There is a huge number of English Language schools and centres in the UK. Most websites will tell you there are over 400 schools! However, which one is the best? Moreover, how do you know? To find out, we are going to look at the top-ranked schools according to the EL Gazette.

Top 10 Best English Language Schools in England 2019

This is not an easy question to answer! In fact, the top 10 schools in England are either ranked joint number 1 or joint number 2. In any event, it depends what type of courses you are looking for: Do you want exam preparation or a summer camp for a 10-year-old? Let’s take a closer look!

  • LSI Portsmouth
  • LSI Portsmouth is a friendly, large, year-round English Language School specialising in language courses for adults (aged 18 and over). It offers a huge variety of different courses such as: Full-time General English and 30+, IELTS Preparation, Cambridge Exam Preparation, OET Preparation, Business English, Specialist English, and University Preparation. It has 55 classrooms over 8 floors.

  • Wimbledon School of English
  • Wimbledon school of English is among the oldest English language schools in the UK, first opening its doors in 1964. The school has 21 classrooms on three floors and offers a wide variety of different courses for juniors and adults from General English to Exam Preparation to Medical English Courses.

  • Summer Boarding Courses, Shipley
  • SBC is a residential summer school, which takes students between the ages of 8 and 17 years old. SBC was first established in the summer of 2008 and students who enrol can currently look at taking courses at Eton College, Headington Oxford, Oxford, Oxford College, and Canford.

  • ELC Bristol
  • ELC Bristol is located in the South West of England, with 18 classrooms between 2 buildings. It takes students from the age of 16 and offers General English, Exam Preparation, and even English plus Drama and English for the musical theatre!

    With scores of 9.47 out of 10, the next 6 schools are all ranked joint no.2, according to EL Gazette

  • Bell International, Cambridge
  • Established in 1955 by Frank Bell after the war, Bell is located in Cambridge. The teaching approach used is the self-created ‘The Bell Way’. In 1972, the Bell Educational Trust was founded, and the Bell foundation in 2012 (A charity aimed at helping disadvantaged children living in the UK).

  • Discovery Summer, London
  • Discovery Summer is a family-run business, established in 2002. The courses are aimed at younger learners: children (from as young as 5), teenagers, and families. The courses run through the summer and can include a variety of activities such as horse riding, dancing, or even fencing!

  • English in Chester
  • Located in Chester, in the North of England, on the Welsh border, in a building which is over 230 years old. English in Chester was the first British council accredited school in Chester. It offers a variety of courses from General English to Exam preparation.

  • IH London
  • Established in 1953 by John and Brita Haycraft, IH London was founded on the notion that international understanding could be promoted through language learning. In addition to a variety of English language courses, IH London offers CELTA and DELTA training.

  • Lake School of English, Oxford
  • Lake School of English, Oxford offers General English and Exam Preparation to students from the age of 16. The school has been running for 40 years and can be found in the heart of Oxford a short walk from the parks and gardens of the city.

  • Norwich Inst for Language Education (NILE)
  • NILE specialises in teacher training qualifications, offering CELTA, DELTA, and an MA Programme. The school even has a course on Story and Storytelling for Language Teachers! NILE is located in the medieval city of Norwich, in the North-East of England.

But which English Language School is the best?

With perfect scores, the top 4 schools are all ranked joint no.1, according to EL Gazette.

Institution Score Rank
LSI Portsmouth 10/10 Joint No.1
Wimbledon School of English 10/10 Joint No.1
Summer Boarding Courses, Shipley 10/10 Joint No.1
ELC Bristol 10/10 Joint No.1
Bell International, Cambridge 9.47/10 Joint No.2
Discovery Summer, London 9.47/10 Joint No.2
English in Chester 9.47/10 Joint No.2
IH London 9.47/10 Joint No.2
Lake School of English, Oxford 9.47/10 Joint No.2
Norwich Inst for Language Education (NILE) 9.47/10 Joint No.2

How do you decide which English Language School is the Best?

The EL Gazette is a good place to start! The EL Gazette is one of the most respected magazines in the world for English language teaching professionals. It is available in 160 countries, prints 1500 copies a month, as well as being available in digital format. According to their website, their digital edition had a whopping readership of 50,000 in 2018!

Every year they publish a fair and impartial list of the best schools in the UK based on the summary statements from British Council inspection reports as part of the Accreditation UK scheme. These statements are publicly available and can be accessed here.

What is Accreditation UK?

Accreditation UK is a quality assurance scheme for English language course providers. The scheme is run by the British Council together with English UK and it aims to give assurance of quality to international students who are studying or plan to study English in the UK.

In order to be accredited by the scheme, language centres must undergo a rigorous inspection process, widely regarded as the toughest in the industry. The inspection includes an assessment of five areas which are broken down into fourteen different criteria:

“an

  • Teaching
  • Course Design
  • Care of Students
  • Accommodation
  • Premises and Facilities
  • Leisure Opportunities
  • Staff Management
  • Student Administration
  • Strategic and Quality Management
  • Publicity
  • Learning Resources
  • Academic Staff Profile
  • Academic Management
  • Learner Management

Schools which accept juniors are also inspected on a fifteenth criterion: care of under 18s. For each criterion, the inspectors give one of three judgements: met, not met or strength. If a centre has two or more criteria which are “not met” within an area, they will normally be judged as needing improvement in that area.

So how does the EL Gazette rank schools?

