Welcome to St Albans School of Languages
is some useful information about the school and your stay in the
UK. Please take some time to read it. If you don't understand it,
please ask for help.
you want to know more about places to visit, things to do in the
area, jobs and exams, please look at the notice boards around the
Tourist Information Centre, located at the Alban Arena, has information
and friendly staff who can advise you on places to visit in St Albans
and the rest of the UK.
you need any help, advice, or even just a cup of coffee and a chat,
please feel free to ask Ian or any of your teachers.
hope you enjoy your stay in the UK and not only improve your English
but also make friends and go home with great memories.
only accept students who are 16 and older. If you are under 18 and
stay with a homestay family you must tell your host family where
you are going and what time you will be home. You must be home by
10pm. We do not organise a full time leisure programme and most
of our students are over 18 so you will be in lessons with students
If you cannot come to school for any reason you must tell the school,
or ask your homestay family to contact the school. If you are worried
about anything you can always speak to Ian or one of the teachers.
Soon after you arrive at the school you will meet with the Academic
Manager or the Director. This meeting helps us to get to know you
better and understand your needs and future plans. We will help
you plan your learning and make sure you get the most benefit out
of your time in the UK.
Please talk to your teachers: they will always be happy to try and
help. Ian, the Director, is available every day from 12.30 pm. If
necessary you can arrange a meeting with the Academic Manager, Laurence
Feather. Just come to the office, or if you prefer send an email
to Laurence - firstname.lastname@example.org
or to Ian Salkey - email@example.com
Lessons run every weekday morning from 9 – 12.30 pm with a
half hour break from 10.30 - 11.00. There are four levels: pre-intermediate,
intermediate, upper-intermediate and advanced. We will give you
a short test to decide which level is right for you. There is a
course book for each level, and teachers will use other resources
as well. Please see the more detailed descriptions of each level
for further information.
objectives at each level
the end of this level you will be able to:
• Understand the main point of a TV or radio programme if
the topic is familiar
• Deal with most situations which arise when you travel in
an English speaking country
• Exchange information about family, home, job/career, interests
and other familiar objects
• Describe simply your experiences and past events. Talk about
dreams and hopes
• Give brief reasons and explanations for opinions and plans
• Tell a story and say what you think about it
• Understand texts with everyday vocabulary and job related
• Write simply about familiar or personal topics
• Write personal letters/emails describing your experiences
Intermediate level (B1)
By the end of this level you will be able to
• Understand presentations and follow complex arguments on
• Understand the main points of TV new programmes
• Read articles and reports expressing a particular view or
• Talk regularly with native speakers
• Discuss familiar topics, giving your views
• give opinions and explain advantages and disadvantages
• Write clear detailed text on a wide range of subject
• Write an essay or report giving information or reasons for/against
• Write letters/emails about events and personal experiences
Upper Intermediate (B2)
By the end of this level you will be able to:
• Understand longer, less structured speech
• Understand most TV programmes and films
• Understand a wide range of demanding, longer text (fact
and fiction) and notice different styles
• Use language flexibly in social, academic and professional
• Give ideas and opinions and relate these to other speakers'
• Talk about complex subjects and develop arguments
• Express your views in clear, well-structured writing
• Write about complex issues and select an appropriate style
By the end of this level you will be able to:
• Understand with ease virtually everything heard or read
• Summarise information from different spoken and written
• Present and reconstruct arguments and accounts in a clear
and coherent style
• Express yourself fluently and accurately
• Understand the fines shades of meaning, even in complex
You may be asked to complete one or two pieces of homework a week.
We understand that some people are very busy and that it is difficult
to find time to do homework sometimes. If you are very keen to work
hard please ask your teacher for extra homework.
Your registration fee includes the cost of student books. You will
receive a new book each time we change books (about every 12 weeks)
or when you change level.
Please don’t write in your book, then other students will
be able to use it.
You can take a Cambridge examination while at the school. Many students
choose to take Cambridge First Certificate (FCE) or Cambridge Advanced
Examination (CAE). We offer these examinations three times a year:
March, June and December. We will give you information
about these exams regularly and we will recommend the best exam
for you to take. All lessons include some exam work. This will help
you even if you do not take an exam. The cost of entry for an exam
is approximately £130. You do not have to take an exam, it’s
your choice. Please talk to us if you need help to decide what to
A list of useful websites to help you with exam preparation is on
the noticeboard in every classroom.
