Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the questions that students have asked us about the school. Click on a question to see our answer. If you have a question that we have not included please contact us.

Is English in Chester a good school?

Our school was established in 1976 and since then we have had over 30,000 happy students. We are accredited by the British Council and are a member of English UK and English UK North. We are also members of IALC (The International Association of Language Centres), The English Network, an association of quality independent English language schools, and Quality English. English in Chester is regularly named by the EL Gazette as a Centre of Excellence (based on the British Council Inspectors' publishable statements).

Why do students come to English in Chester?

Many come because they have heard about us from a friend. This is the best recommendation. We are now teaching the grandchildren of our first students. Others come because our well-defined courses meet their needs. Chester itself and its location are also popular reasons for choosing us.

Do courses have fixed dates?

Students can enrol on our General English Courses (age 16+), Study Year Programme and 25+ Courses on any Monday during the year. Other courses have fixed dates which can be found in the courses section of our website.

How many people will there be in my class?

On the General English Courses (age 16+), Study Year Programme and Examination Courses there is a maximum of 12 students per class. On the Summer Course for Teenagers there is a maximum of 14 students per class. On the 25+ Courses there is a maximum of 6. On the 50+ Courses the maximum is 10.

Who will be in my class?

The nationality mix varies from course to course and season to season. We have had students from over 60 different countries. Student ages vary with the course type. On our General English Course the average age is 25 with an age range from 16 to over 60. Over the year we have an equal number of male and female students. More information on average ages and top nationalities can be found here.

What can I expect on my first day?

On the General English courses you will be welcomed by and have an introductory session with the Academic Manager and/or the Course Director. You will then do a computer-based placement test in grammar and listening with a written task. There will also be an oral interview to assess your speaking ability. There will be an orientation of the school and Chester city centre with one of the teachers or a member of staff. You will have time for lunch and to get to know some of the other new students. After lunch you will have a British Life quiz and a study skills lesson. There is a special meeting for students under the age of 18. There will be an opportunity to choose your afternoon options with a teacher who will advise you. There is a lot of information on the first day but don't worry if you can't remember all of it as there are many people to help you throughout your stay with us.

When does school begin and end?

On most courses lessons start at 9.30am and finish at either 3.45pm or 5.00pm with a break at 11.00 - 11.30am and lunch from 1.00 - 2.15pm. Some group courses start at 9.00am.

Are the teachers qualified?

All of our teachers are graduates or equivalent with qualifications and experience in teaching English as a foreign language.

How many levels are there?

On our General English Course we teach all levels from Elementary (A1) to Advanced (C1). Other courses vary and details can be found here. We only accept Beginners (A0) on one-to-one courses.

What are the lessons like?

Lessons on all courses are designed to involve all the students in a class. We focus on spoken English and the correct use of language. The atmosphere in the classroom is relaxed and informal as this encourages all our students to take an active part in the lessons.

What facilities are there in the school?

In the General English School, which is English in Chester's main administration centre, there are 14 classrooms which can accommodate 150 students. There is also a computer room, self-access centre, common room, coffee room and patio-garden. In the Language Training Centre there are 7 classrooms and a maximum of 35 students. The centre has its own lounge with coffee area and a computer room. More information about our facilities

Is there free Internet access?

Yes there is free WiFi Internet access in all buildings. There are also computer rooms in both the main school and the Language Training Centre.

What is e-Chester?

e-Chester is an online learning platform. Students on General English, 25+ and Examination Courses have access to e-Chester from the moment they enrol. They can access their study plan for 6 months after their course finishes, and can continue to use the rest of the site indefinitely. The service is completely free and includes a library of lessons for extra practice, a weekly news-based task, a personalised study plan, a social networking page and a lot of useful information about your stay in Chester.

What is in the self-access centre?

There are 12 computers which have the latest English language learning software as well as access to e-Chester. We also have many other resources available for you to use such as a DVD library, extra grammar and vocabulary worksheets, listening material, and reading books to suit your level of English.

Do I have to buy course books?

We provide you with a course book for the duration of your stay free of charge.

Do I have to bring any books with me?

We recommend that you have a dictionary (preferably English-English).

Can I get a student card?

Yes, you can have an English in Chester student card. This card is useful for ID. It has your host family phone number and the emergency number on it and you can use it in places which offer a student discount, for example in some cafes and sandwich shops.

How many students are there in the school?

Our student numbers vary with the season. General English and Examination Courses: between 60 students (in January) and 150 students (in the summer). 50+ Courses: between 10 and 30 students. 25+ Courses in the Language Training Centre: between 5 and 25 students. Summer Courses for Teenagers: between 50 and 120 students.

Is there any homework?

On most courses we set regular homework assignments. Usually you will have a little every day, which can be some grammar or vocabulary exercises, a short piece of writing or an interview with your host family.

How long will it take to improve my English?

This is a difficult question. Your progress will depend on your motivation, the amount of work you do and your ability to learn a language.

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