ELC Bristol: #1 Ranked UK School

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

Read the EL Gazette article where John explains what makes ELC Bristol the number 1 ranked UK school.

John & Margaret Duncan


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.

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).


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 you will be following as they choose the course book that they will be using themselves. Every week your Lesson 1 teacher makes a programme for your class, which is structured to offer a balanced programme covering grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and work on the 4 skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. It is designed to be flexible, 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.


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 progress report 2 weeks before they leave and if they are staying for at least 6 months, at the end of their first term.  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)

3.45 - 4.45 pm - Tuesdays (weekly). This is optional, free of charge and is usually held in the 'Alma Tavern' or in 'Costa Cafe', 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.


Job Club (optional)

Job Club (optional). On Wednesdays after school - every 2 weeks (weekly during the summer courses with one week's break after 3 weeks). Runs in cycles with 3 sessions per cycle. 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.