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What is the BLS English teaching philosophy?

Our philosophy is to

“Support the weakest student, while challenging the strongest.”

And “Teaching with Passion”.

This is why BLS English is special.

Our lessons are student-centred and outcomes based – our intention is that each and every student should feel that they can quantify what they have learnt each lesson.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language is our PASSION.

What is the weekly timetable for adults?

General English:  16 hours

Monday to Friday:  09:15 – 12:30

Friday 13:30 – 14:45 – Weekly Progress Test (unsupervised)

Semi-Intensive English: 20 hours

Monday to Friday:  09:15 – 12:30

2 afternoons per week:  13:30 – 15:45

Friday 13:30 – 14:45 – Weekly Progress Test (unsupervised)

Intensive English: 24 hours

Monday to Friday:     Classes 09:15 – 12:30

Monday to Thursday:  Classes 13:30 – 15:45

Friday – Weekly Progress Test 13:30 – 14:45 (unsupervised)   

What about Social Programme and Conversation?

The coffee/tea break is an integral part of our programme. This is a chance for informal social interaction informally among all the students and the teachers, too. There is free tea and coffee for our adult students!

There are also activities organised by the school. Some of these activities are free and some involve a small charge. Examples might include football practice or a blue badge guided walking tour – historical, architectural or literary. They may focus on the beautiful Georgian architecture, the historical significance of Bury St Edmunds and the Magna Carta or Charles Dickens or Graham Greene.

Extra costs can be checked here:  https://www.burylanguageschool.co.uk/course-fees/extra-fees/

Local trips could include a visit to the world famous University city of Cambridge or a day in London. Other activities in Bury St Edmunds might include a tour of the Greene King brewery. There are other evenings out in local pubs and restaurants organised weekly.

Which programme should I choose, Intensive 24 hours or 16 hours?

The 24-hour programme includes IELTS and Cambridge examination English modules in the afternoons. Most students enjoy the difference between the General English classes in the mornings and the more targeted modules in the afternoon, whether or not they plan to sit the examinations themselves. The teachers enjoy making whatever is taught relevant. In addition, the afternoon groups are often smaller – so this is a good opportunity for students to get really individual attention.

The 16-hour programme (mornings only) is our General English programme. All our lessons take the mix of students into account in lesson preparation. The maximum number of students is 15, although the average number per class is usually around 8.

The General English programme involves tuition, practise and confidence building in each of the four main skills areas: writing, reading, listening and speaking. Grammar practise, vocabulary extension, pronunciation workshops, and discussions on topical affairs of the day are just some of the aspects included in the syllabus. In addition, a student’s individual weaknesses are targeted in the homework assignments which are set daily.

Regular individual feedback sessions are held with each student. If necessary, supplementary remedial work (e.g. extra listening practice, writing skills or pronunciation) is arranged as deemed necessary by the teacher or requested by the student.

What is the average age of your students?

The average age of our students is 25; however, in any one year, we will have students with a wide age range.

Our summer junior course has an average age of 14.

The summer teenager course has a minimum age of 10 while for adult courses this is 16.

What is the nationality mix?

BLS English recently had over 40 different nationalities in one term. We enjoy having a really wide spread of nationalities which encourages students to speak only English at all times.

Where are the actual school learning centres?

It is very easy to walk everywhere in Bury St Edmunds. You do not need a bus or car. BLS English has two centres both located in central Bury St Edmunds and near the town centre. The schools are within walking distance of each other and close to the main shopping centre and the historic core of the town. The Junior Centre is in a safe residential area close to the shops, Sports centre and parks. Our Adult Centre is situated close to the modern Arc shopping centre and cinema complex.

What about internet access?

All centres have wi-fi internet access. The vast majority of hosts also have wi-fi in their homes which students are able to use.

How Far Will I Be Living from School?

Students will either walk to school or be driven and collected by their host, the maximum time to school is 30 minutes. There is no charge to the student for this transport. The drive would still be a maximum of 30 minutes. Our hosts are handpicked by our full-time Homestay Team. The families are inspected regularly and conform to British Council. Our hosts are great and certainly a strong selling point.

What if a student wants to stay on a “room only” basis?

Close to our Adult Centre is the BLS Residence which provides individual rooms and shared kitchen space for those who prefer a self-catering option. 

What is the population of the town?

There are currently about 45,000 people living in the Bury St Edmunds area.

Why Bury St Edmunds?

The Director, Patrick Murphy, started the school in 1995. He loved the town at first sight, and to his mind it was the perfect location for students who wanted to immerse themselves in what he perceived as a truly English environment. The town is architecturally really beautiful, with a history dating back to Roman times.

The town is picture postcard pretty, but still real. Everything is within easy walking distance, and the Abbey Gardens in the ruins of the Abbey are particularly beautiful. Bury St Edmunds has won the “most beautiful floral town in Britain” in the small town category a number of times.

Who Started BLS?

Patrick, our Director, had taught in Cape Town, Liverpool, London and Rome, and could not believe that there was not a Language School in Bury St Edmunds. He believed, and still does, that every student who found their way to our school and was well taught – would pass on the message. And, so we have grown. One student in 1995 has turned into 200 students in our peak weeks each July. We are a medium size school now, but we aim to make every student feel valued as we all feel we are building something special.

Who are the team at BLS English?

Ben joined the school as a teacher for a few weeks in the summer of 2000. We never let him go! He rose through the ranks to become the Principal and now works closely with the Director of Studies, Robert, and the Homestay Manager, Lucy. We have a dedicated team of office and support staff that help to create a professional environment for students. Our teachers are passionate about teaching English. There is a sense of continuity and community; any student over the past twenty five years can return to the school, and one of us will definitely know them.

Can I do examinations at BLS English?

BLS English is a preparation centre for IELTS and University of Cambridge Examinations. We all believe that a student who comes for more than 6 or 8 weeks should be encouraged to sit an examination. It is great to be fluent in a language, but it is still greater to have some empirical evidence of this.

We feel that each and every lesson is important and wish every student to feel that they are in a supportive and caring environment that encourages fluency at the same time as rewarding accuracy.

Young English Learners

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