How is WSE ensuring the safety of students and staff at the school?
We have a large number of safety measures in place in order to keep our students and staff safe. We stay up-to-date with UK Government guidelines and these measures may change slightly based on future government advice.
• We clean the school thoroughly on a regular basis, and all areas of the school that are touched regularly are cleaned every day with disinfectant spray.
• Hand sanitiser is available in all classrooms and throughout the school.
• Physical distancing is encouraged throughout the building.
• We have moved many of our Reception services online and have digitalised many of our paper documents.
• We have an appointment system for seeing staff.
• We have screens in our offices for their protection and for the protection of students if they need to speak to our staff in person.
• Teachers use digital resources instead of paper whenever they can.
• All staff and students must wear face masks in the school building, including the classroom.
• We have procedures in place and information and help available in the unlikely event that a student catches COVID-19 or needs to self-isolate.
• We require students and staff to take lateral flow (antigen) COVID tests twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays and to share their negative results with us. No student or staff member is allowed to enter the building without proof of a negative test. The test can be taken at home and test packs are free of charge and widely available.
How will my journey and first day in the UK be affected by COVID-19 precautions?
Non Fully-Vaccinated Students
Students who have not been fully vaccinated must, in addition to the above:
• Take a COVID-19 test and receive a negative result during the 3 days before travelling to the UK.
• Book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 tests (to be taken after arrival).
• If they are over 18 and not fully vaccinated (if they have only had 1 or 0 doses), or if they are fully vaccinated but not from an approved vaccination programme, then they will have to quarantine for 10 days on their arrival in England.
• Students can choose to reduce their quarantine period from 10 to 5 days if they sign up to the Test to Release scheme. Under the Test to Release scheme they can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test on day 5. If the result is negative (and the result of the day 2 test result was negative) they can end their quarantine. They cannot take part in the scheme if they have been in or through a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days before they arrive in England.
• Students up to the age of 17 years who are resident in a country with an approved vaccination programme are subject to the same rules as for fully vaccinated students, so they:
• do not have to take a COVID-19 test before travel to England
• do not have to quarantine
• must take a day 2 test on or before day 2 – arrival day is day 0
Students up to the age of 17 who are resident in any country that is not on the approved vaccination programme list must:
• take a COVID-19 test (if aged 11 or above) before travelling to England
• take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 in England – arrival day is day 0
• take a COVID-19 test on or after day 8 in England – arrival day is day 0
• quarantine at home or in the place they’re staying for 10 days, or for the duration of their stay if it’s less than 10 days
Please check the list of countries with approved vaccination programmes.
We recommend the following company for day 2 and day 8 testing
From the end of October, eligible fully-vaccinated travellers (see above) will be able to replace their day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow (antigen) test. Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test at no extra cost
The relevant section of the UK government website can be found here:
Please provide information to your client about travelling safely drawing on WHO guidance, “Stay Healthy while Travelling”.
What are the accommodation options?
We are able to offer our homestay option or a room in Kings or Queens Lodge, our student residences.
We have handpicked hosts who have spacious houses, most of which are within walking distance of the school, and who are able and willing to accept students.
How will my first day at the school be affected by COVID-19 precautions?
If the course you have booked requires a placement test then you will do this online before your arrival. We already do this for our online courses. The speaking component of the test will be done via Zoom with the Director of Studies or another academic manager.
We will ask you to send us a scan of your passport so that we do not need to handle your passport when you arrive. However, if we still need to see your passport we will ask you to show it to us.
If you require a visa to study in the UK, we will ask you to photograph the visa page of your passport after your arrival in the UK and to email the photo to us.
Instead of a welcome talk you will be sent a link to a video providing the same information about the school.
What procedures are in place to make accommodation safe?
Hosts provide you with their normal warm welcome. However, they keep their houses safe by increasing the frequency of cleaning and providing hand sanitiser in their homes, which you are strongly encouraged to use frequently. To reduce the chance of infection you are not be able to move to a different host until you have stayed at your current host for at least two weeks.
