleges  
Prime Education  
LAL Language Centres Holding Ltd  
Living Learning English  
London School of Business & Finance  
Malvern House College London  
Mayfair School of English  
Oscars International  
St Giles International  
Study Group  
English in Chester  
Twin Group  
University of Essex - International Academy 

SR Events  
English UK  
Feltom Malta  
IALC International  

Cambridge Esol  

Campus de Bissy - Bordeaux International Campus  

Met Film Ltd  

English For Asia  

Active Language Learning  
Clare Language Centre  
Galway Cultural Institute  
Galway Language Centre  
Language College Ireland  
MEI Ireland  
Delfin English School  

Dr. Walter GmbH  

EC English Language Centre  
inlingua Malta  
Malta Tourism Authority  

pay to study  

City Education Language  
EC Cape Town  
EF International Language Centers  
English Language School Cape Town  
Eurocentres Cape Town  
Good Hope Studies  
International House Cape Town  
inlingua Language Training Centre Cape Town  
Interlink School of Languages  
Jeffrey's Bay Language School  
Kurus English CC  
LAL Cape Town  

International House Sevilla CLIC  
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispanico SL  
Xul Comunicación Social  

Eurocentres International  
EF International Language Centers  

Malta Tourism Authority  
Study Gold Coast  

Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart 
Glenholme School  
University of Arizona  
Zoni Language Center

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