ESOL and IELTS Programmes Years 12-13

St. Michael’s Senior School is home to a number of International pupils. Pupils from the age of 11 up to 18 can join a number of programmes dependent on their current English levels and academic background. The ESOL and subject teaching team at St. Michael’s School are committed to the personal and academic development of each of our pupils. Our international pupils join us with varying abilities of English Language and our aim is to accommodate and provide for individual needs. Pupils are streamed based on their language ability following a full placement test and interview.

Courses on offer year 12-13

A Level Preparation Programme
ESOL and IELTS Preparation Year 12 and 13

As a guide, language levels required for each programme are as follows:

A Level Preparation Programme – IELTS 4-4.5 or equivalent
A Level programme – Overall IELTS 5.5 or equivalent

A Level Preparation Programme 

This course prepares international students for the demands of A Level (Advanced Level) study.
International pupils who fail to meet the minimum entry requirement for academic study (IELTS 5.5) may join our A Level Preparation Programme. This runs as a one year course or may be joined for two terms; January to June. This programme is structured to ensure students improve their English Language skills but also provides subject specific language learning and prepares students for the challenges of A Level learning.

Pre A-Level Applications

This flexible course is available over the following timescales:
• 1 academic year (September to July) — Entry level IELTS 4/4.5 or equivalent
• 6 months (January to July) — Entry level IELTS 4.5/5 or equivalent
• 12 weeks (April to July) — Entry level IELTS 5 or equivalent

Pre A-Level Course

• Improve English language and analytical skills to prepare for full A Level study
• Build confidence before progression to A Level study
• Increase chance of entry to top UK universities
• Benefit from school-organised visits to University Open Days
• Enjoy familiarisation events – shopping, travel and culture

Personalised Support

Each pupil is assigned a personal tutor and programme of tutorial sessions are in place to support pupils as they adapt to the educational and cultural differences of the UK system, including study methods and family life.
• Have Intensive lessons in General and Academic English/IELTS
• Have sessions on developing their Academic and A Level subject vocabulary
• Take a Pre A-level course in Business Studies/Economics in the final term
• Take a Pre A-level introductory course in Biology/ Chemistry and Physics in the final term
• Follow a Pre A-level Mathematics timetable
• Have regular meetings with a personal tutor
• Get to know more about their chosen A-level subjects and learn how a British curriculum is taught
• Are immersed in an international boarding house community
• Benefit from working in small groups to maximise progress
• Take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme – expeditions, group tasks, skills development
• Have free unlimited access to online IELTS and subject study materials
• Take part in weekly trips

Pre A-Level Course – General Outline

Term 1 (Sep to Dec):
• Intensive General English and IELTS classes – Lesson provision may alter depending on IELTS progress
• Mathematics
• Physical Education
• Fortnightly Personal Tutor meetings
• Duke of Edinburgh Award

Term 2 (Jan to March):
• Intensive General English and IELTS classes – Lesson provision may alter depending on IELTS progress
• Mathematics
• Physical Education
• Fortnightly Personal Tutor meetings
• Duke of Edinburgh Award

Term 3 (April to June):
• Intensive General English and IELTS classes – Lesson provision may alter depending on IELTS progress
• Pre A-level course Science Module (Physics/Biology/Chemistry)
• Pre A-level Mathematics
• Pre A-level Economics/Business Studies Module
• Physical Education
• Duke of Edinburgh Award

Pupils progress onto A-level studies on successful completion of the Pre A-level modules and an acceptable IELTS score.

A-level Programme – ESOL and IELTS Preparation Year 12 and 13

Entry Language Level Requirement – IELTS Overall Band 5.5 (Usually with no part less than 5) or equivalent (Cambridge English: First).
Prior to entry to Year 12, the English level of prospective pupils is assessed. This includes an online placement test, a written assignment and a Skype interview. Previous evidence of ESOL examinations is also useful. With this information, the ESOL and IELTS Curriculum Leader 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 (the International English Language Test System) 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.

Pupil 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, pupils will find their A-level performance also improves.

In Year 12, pupils will begin to develop their General English and improve all skill areas with additional work on grammar and vocabulary. In addition, a range of online resources are 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.

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. Classes are often for individuals and bespoke.


All IELTS pupils are regularly assessed using Cambridge IELTS test materials for all four skills – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.

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 programme regularly results in early attainment of a high IELTS band requirement and 100% entry into Higher Education.

It must be noted that University IELTS language requirements vary. The top universities for some courses will require an IELTS band score of 7+ in each paper, not only overall. Others will require an overall 6.5 but with no score below 6, for example. As a result, each pupil may have different requirements and focus. Therefore, the IELTS course in Year 13 is frequently offered to focus on individual requirements and is thus individually tailored to the demands of each pupil.

It is recommended that pupils continue to develop their language skills up to around IELTS 7/7.5 to ensure they are ready for the linguistic demands of degree-level study.

Course Overview

• Develop general and IELTS Reading skills. Practice in: scanning, skimming, understanding main ideas, reading for detail, understanding opinions, increasing reading speed.
• Strengthen ability to complete specific IELTS Reading tasks by focusing on strategies for the specific tasks.
• Enhance IELTS Listening skills by giving practice in areas such as: predicting information and using key words for prediction, listening for specific information and avoiding distracters.
• Improve ability to complete specific IELTS listening tasks by focusing on strategies for the specific tasks such as multiple choice, completing notes and sentence completion.
• Help raise awareness of IELTS Writing Type 1 and Type 2 tasks by giving practice in areas such as: coherence and cohesion, grammatical range and accuracy, lexical resource and communicative achievement.
• Provide numerous opportunities to develop and practice the skills needed to complete the IELTS Speaking test and become a confident, more fluent speaker.

Genuine ESOL and IELTS Pupil Comments

‘There’s a great atmosphere, everyone works really hard and can pass their IELTS early!’
‘The materials are so useful – the online materials really help and can help me in my future career.’
‘IELTS at St Mikes is great! Keep it up!’
‘Without the help and support I always got, I don’t think I would have got my result.’
‘My English standard has been greatly enhanced by this course.’
‘The diversification of activities helps us to learn more easily.’
‘I am truly happy with it. Lessons are full of joy.’
‘I really like group discussions because I have a chance to speak – it’s an enjoyable atmosphere!’
‘I can really write well now!’
‘My own strengths and weaknesses are spotted and the teacher helps me improve.’

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