Kings and Queens Lodge are cleaned every day and we provide hand sanitiser in the entrance hall, kitchen, and your room, which you are strongly encouraged to use frequently. There are some restrictions on shared space within the house. There is a rota for use of the laundry, and you will be provided with your own plate, cup, glass, knife, fork and spoon for your food.
What should I bring with me?
In addition to the items we recommend in the pre-arrival guide, we suggest you bring enough masks or face coverings and alcohol-based hand sanitiser to last you for at least a week. It is easy to buy extra supplies of these items once you have arrived in the UK. Face masks or coverings should not be worn for more than 4 hours as they become ineffective after that time. If you feel you need or want to wear a face mask for extended periods of time, you may need two or even three for each day.
Please note that face coverings remain compulsory on public transport in London and this includes your taxi from the airport. However, this does not have to be a mask. Anything that sufficiently covers your mouth and nose is acceptable.
You may want to bring some disposable plastic gloves for extra protection.
If you have a laptop or tablet, we strongly recommend that you bring that with you as we will be providing many of our materials digitally rather than on paper.
Please make sure you bring enough pens and pencils and paper with you for your own use as we cannot share these items.
How will I get to and from the airport safely?
We advise that you book our private airport transfer rather than travel by public transport from the airport.
We can arrange only single transfers unless you are travelling with people you know. Please be prepared to wear a mask or face covering in the taxi and to lift your own luggage into the back of the car. If you are unable to lift your own luggage the driver will do it for you but he/she may wipe your luggage with sanitising gel before handling it.
How will I get to and from the school safely?
Most of our hosts are within reasonable walking distance of the school. Current UK Government advice is that everyone should walk to cycle to work/school where this is possible and only to use public transport if it is absolutely necessary. We will endeavour to place you in a homestay that is within walking distance of the school; however, please note that the walk time may be up to 30 minutes.
If you have to use public transport, you must wear a mask or face covering otherwise you will not be allowed to travel. Please also note that buses are operating with a maximum capacity of about 20, so if the bus is full you will not be allowed to board.
Will there be a social activity programme and how will it work?
The Social Programme has always been an important and popular aspect of our students’ experience of WSE, Wimbledon, and London. While restrictions are in place, we are running a modified Social Programme that has more of an emphasis on outdoor and online activities.
All activities are risk assessed thoroughly before going ahead to ensure that any potential risk to students and staff is managed.
There is also an online social programme available to all students. Activities include baking, virtual tours, quizzes and karaoke.
Since the easing of restrictions, our Social Programme has been getting closer to what we offered before COVID-19.
Will I be able to socialise with other students outside of class?
It is recommended that you meet outdoors whenever possible. If you are unable to meet outdoors, then you should use a well-ventilated room to meet. Restaurants, cafés, bars, cinemas, gyms and indoors sports activities are all open. If choosing to engage in any of these activities, you are expected to remain cautious and show good judgement. Please note that even though face coverings are no longer required by law, the UK Government expects everyone to continue using them in crowded spaces. Shops, transport companies and other businesses may continue to require the use of face coverings, and Transport for London has said that it will still require their use on public transport.
Our garden and Common Room are spacious enough to maintain physical distancing from others.
Will I be able to travel to other parts of the UK?
Travel to other parts of the UK is permitted and hotels and B&Bs are open. If you do decide to travel, please do so responsibly and plan your journey in advance. You should also check the conditions of travel with the transport operator that you plan to use, for example, to see whether or not face coverings are required.
You should be aware that COVID restrictions vary between England and other countries in the UK. This guide has been written based on the guidance for England. If you plan to travel to another country in the UK then we strongly urge you to read the guidance for that country. You should normally expect the rules and guidance to be stricter in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland compared to England. For example, in Scotland you must still wear face coverings in many places where you do not have to in England.
How will I get food and drink while studying at WSE?
There are a number of cafés open in Wimbledon where it is possible to buy food. Sainsburys supermarket is a popular option amongst our students, and you can buy snacks and lunchtime food, such as sandwiches and sushi, there. Cafés are open and are offering a full service, although they may still limit capacity in order to operate safely. Please note that they will be busier at lunchtime, so we recommend buying your food in advance, if that is possible.
