The UK’s Number 1 School.*

*According to the EL Gazette rankings based on
British Council inspectors’ publishable statements.

Read the article which explains what makes ELC Bristol the number 1 ranked UK school.

ELC Bristol is a family-run school, offering intensive General English and examination preparation courses in Bristol, a lively university city in the South West of England.



Your teachers

You will have 2 or 3 teachers a day. The teacher you have for the first lesson in the morning is your 'main' teacher and he or she will co-ordinate your overall English language programme. The main focus of all the teachers is on student learning and progress and the lesson and course objectives reflect this.


The course book that you will be given during your first week forms the basis of the syllabus, but is supplemented with a wide range of other materials to provide a balanced curriculum and take into account the needs and requests of students. Generally speaking, classes work through one unit of the course book a week, which is complemented by other activities and exercises in keeping with the themes, grammar and vocabulary of the week. Students are often asked to work in pairs or small groups in order to increase their classroom talking time and short communication games are sometimes used by the teachers to add variety and fun.

The teachers have a clear idea of the syllabus students will be following as they choose the course book that they will be using themselves. Every week the Lesson 1 teacher makes a programme for the class, which is structured to offer a balanced programme in which the objectives are to develop students' knowledge and use of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and the 4 skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. It is designed to be flexible and varied, and is influenced by discussion with students in the regular Friday interviews and the other teachers of the class. Teachers put up a weekly plan of work on the classroom wall to keep their students informed of what they will be studying each week and to provide an overview of what the class has already studied for any new students arriving. 

Levels and syllabuses

We usually have classes at all levels from Elementary (A2) to Advanced + (C2). Every course will be unique as the objectives are designed to meet the particular needs and requests of the students in the class but of course there are normally certain set grammatical structures and vocabulary to be studied and skills to be developed over the full length of a term at any particular level. 

For example a full Elementary course would typically include basic use of the present simple, present continuous,  past simple and present perfect tenses and the 'going to' future as well as imperatives, pronouns, prepositions, articles, countable and uncountable nouns and comparatives and superlatives and the vocabulary covered would normally range from basic things like the days of the week, numbers and colours to food, family and the weather.

Students would also be introduced to the phonetic alphabet and learn about word and sentence stress.

Typical writing skills covered at Elementary level include: writing emails, filling in forms and describing places, people and buildings.

Typical speaking skills would include introducing yourself, talking about your family, your abilities and comparing places.

A complete Advanced level course would usually cover such grammatical structures as conditional sentences, the past perfect tenses, verb patterns, negative inversion, all the future forms and relative clauses and the vocabulary covered would include phrasal verbs, idioms, collocation, metaphors and homophones and homographs.

Pronunciation work would normally include development of knowledge of the phonetic script, intonation, rhythm and weak forms.

Typical writing skills covered at Advanced level include: writing reports, formal emails/letters, articles and discursive essays.

Typical speaking skills would include giving presentations, discussing issues, expressing opinions, summarizing information and speculating.

Regular tests and interviews with your main teacher

Every 1-3 weeks on Friday morning you are given a test to make sure you have understood everything you have been studying. Your main teacher will interview you during your first week and then every 2 or 3 weeks throughout your course to check on your progress and other aspects of your stay (course, accommodation and general welfare). If you have any concerns about your level, you can speak to your main teacher or to the Director of Studies.


Students who are B2 (Upper Intermediate) level or above can choose from a range of electives on two afternoons (3 hours) a week.  To see a more detailed description of the different electives, please click here.  The electives on offer vary according to demand.  There is, however, generally a choice of 5.

During the time when higher level students are in Electives, students who are B1 (Intermediate) level or below focus on developing communication skills.


Normally given daily - around 30-45 minutes' work.

Optional supervised Self-Study

Your main teacher will give you a personal self-study programme which will help you with your own particular language difficulties. After school finishes in the afternoon, if you wish, you can go to one of the multimedia / self-study centres, where you will be able to develop your English using Studyzone and Guided elearning on the school website or by taking advantage of the many other books and materials we have on offer there.

If you would like assistance, a teacher will be in one of the self-study centres to help and guide you from 3.45 to 4.45 pm (Mondays and Tuesdays in Pembroke House and from 3.45 to 4.45 pm Wednesdays and Thursdays at Abon House). The Study Centres remain open until 5.15 pm (4.45 pm on Fridays).


Teachers are constantly assessing students during class work, when they check their homework and following the regular tests. Feedback is given to students during their Friday interviews, which take place at the end of their first week and every 2 to 3 weeks after that.

If a teacher thinks that a student should move up or down a level, he/she will discuss it with the other class teacher(s) and the student themself before a decision is made.

Students are given a written progress report before they leave (if they are staying for more than 2 weeks).  Long-stay students are also given a special tutorial and report 6 months into their stay. At the end of each term, students take a progress test and if they are staying on for the next term, they are interviewed by their main teacher.  The aim of the discussion is for the teacher and the student to agree which level the student should study at the following term.   

At that end of every students’ course, they are given an online exit test to show the progress they have made.


Conversation Club (optional)

4 - 5 pm - Tuesdays (weekly). This is optional, free of charge and is usually held at 'Steam', 5-7 minutes' walk from both Abon and Pembroke House. It is supervised by a teacher and gives you additional time to practise your English  conversation skills with other English Language Centre students in a  relaxed atmosphere.

GleELC (optional)

4 - 5 pm Wednesdays (weekly). GleELC is a choir. This is optional, free of charge and is held at Abon House. It is organised by a teacher in a relaxed atmosphere. The choir normally practises one piece per week. The lyrics are in English and the pieces range from pop songs to classical.


Job Club (optional)

Job Club (optional). On Wednesdays after school. Runs in 3 week cycles with a gap of a week in between. Aims to help students who are entitled to work in the UK find a job. We also offer some 1:1 support to help students with CVs and cover letters.