Learning English in a High School in England

What High School students can expect when attending a course in the UK?

Cornwall Location

So you want to learn English and you fancy doing this in a High School in England.  Then you have made the first and most important choice.   The second important choice would be when to attend (usually most students start in September or April) and where you want to go.

High School Programmes are available right across the UK but one of the more popular High School locations is Cornwall,  Home of Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table;  King Arthur and Sir Lancelot.  It’s a magical county with lots to see and do.    We have students who love to attend the school and then after lessons they go down to the Beach and learn to surf each afternoon.  This is one of the reasons why Cornwall High Schools are so popular with students who like the water.

However, here are some important points to consider

1. Duration of the course

The course is divided into two sections.  One longer programme which is called an Academic Year Programme and you would arrive at your school in September and leave around mid July.  You would be expected to take part fully in all school programmes and exams and therefore would be working towards an internal recognised exam you could take in July


You can take a shorter “Taster Course” where you would arrive in either April or May and come for a minimum of six weeks to a maximum of one term.  This is more for students who may have sat exams in their own country and are simply wishing to experience school life in another country as well as improve their everyday English by being Immersed in the country of their choice

2. A full cultural Immersion – Living life the English way

When you arrive in the UK you will have found a host family who will look after you during your stay on the High School Programme.  This host family will have been carefully selected and often have their own children attending the school of your choice.  This family will ensure that they look after you; you are included as part of their own family and will make sure you are safe and well.  Host Families often play a very important secondary role to this High School Programme because they can ensure you get to school;  help you with homework and assist you with any worries you may have regarding the school.  In short – they are your second family whilst you are in the UK.

3. Studying in England and learning the English curriculum 

The schools that have been chosen will know all about welcoming foreign students.  They feel that it is beneficial to their own English students to have foreign students attending their school as much as it is for you to attend.     You will be given a “ Buddy” who will look after you in the first few weeks;’  make sure you understand the programme and that you get to the right classes at the right time.  They can help you find friends and sign up for After School Clubs.  They will be your point of contact for everyday worries and if they can’t help you, then you know the School Administrator can.     It is important that all students attend these courses knowing that they will be expected to participate fully in the school timetable.  This means attempting homework; attending all lessons and preparing for exams whether they are end of month exams; end of term exams or more structured exams which you can add to your CV when you return home.    This course will also give you an idea of what it would be like to study at a HIGHER LEVEL in Education Authorities such as College or University.     If you have a wish to study education at a High Level and in the UK, then this is a great “stepping stone” programme before you commit to two or three years in Higher Education.

4. Improving your English whilst studying for a recognised Qualification

Many students like to come for a year and take part fully in the curriculum and then sit an Exam at the end of this academic year.  Some of these students choose schools where they can sit a Baccalaureate Exam which is then attached to the Exams in their home country.   So by the end of your year, you will not only have greatly improved your English language but you will go home with another recognised qualification to add to your CV.

5. Something different to achieve whilst studying in the UK

Many students see this time in the UK to try something different.  Maybe the school has a thriving After School Club where you can attend a Debating Society ( ideal for quick thinking English ripostes )   You could learn traditional English dancing;  maybe learn to scuba dive off the coastline;  Archery is also popular in many of the schools.  In fact the After Schools Club List is probably endless and extremely varied.  Check this out when you visit the school website as it is sure to be mentioned.

6. Recognised Learning supported by the UK Education Authorities

All of the schools which would be offered to you on your High School Programme will be subject to rigorous Inspections by OFSTED.  This is a Government Body which ensures that the teaching standards are maintained and all pupils get a good education.   Additionally the schools will be on a list of Recognised Learning Establishments which is important for you to get a quality High School Programme.  Do check your preferred school of choice to make sure its name appears here.    This also means that their curriculum will be recognised by the UK Government and subject to regular inspections of the Programme and the teachers who deliver it. 

7. Welfare and Pastoral Care

As always when you choose a High School Programme you should ensure that there is always an Emergency Person on Call.   The school will help you in school times and the Host Family will help you out of school times but if you have any worries that they can not assist you with, then you will be able to call a 24/7 On Call Emergency Helpline.  This will be a dedicated Local Co Ordinator who lives close to you and will have helped you choose the school and your host family.  They will be there to help you with any worries and smooth your path again.

So if you are thinking of coming to the UK on a High School Programme then make sure you have considered all of the above points and then just choose the school you like.  It is one decision you won’t regret.

Please take a look out summer school page for programmes and activities.

summer school questions

We Recommend 

High School Programmes in the United Kingdom

High School Programme in England is a great way to improve your English in an informal environment, living with an English Host Family and participating in an English High School, from their lessons to their sports and their after school Clubs.

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