The school Coffee Shop is open for the sale of pre-packaged snacks only. We ask that you pay by card rather than by cash, if possible. The coffee machine in the Common Room is available for use.
What is the cancellation policy if I book a course now and then I am unable to attend or the school doesn’t open?
You can cancel your course for any reason up to 7 days before your course start date and receive either a full refund minus any bank charges or a credit note, valid for 2 years from the course start date. If you have booked via an agent, please ask your agent for their cancellation policy.
If you cancel less than 7 days before the course start date, you will receive a credit note, valid for 2 years from the course start date.
If the school cancels your booking because we are unable to open, you can receive a full refund minus any bank charges, a credit note, valid for 2 years from the course start date, or transfer to an online course for the equivalent value. If you have booked with an agent, please ask them for their policy if the school cancels the booking.
What happens if the school has to close during my course?
If a student or a member of staff contracts COVID-19, the school may need to close for up to 2 days for deep cleaning. During this period, all courses will be moved online.
In the unlikely event of a further lockdown, all courses will be moved online, and you will be very welcome to stay in your accommodation and remain in the UK or return home and continue studying from there. If you do not wish to transfer to online courses, you will be offered a credit note valid for two years from your last day studying with us.
What happens if I get symptoms of COVID- 19 while studying at WSE?
We will be asking all our students to tell us immediately if they feel unwell, either by calling the school during opening hours or by calling the emergency number outside opening hours if they suspect they have COVID-19 symptoms.
If a student or staff member appears unwell in school, we may take their temperature using a non-contact thermometer and if we feel they are displaying potential symptoms of COVID-19 they will be asked to return to their homestay or home. The student or staff member will be asked to request a COVID-19 test as soon as possible and no later than 5 days after leaving the school premises. The test can be requested online. If the student or staff member tests positive, everyone in their class ‘bubble’ will be informed. However, for data protection reasons, we may not be able to tell you who has tested positive.
You do not need to pay for a COVID-19 test in the UK.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 then you must self-isolate for at least 10 days. If you are with a host anyone in the household who is over the age of 18 years and 4 months will also have to self-isolate if they haven’t been fully vaccinated. If you are in Kings or Queens Lodge, then everyone staying there who is over the age of 18 years and 4 months and hasn’t been fully vaccinated will have to self-isolate.
During your period of self-isolation we will keep in regular contact with you to ensure that you have everything you need and that you are well. You can also keep in contact with us either by calling the school number within working hours or the emergency number outside of working hours.
If you need to consult a medical professional you can call 111 on your phone, and trained professionals will be able to help you. We can help you with this if you need us to.
If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, we can help you arrange an online consultation with a medical professional if you need to speak to one.
What happens if I need to self-isolate because I have come into contact with someone who has Covid 19?
If you need to self-isolate because you have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, then you can continue your class online. If your whole class needs to self-isolate then the class will continue as normal, but online. If you are the only person in your class who needs to self-isolate, then you will be offered an alternative online class. Please note that we might not be able to offer you exactly the same type of class if we do not currently run an online version.
Up-to-date information on self-isolation can be found on the NHS England website (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/when-to-self-isolate-and-what-to-do/)
Please note that if you are fully vaccinated by an approved programme, then you may not need to self-isolate if you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Will online courses still be available after we reopen?
Yes. We believe these are a great way to learn English if you can’t to travel to the UK. They can also be a fantastic way to prepare for your trip to the UK if you want to improve your English before you start your face-to-face course or if you would like to do some follow-up study after you return home.
Will I be able to take an English language exam at the school?
Yes you will. Our exam centre, the London exam centre, is open and running the following exams:
• IELTS (Academic & General Training, non UKVI)
• Cambridge B1 First
• Cambridge C1 Advanced
• Cambridge C2 Proficiency
• We can also help you take the Language Cert online exams
For more information visit www.londonexams.co.uk