At St Albans School of Languages we use the most enlightened post-communicative
methodology. Our approach is eclectic, drawing on what is perceived
to be useful to our students from past and present ideas about language
acquisition. The focus is on helping make learning meaningful to our
students by contextualising the language in real life situations.
The atmosphere in our classes is relaxed and friendly, with the teacher
being responsible for facilitating a rewarding and enjoyable language-study
experience in a safe, idea-sharing environment. We use a combination
of course books and other resources, including the teachers’
own created materials, which allows us to provide integrated lessons
based on current issues and culturally relevant and sensitive discussion
topics. Any given lesson will include at least three of the following
language points: speaking, listening, reading, writing, grammar, functional
language, vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, standard phrasings and
We recognise that sharing ideas is the main vehicle for language acquisition,
and that the language points mentioned above are necessary tools that
allow the user to shape their language. Our focus on them in class
will vary considerably from class to class depending on the level
and what tools are needed to express the ideas. For example, a grammar
point could take from zero to twenty per cent of a pre-intermediate
class and from zero to five percent of an advanced class.
The student book in use in a class at any given time serves as the
basis of the syllabus for that class until that book is finished and
another one begun. Additional materials are introduced at the discretion
of the teacher based on current student needs and desires.
We hope that you will be happy at the school and satisfied with
your lessons. If you have a complaint we will try to resolve it
quickly. Please talk to your teacher about it, or to any other member
of staff you feel comfortable with. If this does not resolve the
problem, please speak to Ian, the director of the school. We will
make a note of your complaint and discuss with you what to do next.
you are not happy with the way we have dealt with your complaint
you can contact an independent arbiter: Accreditation UK. As we
are members of English UK the complaint will be forwarded to them
Contact details: Accreditation UK, Customer Services Accreditation
Unit, Bridgewater House, 58 Whitworth Street, Manchester M1 6BB.
Further information can be found on this link:
The UK is a tolerant country and we expect our students to respect
this. At the same time you can expect tolerance from other people.
We offer free WiFi at the school (see notice boards for the code)
and expect everyone to respect this and to not access offensive
or send offensive material to others. If anyone inside or outside
the school ask you to do something you are not comfortable with
please discuss this with us.
There is a friendly and cooperative atmosphere in the school and
problems do not often happen. We expect students to show respect
to each other, and to staff, and to take responsibility for their
own learning. We expect students to attend lessons regularly, and
to be on time. Abusive or threatening behaviour towards staff and
students is not acceptable and will result in a formal warning from
the Director. A student who continues to behave in an inappropriate
way will be asked to leave the school.
St Albans School of Languages is committed to equal opportunities
for all staff and students, and opposes discrimination of any kind.
If you feel you are being discriminated against in any way please
speak to your teacher or to Ian. A copy of the school’s equal
opportunities policy in available on request.
and Attendance Policies
Students will be registered on the school data base on arrival.
Attendance is registered in the class register daily.
If you are unable to attend for any reason as planned, or if you
intend to take a holiday from studies, please inform the school
beforehand. If you are under 18 and you have not arrived at school
by 9.30 we will contact your family or host family.
in the UK
Life in a different country can be confusing at first!
hope the general information here is useful. Please ask us if you
need more information or if you don’t understand something.
You can talk to any of your teachers, or arrange a meeting with
Ian who will be happy to help you.
can give further advice on mobile phones, bank accounts, safety,
finding a doctor, dentist or place of worship, finding accommodation,
transport and other aspects of life in the UK. See also the noticeboards
in classrooms for contact details for local medical and hospital
in any foreign country can be one of life's best experiences. However
some people find the “culture shock” and whole experience
a little difficult in the first few weeks and can feel anxious.
Please talk to us if you are unhappy and we will try to help.
in the UK may be similar to life in your home country, but there
will also be many differences. Sometimes the differences will be
difficult to understand. At St. Albans School of Languages you will
meet people from many different countries, and you will have the
chance to enjoy and celebrate the differences in culture, behaviour
and language. You will find there is so much to learn, to talk about
and to laugh at. We hope you enjoy learning English with us.
UK is generally a safe place to live. Following some basic rules
will help you protect yourself and your belongings.
· Remember - cars drive on the left in the UK. Be careful
when you cross the road!
· Look after your money and mobile phone. Keep them in a
safe place while out - especially in Central London. Never put your
phone in the back pocket of your jeans or in an easily accessible
pocket of your backpack. Keep your bag close to you in a pub or
restaurant – don’t hang it on the back of a chair. Make
sure your bag is closed when shopping in busy places.
