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In the English Language Training Centre, our aim is to find the best way support every individual and our passion is to enable them to succeed. A team of fully trained ELT teachers reside at both the Prep and Senior School, we offer a high degree of flexibility and work closely with subject teachers, providing appropriate study programmes designed to develop pupils’ self-confidence and competence with the English language. In this way, they are able to settle in quickly, enjoy school life and achieve to their potential in the academic subjects of their choice.

Rachael Vest, International Co-ordinator & Head of ELT

English Language Training at Dean Close School

International pupils are fully integrated with UK pupils into school life.

Through active involvement in boarding houses, activities and clubs, trips, competitions and public speaking in the school assemblies pupils are welcomed into the community from day one and are encouraged to develop their English language skills not only in the ELT classroom, but also in day-to-day school life. A great deal of additional support and mentoring is provided to pupils by dedicated tutors and house staff both during the induction phase and throughout their school lives at Dean Close.

The benefits of our international community are evident for all our students:

  • making new friends from around the world
  • extending our horizons
  • learning from other cultures
  • developing new perspectives

ELT at the Preparatory School

In the first few days of the academic year, new EAL pupils are given an induction programme to enable them to navigate around the School site with basic language phrases to help with everyday activities in school and in their day and boarding houses.

As the term progresses the children have individual and small group lessons which cover everyday vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation: set in the context of listening, speaking, reading and writing. The ELT teachers liaise closely with the pupil’s form and academic teachers to help students access the class curriculum subjects by teaching subject specific vocabulary.

The ELT teaching room provides a safe and enjoyable environment where pupils can learn English at their own pace and progress steadily in their English Language skills. For our younger students we have a comprehensive phonics programme to teach and improve basic reading and spelling skills as well as a popular reading scheme. We also prepare some of our older students to take the internationally recognised Cambridge Key English Test, the Preliminary English Test and the First Certificate.

Lower School and GCSE

In 4th Form, Remove and 5th Form, ELT is taught in small groups at least four times per week in place of Modern Foreign Languages. In the 5th Form, students follow the GCSE English Extra programme to develop skills to pass the GCSE First Language English Language and Literature exams. There is no additional charge for these lessons. Further lessons or one-to-one tuition can be arranged, in addition, at any time during the school year at parents’ request or to meet individual need.

The Lower School ELT programme provides:

  • a structured, cumulative scheme of work to improve competency in grammar, spelling and written work and to enable students to make good progress in their school subjects
  • active group and independent learning experiences: projects, presentations, debate
  • the possibility to take Trinity or Cambridge English exams
  • GCSE Extra English lessons
  • advice on exam technique, preparation and practice
  • tailored lessons to the level of support required

Sixth Form

International students take part in public speaking at Oxford University, 2015

At Sixth Form, English Language Training is taught in small groups (max. 3 students) and through one-to-one tuition: flexible and tailored to individual need. The focus is on Academic English and helping students to start to develop language skills required for A Level and university study. Students are assessed during the first week of the school year and those who achieve lower than IELTS level 7.0 attend weekly IELTS training sessions. Our aim is for students to achieve IELTS level 7+ so that they are able to meet entrance requirements for UK universities and are well-prepared for the next stage of their academic career. Typically, our students achieve scores of 7 – 8.5 out of maximum 9 in the external test in the Upper Sixth.

The Sixth Form ELT programme provides:

  • close communication with A Level teachers to provide subject-specific support
  • exam technique and writing
  • IELTS training in small groups and one-to-one: continuous assessment and exam practice; exam bookings & transport to and from the test centre
  • Trinity or Cambridge English exams

Please note that due to the very individual nature of support and additional teaching time there is an extra charge for Sixth Form ELT lessons and IELTS Training.

The English Language Training Study Centre

At Dean Close, we give our students time for independent learning. The ELT Study Centre is an area with audio/video/IT facilities and plenty of practice materials which is open every lunch break and one afternoon during school term-time. Sixth Form students also often have time to use the centre during their study periods. Most students use the centre on a drop-in basis, but it is possible for students to book in at regular times to work with a specialist teacher.

The ELT centre is a welcoming place where pupils can seek advice about any aspect of school life. This might include seeking support with Prep or course work, subject specific problems or help with university applications, having the opportunity to talk through any personal worries or just quiet time to read or study.

The International Student Committee

The international student committee provides pupils from a wide range of countries with the opportunity to contribute new ideas to the School and to take an active part in organising trips and events for international pupils. Over the years, these have included theatre trips to Stratford-upon-Avon and Bristol, ice-skating and visit to the Christmas Market in Bath, running charity fundraising events at times of cultural celebration, hosting celebrations for Christmas and Chinese New Year, as well as hosting a wonderful end of year barbecue for the summer school Commemoration and Speech Day.