Sibford School: Where international students can find quality English language programmes
Promoted by Sibford School

Sibford School: Where international students can find quality English language programmes

When Year Nine student Jason first came to the UK, he couldn’t speak English. That is, until he met his English as an Additional Language teacher at Sibford School — who was kind, dedicated, and made learning English fun. “After 18 months, my English has come on really well. I can now do the other lessons well too and can do most things on my own. I have lots of English friends and am very happy here.”

Melvin, a Year 13 student, found his EAL lessons just as impactful — giving him lots of help for the IELTS test. “The EAL teachers are nice and kind. When I am confused or misunderstand something, they are patient and explain things clearly to me,” he says. “They  have rich teaching experience and can explain the difficult grammar and vocabulary clearly and simply to me.”

Sibford is a co-educational, independent school for children aged three to 18. At its 50-acre campus in Oxfordshire, the atmosphere is warm, welcoming and friendly — ideal for all pupils, including international students, to be themselves and be brilliant. In 2021, the school received an “Excellent” rating from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). Last year, its A Levels results ranked in the top 20% of all schools and colleges nationally.

Pupils here develop into independent and confident young adults who have mastered English. Source: Sibford School

Such results can be traced to how the school caters to a range of learning styles, especially in its EAL lessons. No matter their starting point, all pupils can follow the British curriculum and at the same time improve their language skills. With the expertise of experienced TEFL teachers, students with an intermediate level of English and above can progress and gain confidence in each area of their English whilst getting help to integrate with the wider school. Practice makes perfect, hence why the school lets many students choose to supplement their timetable by attending lessons in subjects they intend to study next year — commonly: maths, physical education, textiles, food nutrition and business studies.

It’s all part of the school’s holistic approach to learning — something Year 12 student Rita W can attest to this. “They teach seriously and meticulously; they will correct your pronunciation and are kind, friendly and easy to talk to,” she says. “They use a simpler way to let you understand the lessons and our learning atmosphere is fun and relaxed. Sometimes we have EAL trips and visit interesting places in England.”

Pupils who want to improve their English language before joining Years 10 and 11 (for GCSE courses) or Sixth Form (for A Levels) can join the Intensive English Course. It’s a unique offering that lets children experience a language school in a boarding school setting.”

Not only does the course give pupils a thorough grounding in the English language, it also trains them in the core skills needed to progress to a strong intermediate level. Upon completion, they are introduced to their exam classes — for example, Physics — to allow them to become familiar with the subject-specific vocabulary. “During my two years here, I have received a high-quality education, which has helped with my studies,” says Year 12 student Rita Y. 

Pupils at given opportunities to enjoy all school offerings, including outdoor activities. Source: Sibford School

For Shin, a Year 13 pupil, the course and EAL at Sibford have helped her adapt to a new school system and a new country. “When I first came to the UK, I was in Year 11 and I couldn’t understand a single word anybody said to me,” says Shin. “The Intensive English Course consists of English classes every day and also other more relaxing subjects like cooking and textiles. We learn the basic grammar and vocabulary but also about life in the UK, the history and the culture of the country.”

It wasn’t long before Shin was ready to join A Levels classes. “I take art, design technology and maths which means I have to write long assignments. My EAL teachers help me with this,” says Shin. “We are also preparing for the IELTS exam which we need if we are to go to university in the UK.” 

IELTS preparation at Sibford uses the latest IELTS course books, as well as discussion and analysis. These are enhanced with tailor-made materials adapted from current periodicals and journals, as well as everyday and world issues. It’s an effective strategy that’s led students to acceptable test scores and expanded their overall English language skills.

But what makes learning English at Sibford memorable are the trips. “The EAL department also organises trips for EAL students so we can learn more about the country’s history and culture,” says Shin. “Last year we went to Warwick Castle, The Black Country Living Museum and even had a day at a theme park. I was also lucky enough to go on the fine art field trip to Venice.”

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