Choose a course with confidence
The world's largest range of English language courses
The UK offers the largest and most diverse range of English language courses in the world, for international students of all ages. Whether they are beginner level or advanced, every student will find an English course to help them work towards their language goals.
This is the most popular type of English language course. General English courses cover all four language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students study General English to improve their general confidence and fluency in English. British Council accredited schools employ trained English language teachers who deliver interactive lessons which maximise the time students spend speaking English together and using their new language knowledge. Read more about accreditation standards.
General English can be studied at all levels, from beginner to advanced. Flexible start and end dates mean students can study at any time during the year for as long as they want, from one week to a whole year. Intensive courses are available for students who want additional lessons. Group classes can be supplemented by one-to-one sessions to maximise student progress. Courses are available for different age groups e.g. over 18s, over 50s or 13-16 year olds. Read more about young learner courses.
The UK’s English language qualifications are internationally recognised. Exam preparation courses prepare students for a specific English language exam. The most common exam preparation courses in the UK are for IELTS, Cambridge English, Trinity College London, LanguageCert, TOEFL, OET (English language test for healthcare professionals) and TOLES (Test of Legal English Skills) exams.
Exam preparation teachers have a thorough knowledge of exam content and requirement. Lessons focus on building the language and exam skills that will maximise the student’s exam results. Students do practice tasks and exams during the course, to help them understand what is expected and how to improve their grade. Courses vary in length, depending on the time required for the student to reach their target language level. Students usually study in a group so courses may have fixed start dates.
English for specific purposes
English for specific purposes courses are for students who need to learn English for use in a particular industry. Lessons focus on the language and skills required for the specific context or job role.
Courses available in the UK include English for law, English for medical professionals, English for aviation and English for oil and gas. Students can study in a group or with one-to-one tuition. Companies can send groups of employees to study in the UK together, and UK-based teachers are also able to travel to deliver training in-company.
Business English courses, also called English courses for professionals, allow students to develop English language skills that are useful in a business environment. Students build professional fluency and confidence which will help them develop strong relationships with colleagues and clients.
A business English course will enhance a student’s career prospects by giving them the confidence to use English effectively in a range of business situations, including meetings, writing emails, delivering presentations, making business phone calls, negotiating and networking.
UK English language centres can design tailor-made courses for groups of employees from the same company. Some centres offer dedicated facilities for business executives, including intensive one-to-one teaching in a comfortable, exclusive, professional environment.
Courses for English language teachers
UK English language centres employ many of the world’s best English teacher trainers. Teachers who visit the UK for a teacher development course will return home with the latest teaching methodology and new ideas to enhance their practice and further their career. Teacher training courses often cover particular specialisms including teaching young learners, pronunciation, exam classes, academic English or business English.
UK English language centers often deliver bespoke courses to teachers overseas both face-to-face and following a blended approach using the latest technology.
For English language teachers who want a globally-recognised certification, two initial certifications are recognised by the British Council: CELTA awarded by Cambridge English and CertTESOL awarded by Trinity College London. Full-time courses in the UK last one month. Online courses are also available. Both providers offer further qualifications for experienced teachers who want to go into academic management and teacher training, including the DELTA and DipTESOL diplomas.
English for academic purposes
English for Academic Purposes courses give students the skills they need to succeed in an academic context, such as at an English-speaking university. These courses will focus on developing skills such as writing essays and reports, reading and listening to complex ideas and taking part productively in academic discussions.
UK English language centres also offer Foundation year courses for students who need to meet the requirements for their preferred degree programme, combining study of English language, subject knowledge and academic skills. University language centres offer pre-sessional English courses at their on-campus language centres for students with a confirmed place.
> Find out more about how an English course can help students to access UK universities.
Courses for young learners
UK English language schools offer world-leading teaching and safeguarding for young learners, giving under 18s an unforgettable study travel experience. Language schools organise a programme of activities and excursions so young students can have fun, make international friends and practice speaking English. Some of these programmes are focussed on specific skills or interests, such as football, drama or leadership. Others offer a broad range of activities for students who enjoy lots of variety and choice.
Year-round English language schools offer courses for young learners at any time of year. Young students usually study General English, join organised activities and excursions, and stay with a homestay host near the school to experience life in the UK. Summer schools offer residential programmes for under 18s. English classes, activities and accommodation are all in the same location, which is often a UK boarding school or university campus. Some junior centres also open during other UK school holidays like Easter. You can check a school’s website to see what activities they offer for young learners.
Mini-stay courses are short English language courses usually designed for closed groups of high school students who want to improve their English language skills and experience the UK. They are generally 5 -14 days in length and include an academic programme, cultural and social activities and additional excursions or day trips.
The contents of a mini-stay programme can be tailored according to a groups needs in terms of course content, language level, duration and excursions. Usually accommodation is provided as part of the whole package, and it is standard for a number of group leaders or teachers to be included in the price. Mini-stays provide students with the opportunity to improve their English skills, experience the UK and build their confidence.
Courses for groups
Courses for closed groups are customised English language courses that can be specifically tailored to meet the preferences and goals of the students in the group. Courses can be a few days to a few months in length.
Usually the English language school will conduct a needs analysis for the group, exploring what the students want to achieve as an outcome of the course. This will then lead to the design of a course syllabus that will help the students reach their goals.
Closed group courses can often be combined with social activities, cultural visits or excursions to create a memorable experience for the participants. Groups will be able to choose different accommodation options to suit their needs and budget. Some courses may lead to an exam or qualification and others could be centred around a theme or an experience.