A student receives their certificate

International students who are aged between 11-16 years of age have the chance to quickly improve their English skills at Whitgift Summer School. This is thanks to our commitment to having small classe sizes and offering students lots of support from our highly qualified and experienced English language teachers. Here, we look in detail at what teenage English language students and junior English language learners can expect on our summer Intensive General English language course. 

Let’s start right from the beginning! Before students arrive at Whitgift Summer School, they must take an English test. This test is sent to every student with clear and simple instructions on what do to. By completing a test before they begin their course, we can place students in the correct class straight away, which means students have their first lesson on Monday at 09:00 and can quickly feel comfortable in their new class. Elsewhere, students are placed in class by their level of English and also their age: students who are aged 11, 12 and 13 years of age are placed in the ‘Lower School’ and those who are aged 14, 15 and 16 are in the ‘Upper School’.

Students pose for their class picture at the beginning of the week at Whitgift Summer School

On the first Monday, we take a picture of each class. Here is a picture from the 'St Paul's' class in Week 3 of the 2019 summer school.

Lessons 1 and 2: General English 09:00 – 11:30
The first two lessons of the day are focused on developing students’ confidence in reading, listening, writing and speaking in English. This is achieved by making sure students communicate as much as possible through a variety of interesting, stimulating and engaging English language activities. To fully support our students and understand more about what they think they need help with, we ask them to complete a short form so they can tell us the areas of English they really want to focus on. In this way, their teacher has a very clear picture of three things:

1.       the actual level of each student according to the pre-course test 

2.       how each student feels about their English ability 

3.       what the English language learning priorities are for the class as a whole

The first lesson begins at 09:00 and finishes at 10:00 and is followed by a 15-minute break (10:00 – 10:15). During the break, students receive a snack (some fruit!), can enjoy the social rooms that have comfortable sofas and table tennis tables, or enjoy the benefits of the play areas, which include an outdoor basketball area. Between 10:15 – 11:15 the students have their second English language class, before having another break between 11:15 – 11:30.

A group of three students work together in class

Small class sizes means that students can work in pairs or small groups

Lesson 3: British Culture 11:30 – 12:30
At 11:30 the girls and boys have their British Culture lesson, which is linked to the planned excursions that week. The first excursion the girls and boys attend is on Wednesday afternoon, which means the students have 3 British Culture lessons before the trip. If on a Wednesday afternoon the students are going on a river boat cruise up the River Thames to Greenwich followed by the trip on the London Eye, then the teacher will focus on those two areas for the lessons and this may involve some history, geography as well as vocabulary work. Similarly, if the students are heading Cambridge on the Saturday excursion, then the British Culture lesson on Thursday and Friday will focus on Cambridge. The idea is that each trip becomes more meaningful for the students as they are fully prepared and have a better awareness of the place they are visiting.

Students enjoying a punt in Cambridge

Our students enjoying their visit to Cambridge in 2019

Lesson 4 and 5: Progressive Skills in action 13:30 – 15:45
After lunch, the students have afternoon lessons between 13:30 – 15:45. The internationa; students are in the same class as the morning lessons but are also joined by boys and girls from Whitgift School and Old Palace of John Whitgift. In these afternoon lessons, the students are put into groups of around 5, with 1 English speaking student joining 4 international students. Each week, the students are given a project to work on and they have to present their findings on Friday afternoon at the Progressive Skills in Action exhibition. This type of class offers international students the chance have real-life authentic Englishspeaking interactions with English-speaking students and also an opportunity to work on their soft skills.

Students getting involved in communicative activity

Students getting involved in a communicative activity during a Progressive Skills in Action exhibition

Once the lessons are finished, all the students take part in our Activity & Academy programme. Find out more here.

Every Saturday, we send parents a personalized weekly progress report on the language areas that their son/daughter has covered during the week. Teachers also leave comments on students’ development and give advice on what they can do to improve their English in the next week. At the end of the course, students receive an 'End of Course Report', which gives detailed information about their development in speaking, listening, reading and writing as well as in grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. Finally, the teachers give advice for further development, so that each English language student who studies on our summer camp is aware of the areas they need to focus on after they leave Whitgift.

A student receives their certificate

Students receive their leaving certificate and end of course report at the weekly graduation ceremony.

Every Friday we celebrate the week’s academic achievements at our graduation ceremony. When students come to the end of their English language holiday with us, they receive their leaving certificate and end of course report from their teacher up on stage. This is a fantastic occasion with the whole school in attendance and a brilliant way to celebrate each and every student’s time at Whitgift.

students gathering for graduation on Friday

The graduation ceremony takes place in our Concert Hall

Goal Number 1
Our main aim is that each student completes their summer school course at Whitgift feeling more confident in their own English language ability. We also hope that each student leaves us feeling more motivated with English as a foreign language and that the memories they create here inspire them to great things in the English language classroom and beyond!

If you have any questions, please do send us an email – a member of the Whitgift Short Courses team will respond. Alternatively, please do book a call with us and we can speak with you directly about your son or daughter’s English language holiday with us.