How to choose the correct language school
If you’re considering taking an English language course abroad, here’s what you need to think about before making any decisions:
It is a question that we are sure that many of you have considered:
“Where should I go to learn English, and which English school is the best one for me?”
As with many of the most important questions in life, there are different correct answers for different people. So here at Wimbledon School of English, we have prepared the following guide to help you choose the right English school for you. There are a number of different considerations –
- Which country / city do I want to go to?
- How do I know this school is a good quality one?
- Does this school offer the services I need?
Which country / city do I want to go to?
Deciding on the location for your studies is the most important factor in choosing your language school. Every English-speaking country has English language schools, all with different strengths and weaknesses. Which country you choose may depend on how far you want to travel, how expensive that country is compared to your home country, and how much you want to visit that country.
Here in the UK, we are proud to be the home of the English language, with centuries of history and culture, ancient buildings and museums. We’re also a very modern country with cutting edge architecture and exciting new businesses.
And having decided on the UK, you will need to think about whether you prefer a large city, the seaside, a university town or somewhere in the countryside. Many parts of the UK are wonderful, with welcoming people and stunning attractions, but we think that London is at the top. With more theatres, museums, restaurants, concert venues, sports stadiums, historic buildings and shopping malls than anywhere else in the UK, you will never be bored in London. What’s more, the rest of the UK – and Europe – is just a train ride away when you want to spend a weekend in a different place!
If you are worried that London is too big, remember that there are many different residential parts of London (including our home – Wimbledon), where you can relax in a peaceful area with its own shops and restaurants. In these areas, you’ll also find that your accommodation will usually be much closer to the school than if you study in the centre. From many of these residential areas, it takes less than 30 minutes by public transport to travel to the centre of London and its visitor attractions – so you still won’t miss out on the best that London offers.
How do I know this school is a good quality one?
When you are considering a school, how do you know it is as good as its website says it is? Our answer is just one word – accreditation.
The best schools are regularly inspected by accrediting bodies, which check the quality of their teaching, student care, administration and management, to make sure that you will learn English in a safe environment, that your booking will be handled efficiently and you will get the course you have been promised.
Each school will advertise on its website which organisations it has been accredited by, so make sure you do a Google search to check what the accrediting body stands for and what their accreditation means. It also helps to look at what organisations the school belongs to as these can also help indicate quality.
The British Council established the first accreditation scheme in the world for English language schools and it is still the biggest and most intensive inspection scheme and sets the standards that UK English language schools must maintain. There are now over 500 accredited organisations in the UK. To find out how well an organisation did in their latest inspection, read their inspection report on the British Council website, and look at how many strengths they’ve received, and if they have any areas for development.
English UK is the professional organisation representing English language teaching organisations in the UK. Check if the school you’re interested in belongs to the association.
IALC is the International Association of Language Centres and its members include schools worldwide teaching the language of their country including English schools in the UK, French schools in France and German schools in Germany. Before schools are accepted for membership, they must be accredited by their local accreditation scheme and they also have a further IALC inspection.
Quality English is an international organisation that invites member schools to join once they have been recommended by past students and Educational Travel Organisers. There are Quality English schools in every English-speaking country in the world.
The English Network (TEN) is a group of independent English schools in the UK, who are all English UK and IALC members. These schools work together to achieve the highest standards of service for their students.
Does this school offer the services I need?
At Wimbledon School of English, we believe that coming to London to learn English is about more than just the lessons. Of course we offer quality teaching by experienced professional teachers, but what happens when your lesson has finished?
- Do you want to do some extra study in our Self-Access Centre, where you can use the E-Wimbledon, the Wimbledon School of English App or borrow a book or DVD from our library?
- Do you want to take part in our regular social programme and join your classmates on a guided walk, visiting a museum or having fun playing tennis?
- Would you like to sit in our comfortable Student Room to talk with your friends, or relax in the garden?
- Will you go home each night to quality, local accommodation that we have found for you?
- If you have a problem will there be someone to listen to you and help you with your difficulties?
While these things are secondary to your main objective of learning English, they all help you to succeed in your task, because they will help you to relax, have fun, make friends and enjoy London – all while practising your English!
We hope that this information has been helpful to you, so you can choose the right school for your studies.
If Wimbledon School of English sounds like the perfect school for you, click on one of the links to find your perfect course:
- English courses for teenagers
- English courses for teachers
- English courses for families
We hope to see you in London very soon!