The programme is designed to prepare international students for GCSE, IFP and A-Level courses. This is a one year programme for the academic year prior to them joining the relevant course.
In addition to strengthening English language skills, the Academic Preparation Course helps students to familiarise themselves with the challenges of learning in a typical British classroom environment. This includes skills development in areas such as pair work, group work, independent reading and discussion work.
In addition to a prominent focus on the development of English language, there is also an ‘enrichment’ element of the course, designed to enhance the experience of studying in central London. This enrichment programme involves a regular interactive session (often in the form of an external excursion) that requires the students to explore, and interact with, aspects of British culture. For example, students attend local art galleries and museums to enrich their understanding of British history, creativity and innovation. These sessions also provide an abundance of opportunities for the students to practise their English in real-life contexts, helping them to grow in confidence and to feel part of the local community.
As well as English lessons, Academic Preparation Course students also study:
These classes help the learners to develop essential academic skills, while at the same time, they are gaining an in-depth understanding of the variety of lesson content that will become available to them after they have successfully completed the course. To help the students develop into healthy, responsible and socially aware young adults, Sport (in conjunction with the GCSE students) and Personal Health and Social Education (PHSE) also form part of the Academic Preparation Course curriculum.
Overall, the aim of the Academic Preparation Course is to give students a solid foundation of academic skills and academic expectations, and to familiarise them with the demands (including pastoral needs) of a UK-based study course.
In terms of Reading, students make weekly visits to the College library where they choose a book to be read as part of homework. After reading their chosen book, they must complete a review before the next week’s library visit. The Online library is also available to broaden their range of reading while making meaningful use of e-technology and on-screen information. Finally, students use a weekly magazine to stay in touch with world events as they develop their reading skills.
All of these activities aim to diversify the range of educational experiences; they also enrich the range of language contexts to which the students are exposed. The increased range of contexts and vocabulary building this promotes, helps students to get ready for their IELTS test as it prepares them to express themselves on a variety of topics.