Academic policies

Selection

Students are offered places if we believe they can successfully complete the course they have enrolled for. This means that we will not accept students onto courses which are not suitable for them. Successful completion of courses depends to a large extent on the students’ English level on arrival, so we do have to be sure that students’ level of English matches the course that they wish to join, both in General English and exam preparation courses.

We are happy to re-enrol students for further courses, and extend their current course if the course they want to do is at a suitable level for them, and if they have had good attendance and shown a good attitude to their studies. We try to maintain a good balance of first languages, and this may affect enrolments at certain times.

General English courses

We teach all levels from Elementary to Advanced. However, we do not teach Beginners, so if students are not sure of their level, they should please tell us so that we can make sure we have a course at the right level for them. If students have a very high level of English, that is Cambridge Proficiency level or C2 on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), we would strongly recommend a telephone interview to ensure that there is a course available which is suitable for their needs.

Cambridge Exam Courses

Students who want to enrol on an FCE, CAE or CPE course must complete a pre-course test. For external students this is a pre-enrolment test, for existing students it is the Cambridge Entry Test. If they are not at the level required, we recommend an alternative exam course or a suitable period of general English study to raise their level to that required. If they meet the minimum level, they (or their agents or sponsors) are told how likely it is that they can pass the exam they wish to enrol for. Some ‘borderline’ students will be accepted onto an exam course even if we feel they have a reduced chance of passing the exam, as long as, in our judgement, we they will not adversely affect the other members of the class and it will be of great benefit to them.

The vast majority of students on FCE, CAE and CPE courses complete the entire course. On the summer courses, we will accept enrolments for just July and just August, but strongly encourage students to complete the entire course. Outside the summer, we will occasionally allow students to join the course a week or two late, or finish a week or two early if their personal circumstances do not allow them to complete the entire course and they have clearly demonstrated that they are at the level for the exam.

IELTS

Students who wish to enrol on an IELTS preparation course take an academic English pre-course test. If they are not at the level required for the courses currently running, or the courses we expect to be running when they are at the school, we advise them to take a general English course before starting their IELTS course.

Placement

General English courses

On their first day, students do a placement test which consists of speaking, writing, listening, grammar, and reading and vocabulary. We do not do speaking tests when large numbers of students are starting on the same day, but teachers assess the new students’ speaking level in class.

Cambridge Exam Courses

Students take a pre-course test which is more detailed than the pre-enrolment test to ensure that the course will be suitable for them and provide teachers with information about their strengths and weaknesses.

IELTS

Students do the listening part of the standard entry test and an academic English test, in addition to a spoken interview.

Course Levels

We run courses at the following levels, subject to demand:

General EnglishCambridgeIELTS
C2Very AdvancedCPE
C1AdvancedCAE6.5
B2 – B2+Upper IntermediateFCE5.5
B1 – B1+IntermediatePET (Option)4.5
A2 – B1Pre-Intermediate4.0 (Option)
A2Elementary

Course Structure

Main Courses

General English Courses

General English courses are usually 10 weeks long. There is assessment at the end of the course, and students who meet the requirements start a new course at the next level. This may involve a move from, for example, intermediate to upper intermediate or a move from intermediate level 1 to intermediate level 2.

Cambridge Exam Courses

FCE and CAE courses are 10 and 11 weeks long respectively January to March. FCE, CAE and CPE courses are 12 weeks long March to June. FCE and CAE courses are eight weeks long July to August. FCE, CAE and CPE courses are 12 weeks long September to December.

IELTS Courses

These are typically 10 to 12 weeks long, depending on the level and progress of the students, their target test dates and what stage other courses are at which they may wish to join or join the IELTS class from.

Options Courses

Option courses in Cambridge exam preparation run at the same time as main courses. This means they do not usually run when we don’t have a main course. RWV (Reading Writing and vocabulary) and SPL (Speaking, Pronunciation and Listening) courses are 10 weeks long. There are five levels. The length of IELTS, English for Business, Travel and Tourism, Media and Culture, Pre-Masters and Writing courses are decided by the teacher in discussion with the students.

Assessment

On exam courses, students are assessed by doing practice tests, either partial tests done in class, or a full mock exam. General English students are assessed using a mixture of coursework and written tests. There are progress tests in weeks 4 and 8, based on the work done in class, and an end-of-exam in week 10, which is based on general English level, not only the work done in class. Teachers give results and recommendations to the Director of Studies, who makes a decision about each individual student’s next step.

When students leave the school, they receive a certificate showing their teachers’ assessment of their exit level of proficiency in the five main skills of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) – listening, reading, spoken production, spoken interaction and writing – and comments on their progress during their course.

Focus on the individual

One of the main aims of the school is to provide students with a personal experience. This applies to all aspects of the school, including the classroom, where we believe it is important to focus on the needs and progress of each learner. This is built into the teaching style at the school, but it is also built into the design of the courses. When students arrive at the school, they are usually interviewed as part of the placement test: this helps us assess their language level but also provides us with valuable information about their learning goals. During the course, teachers conduct one-to-one tutorials with students every four weeks. This enables teachers to find out from students how they feel about their studies, discuss the students’ progress, give advice on effective study skills and self-study options and set learning goals for the next four weeks.

Students who enrol on an International Academic Year (IAY) course do a study plan with an academic manager. The student and the academic manager map out together an individual study plan. This plan is referred to by the teachers when doing monthly tutorials, but the student can also see the manager at any time after that to discuss their course. The purpose of this is to ensure continuity of support and guidance over a long period of study.

Students Requiring Extra Support

We try to find out before students start at the school whether they need any extra support with their studies. They may have hearing, seeing or learning difficulties, or may require assistance with mobility. While we try to provide as much extra support as we can, we cannot guarantee that we can do so with every student who requires such support. Examples of support we can provide in the classroom include providing enlarged photocopies of course book materials (with the publisher’s permission), enlarging text on the interactive whiteboard with the zoom tool and ensuring students with mobility issues are in classrooms on the ground floor. Unfortunately, we cannot provide the level of support required by students who are totally blind or deaf.

If we find out that a student is dyslexic, we will make every effort possible to enable that student to benefit as much as they can from their course.

Gifted and talented students

Occasionally, we may encounter students with such a high level of English or such exceptional ability that it is difficult provide an appropriate level of challenge for them in the regularly scheduled classes. In such cases, teachers inform the Director of Studies, who may be able to arrange a programme of tutorials to meet those students’ needs and capabilities.

Students planning to attend a British University

We do not offer a formal university counselling service, but the academic management team are happy to help students who are considering studying at a British University. This service is offered free of charge and BEET takes no responsibility for the eventual choices made by the student. Students who have the existing help of an educational adviser are encouraged to continue with this help so that the universities and students are only dealing with one set of information.

The majority of these students wish to study at postgraduate level and as such are over 18 and have a degree from their own country. The process of making the right choice for each student starts with discussions with the academic manager regarding their criteria for selecting a university. These include; previous academic achievements, future plans, academic content of courses as well as personal preferences, such as location of the university, costs of academic fees etc. Students are encouraged to research online for courses which best fulfil their needs and to discuss these with the academic manager. Guidance is then given on how and when to apply, how to write a personal statement, what the referees should include, what documentation is necessary, etc. The IELTS examination, Academic courses at BEET and/or Pre-sessional courses may be options the student might consider doing.

Some students wish to study at Undergraduate level and the process of applying through UCAS applies to them. Many of the criteria for making choices are the same as above and the academic manager can work through these with students to help them make decisions.