· When you take money from a cash point (ATM), don’t
let anyone see your pin. Try to use ATM’s in the daytime and
not on a quiet street at night.
· Always use licensed taxis. If you telephone for a taxi,
check that the driver already has your name and knows where you
are going. Do not get into a car if you are unsure.
· If you walk at night, try to walk in group of people. If
you are alone, walk along well-lit streets, facing oncoming cars.
· When you go out, it is a good idea to carry enough money
for a taxi and to make a phone call. It is also good to tell somebody
where you are going and when you will be back.
Illegal drugs include cannabis, ecstasy, LSD or amphetamines. It
is against the law to possess any of these.
If you are under 18 you cannot buy tobacco or alcohol.
It is against the law to carry any kind of weapon, including knives,
CS spray, guns or stun guns.
Some pubs stay open all day, many close at 11 pm. Some public places,
e.g. train stations are “alcohol free zones”. This means
you must not drink alcohol there. If you are over 18 you can buy
alcohol in a pub or shop. It is against the law to buy alcohol for
someone under 18. If you look younger than 21 you will be asked
for identification to prove your age. Smoking is not allowed inside
any pub or restaurant – there is often a smoking area outside.
All buildings have a “no smoking” rule.
If you need urgent help you can go to the Accident and
Emergency (A and E) department at your local hospital (Watford General
Hospital, 60 Vicarage Road, Watford WD18 0HB or Queen Elizabeth
I Hospital, Howlands, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, AL7 4HQ).
There is also an "minor injuries" clinic in St Albans
City Hospital, Waverley Road, St Albans AL3 5PN.
you need an ambulance, or in any other emergency, telephone 999.
on where you come from, you may be able to get free medical treatment
on the National Health Service (NHS). If you are from an EU country
you should get a European Health Insurance Card in your home country.
If you are not entitled to NHS treatment, you should take out medical
insurance before you leave home.
get NHS treatment, you must be registered with a doctor (sometimes
called a GP or General Practitioner). It is best to arrange this
as soon as possible after you arrive in the UK, once you have a
permanent address, as it may delay your treatment if you need to
see a doctor and are not registered. To find a doctor: go to www.nhs.uk
you qualify for NHS treatment, you can pay less for your dental
treatment. You can register with a dentist when you have registered
with a doctor. Some dentists only take private patients, so make
sure that the practice takes NHS patients before you register.
Direct is a 24 hour telephone service for general medical advice:
call 111 for non-urgent cases or advice, or see www.nhs.uk for general
It is a good idea to open a bank account as soon as you arrive in
the UK so that you can transfer money in and out, write cheques,
pay bills by standing order and direct debit and use a debit or
credit card to buy things and withdraw cash from ATMs.
It may be possible for you to continue to use your account in your
home country. You can use Visa, MasterCard and American Express
cards to withdraw cash from ATMs.
When you open a bank account, you will have to prove your identity
and also your address.
The British Bankers Association (BBA) has produced two leaflets
to help you: International students: opening a UK bank account and
Opening a bank account if you are new or returning to the UK. They
can be downloaded from the BBA's leaflets section of the www.bba.org.uk
If you need a letter to confirm you are currently a student at the
school we will be happy to provide one free of charge. Please come
to the school office and ask Ian.
St Albans City Station is about 15 minutes’ walk from the
school. There are regular trains to London. The fast train to St
Pancras International takes about 30 minutes. The train also stops
at Farringdon, Blackfriars, and London Bridge, from where you can
take the Underground (tube). If you are between 16 and 25 you can
get a Young Person’s Railcard which costs £30–
ask for a form at the Railway Station. This will give you 1/3 off
many rail fares in the UK. Many other cheap fares are available:
– always check at the ticket office before you book your ticket:
you may save money if you travel in a group of 4 or more and check
about restrictions on your ticket, with off peak tickets you cannot
travel back to St Albans until 7pm.
bus stops in the town centre are on St Peter’s Street (the
main road opposite Tesco). There is a taxi rank on St Peter’s
street and also at the train station. We can recommend local taxi
firms if you need to telephone for a taxi.
www.trainline.co.uk - Information on train travel throughout
www.intalink.org.uk - Very useful site forinformation on
travel in Hertfordshire.
A journey planner works out your route, how long it will take, which
bus or train to catch, and if some walking is neededwww.nationalexpress.com
Information on coach travel in the UK.
- Information on travel in London.