International Students

St. Michael’s School has many years of experience with international students and every student’s boarding and welfare need is taken into consideration.  Our boarding houses are spacious and welcoming and we have excellent success with pupils who do not use English as their first language.

English for Speakers of Other Languages Tuition

Key ESOL Staff

Mr Mark A J Ellis, ESOL and IELTS Department Coordinator, has extensive experience of EFL, EAL and ESOL both abroad and in the UK, as a Director of Studies, Teacher, Teacher Trainer, Examiner for Cambridge English Language Assessment and Assessment Associate for Pearson. He teaches General and Academic English, providing IELTS classes for Lower and Upper Sixth Form pupils (Years 12 and 13) and also teaches across the GCSE programme. Ms Rhiannon Morgan has considerable experience as a Director of Studies, Teacher, Teacher Trainer and ESOL examiner in the UK and abroad. She teaches ESOL on the Pre-GCSE and GCSE Language Programme, on the Cambridge KET, PET and FCE exam preparation courses and both General English and IELTS on the A-level Preparation Programme.  She has taught English at Key Stage Three and Four and is a Literacy and Dyslexia specialist.

Care and attention to individual needs

Prior to entry, the English level of prospective international pupils is assessed. This includes an online placement test, a written assignment and a Skype interview.  Based on the assessment, the school will decide if additional ESOL classes are required. ESOL classes in St. Michael’s are usually very small, allowing almost individual attention. A friendly, positive atmosphere and excellent relationships with staff are strong features of lessons and pupils feel comfortable and able to ask questions or request further help. All students can benefit from additional tuition to further their language skills according to individual needs. The aim is to enable pupils to study confidently and successfully through the medium of English to ensure that all international pupils achieve the best results in all of their subjects. This is something which the department is especially proud of.


International students ESOL

For our international students, Grammar is covered thoroughly, as are the Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing skills. Particular attention is also paid to improving pronunciation, fluency and clarity of speech as well as broadening vocabulary to aid pupil learning in all subject studies. We also work very closely with the English department to support pupils in their English literature work where necessary. Progress tests on all key skills take place throughout the year as well as exams at Christmas and at the end of the school year. KET, PET and Cambridge English: First (FCE) classes are also provided as part of the ESOL curriculum.

Key ESOL areas include:
  • Active speaking with role play, pair work, group discussions, debates and presentations
  • Listening to a wide range of authentic audio materials and watching and reviewing DVDs and online content
  • Practical grammar to aid fluency, confidence and writing skills
  • Expanding active and passive vocabulary on all key topics
  • Better communication strategies
  • Confident and fluent reading, increasing reading speed and comprehension
  • Improved writing in both formal and informal contexts on topics pupils will experience in their pre-GCSE and GCSE studies
  • Computer-based learning using a variety of online resources and educational software
  • Use of IT for research/project work and online practice
  • Improved study skills, such as paraphrasing and note taking

International Student

IELTS Lessons: Year 12 & 13

What is IELTS?

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System and it is accepted as evidence of English language proficiency by over 8,000 organisations worldwide. IELTS is recognised as a secure, valid and reliable indicator of true-to-life ability to communicate in English for education, immigration and professional accreditation. These classes prepare our international pupils for the IELTS exam (and similar tests), as well as equipping them with the study and academic discourse skills necessary to ensure success at university in the UK or in any other English-speaking country.


Prior to entry to the Sixth Form, the English level of prospective pupils is assessed. This includes an online placement test, a written assignment and a Skype interview. With this information, the Department can make sure that each pupil will not only be able to cope with the linguistic demands of their chosen subjects but gain a high band score in the IELTS examination to gain access to the top universities.

IELTS Progression

Student progress is carefully monitored and classes are small, enabling us to provide work tailored to individual needs and a supportive environment, developing student confidence and enjoyment of the subject. With improved English, students will find their A-level performance also improves. In Year 12, students will begin to develop their General English and improve all skill areas with additional work on grammar and vocabulary. In addition, a wide range of online resources is utilised for class and self-study. This is combined with classes focusing on Academic English and the demands of the IELTS examination to help ensure the best chance of success.

Year 13

In Year 13, lessons are targeted at IELTS strategies and techniques and specifically designed to enhance skills in the Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking papers of the examination. Students can also benefit from additional lessons to reach their IELTS target. EAP (English for Academic Purposes) tuition is also provided to further equip students with the academic language skills to succeed at an English-speaking university or college whilst also improving the language required for their degree subject. The IELTS program regularly results in early attainment of a high IELTS band requirement and 100% entry into Higher Education.