The EL Gazette uses this information to calculate each school’s score by subtracting the number of areas which need improvement from the total number of strengths. So, for example, if a school had 6 areas of strength and 1 area which needed improvement, their final score would be 5. The average score for schools in the scheme is 4 out of 15. The top schools in the country all scored a perfect 14 out of 14 or 15 out of 15. To make it fair, this score is then converted into a percentage.

How did LSI Portsmouth get a perfect score?

Let’s go through the fourteen criteria and look at why LSI Portsmouth got a perfect score for each one.

  • Teaching
  • “LSI

    LSI Portsmouth had good results in this category because our lessons were found to be engaging, well-planned and well-managed. Teachers provided good explanations and examples to students, and used a variety of teaching techniques in order to meet students’ needs. During focus group meetings, our students all said how much they appreciated our great teachers. Check out our Full-time General English and 30+, IELTS Preparation, Cambridge Exam Preparation, OET Preparation, Business English, Specialist English, and University Preparation.

  • Course Design
  • “lsi

    Our courses were found to be clearly-structured and well-suited to our students’ needs and interests. The inspectors also noted that we try hard to make sure our students also develop independent study strategies to make sure that they can continue to learn and improve even after they leave us! They also commented on the range of learning opportunities that we provide for students outside of the classroom including accompanied lunch for our Business English and 30+ students, structured class visits to local places of interest, and our conversation club and job club.

  • Care of Students
  • “LSI

    The inspectors found that LSI Portsmouth looked after our students’ safety and security well, with “an admirable level of care and concern for students”. We have an excellent student welfare team who are here to listen to any student problems and help with any student issues. There is always someone available to deal with any student concern, no matter how big or small!

  • Accommodation
  • “LSI

    LSI Portsmouth was found to have excellent accommodation facilities with high levels of student satisfaction in this area. It was noted that we inspect all our accommodation to make sure it meets high standards, we are good at identifying any problems and resolving them and our providers are given written information and advice which is comprehensive and helpful. Check out our accommodation options!

  • Premises and Facilities
  • “Girl

    During our inspection, LSI Portsmouth was noted to have well-maintained, clean and comfortable premises with professional and pleasant classrooms, attractive and well-furnished common areas including an “extremely attractive” student lounge where students can grab a coffee or socialise and play pool, and a range of affordable nearby eating options.

  • Leisure Opportunities
  • “

    The inspectors appreciated the range of leisure activities we provide for our students – from telling them about interesting activities happening in the local area, to helping them with independent travel to our “very full” social programme which includes activities almost every day and an excursion at the weekend. Check out our full social programme!

  • Staff Management
  • “the

    LSI Portsmouth was judged to have many areas of strength here. This is because all of our staff have clear responsibilities, are recruited with care, are guided by excellent human resources policies, are given regular and thorough appraisals and are engaged in a strong tradition of continuous professional development.

  • Student Administration
  • “LSI

    The inspectors found “a high level of student satisfaction with the professional and flexible attitude of staff in terms of customer service in all areas”. They appreciated the fact that we liaise with students both before and after their courses to make sure their needs are met and that we strive to offer a personal and individual service to our students. Furthermore, inspectors could see that “students’ satisfaction with the school is viewed as important”.

  • Strategic and Quality Management
  • “Emma

    LSI Portsmouth has a clear and meaningful mission statement which is “to be the best English language school we can be and to give our students the best experience they can have in every aspect of their stay while they are at LSI. We strive to be the best in all we do”. The inspectors found that all LSI Portsmouth staff were committed to this and it was evident in every aspect of the school.
    In addition, LSI Portsmouth was found to be well-staffed and well-organised with good channels of communication all of which ensures that everything runs smoothly for our students at all times of the year.

  • Publicity
  • “

    The inspection found that all of our publicity materials are accurate and informative and ensure that we give prospective students a clear idea of what our school is really like.

  • Learning Resources
  • “

    Our learning resources were judged to be excellent with points of strength awarded in every category. This is because teachers have access to a huge variety of high-quality up-to-date materials, we have well-equipped classrooms (many of which have interactive whiteboards), and we have well-organised fully-staffed study centres for students to use after school to continue their learning if they want to.

  • Academic Staff Profile
  • “lsi

    LSI Portsmouth performed well in this category because we have a great team of well-qualified teachers, with almost half holding the highest English language teaching qualification possible. The inspectors found our teaching team to have a “very good range of teaching expertise and experience which is relevant to the range of courses and levels taught” and noted that we offer thorough training and preparation to all of our teachers to make sure they are equipped to teach effectively on all of our courses.
    They also recognised that our academic managers are all highly-experienced and highly-qualified.

  • Academic Management
  • “Girl

    The inspectors found LSI Portsmouth to have effective management systems whereby our four Directors of Studies offered teachers excellent support and training including regular lesson observations, helping teachers to develop and improve and assuring quality and great performance for students.

  • Learner Management
  • “lsi

    LSI Portsmouth performed extremely well in this category because it was clear that we strive to really understand our students’ needs and we take care to place our students correctly. We also make sure we monitor our students’ progress closely and we provide additional support when necessary.

Want to learn more about us?

To find out more about who we are, check out our YouTube Channel, Twitter feed, Blog, Instagram and Facebook page. If you have any questions, get in touch with us! We’d love to talk to you and tell you more about why LSI Portsmouth is such a lovely school! Contact: [email protected].

Did you know?

Our maximum class size of 12 is smaller than the UK Average – 14 or even 16 students.

Our courses are more intensive (22.5 hours per week) than most UK schools.

Click here to find out more!