- Am I able to get support for my child’s additional learning needs?
We are an inclusive learning environment and will implement additional requirements as much as possible. If your child has additional mobility requirements or has a long term health condition, we would strongly encourage you to let us know as soon as possible prior to arrival to ensure that all the relevant support arrangements can be put in place in advance and help to make the transition to Bell as smooth as possible.
It is also worth noting that if your child’s disability or health condition might have implications for their living arrangements, it is important to ensure we have as much time as possible to arrange suitable accommodation with you due to residences often being in high demand.
- What should young learners pack?
Your child does not need a lot of clothing, but please remember that it can sometimes be cold and wet in Britain. A number of activities will take place outside, so your child is likely to get a little dirty or wet depending on the weather conditions.
We recommend that students bring:
- Casual clothes for everyday wear
- Warm sweaters
- Something to wear at a party or disco
- Walking shoes
- A warm coat or jacket (preferably waterproof)
- Jogging pants and sweatshirt
- Sportswear and sports shoes (non-marking soled shoes must be worn in all indoor sports halls).
For Winter Explorer at St Albans:
- Hat, scarves and gloves
- Warm waterproof coat/jacket
- Old trainers
Site specific items
At Bell Tudor Hall there is a swimming pool. If your child wants to swim they should bring:
- Swimming costume or trunks
- Towels for washing and swimming
- Goggles (if required)
For specific Academies, we recommend they bring the following items:
- Trainers suitable for astro-turf (artificial grass) surfaces
- Tennis racket
- Football boots (no metal studs)
- Football trainers, suitable for indoor/astro-turf surfaces
- Shin pads
- Goal keeper gloves
- Waterproof jacket
- Black t-shirt
- White t-shirt
- Suitable footwear
Your child should only bring one suitcase, in addition to their hand luggage. Please check with your airline regarding weight restrictions for luggage on both outward and return flights and remember to attach your Bell luggage labels.
Please note that Bell cannot be responsible for the safety of valuable items and students wishing to bring them do so at their own risk.
Your child must bring their own towels, soap and shampoo, as well as a hairdryer and adapter if desired. Paper hand towels are provided in bathrooms.
- How many students are there in a class?
The maximum class size is 14.
- How are students placed in classes?
We want to make sure students get the best out of their learning experience. That’s why we test all students on their first day so we can allocate students to classes based on their ability.
We also consider age ranges and nationality mix too.
- Are academies led by a professional?
Yes. Our academies are delivered by professionals with many years of industry experience, giving students the chance to specialise in one particular area of interest.
As they are very popular, we ask for Academies to be booked in advance to avoid disappointment. They are completely optional, and are available at a additional cost.
- Are electives led by a professional?
Providing our high-quality learning experiences takes great people with wide-ranging skills and talents. Our electives are led by people who have a passion or strong interest in the area. However, they will not always be qualified as a professional in the discipline.
You may be interested in our Academies that are led by highly trained instructors. For an additional cost, these can be added on to any Explorer programme.
- Can students choose electives before the course starts?
We would be happy to log any requests for electives, just let us know!
Every school has electives that are guaranteed to be delivered throughout the course. However, please be aware that a wider selection may be made available once staff and students have arrived at school, so options are subject to change.
- Where can I study?
You can choose from two of the most famous and iconic cities in the UK:
Cambridge is a traditional university city with a global reputation for academic excellence. Over a fifth of its residents are students, giving the city a modern, cosmopolitan feel. Our Cambridge school has been home to Bell for nearly 60 years. It offers a picturesque study environment and a supportive student community. Located within easy reach of the historic city centre, it features impressive study, social and leisure facilities including a large contemporary learning centre, student games room and indoor and outdoor dining areas.
London is one of the most diverse and multicultural cities in the world. Study in the capital and be inspired by the unique combination of rich history and global innovation. At Bell London, you’ll enjoy a contemporary and modern school in the heart of the city, next to the famous River Thames.
- How many students are there in a class?
There is a maximum of 14 in one class in Cambridge (10 average), and a maximum of 12 in London (7 average).
- How old are your students?
Students on our English 16+ courses range from 16 to 68, with an average age of 24 at Bell Cambridge and 30 at Bell London. We will always make students feel welcome and will find a course that’s right for you.
- What is the nationality mix?
We welcomed 98 different nationalities to our schools last year, so we can safely say there is a wonderful and diverse nationality mix at both our Bell Cambridge and Bell London schools.
- Our approach to learning
For nearly 70 years Bell has provided learning experiences to students from around the world, helping to change the lives of over one million people. This has led us to develop ‘The Bell Way’.
Our unique teaching approach has been influenced by six decades of experience and shaped by an Emeritus Professor from the University of Cambridge. The six principles below are our commitment to your success; they will make you a better learner, build your confidence and ensure you achieve your learning goals.
- High expectations, we support you to do the very best you can
- Clarity of learning, we have clear learning goals and teaching methods
- Unique individual, we treat every student as an individual
- Learning everywhere, you will learn in and out of the classroom
- Assessment as learning, we assess and provide feedback about your progress every step of the way
- Organisational learning, we continue to learn as an organisation to provide you with the very best learning experiences
- How much study is expected outside of class?
Bell students are encouraged to learn everywhere, so your learning never stops when you are immersed in the language!
We do expect commitment from you to achieve your goals – every week, every lesson and in every activity – to ensure you get the best from your course and time with us. There is daily homework and our learning centres have a range of resources to help you.
- What is the ‘Language in Action’ programme?
This is what we call our social programme on our adult courses. At Bell Cambridge and Bell London there is a free programme of organised activities, as well as a free excursion every other Saturday. Find out more here
- What is Bell Online?
Bell Online is a useful tool available to all our adult course students at Bell. It is a powerful tool that allows you to interact with teachers and other students in a digital environment, including: a bank of learning resources, weekly plans written by your teacher, shared materials, tutorial notes, interactive activities, uploaded work or audio recordings, and your progression charts. It also offers additional support to help maximise your experience at Bell, like up-to-date social programme calendars, local information and recommended places to visit.
Before your arrival at Bell
Bell Online allows you to start studying with us even before you leave home. Once we have your confirmed booking, you will be sent log-in details. Once logged-in the system will guide you through a series of simple steps, beginning with completing an English test. Bell Online will then use your answers to select a range of language development activities tailored to your level of English. You will also have access to a range of other study activities, including weekly lessons based on topical news stories.
Bell Online also has information on your accommodation, a map showing you how to get to the school, and local information such as bus maps will be at your fingertips.
During your time at Bell
Once in school, you can use Bell Online to book activities on our free Language in Action Programme. You will also be able to access academic information such as your timetable, weekly study plan, worksheets, and homework and you will also be able to submit pieces of writing.
Following your bi-weekly one-to-one meetings with your teacher any suggestions they make for further improvement will be recorded and monitored in your online Learner Journal.
After your time at Bell
When you reach the end of your stay with Bell and you receive your report and certificate, you will be able to look back on your learner journey, as you will have free access to Bell Online for three months. You will also be set further online study for when you get home, based on your final level and any areas you still need to develop.
- How do I log into my Bell Online account?
We provide you with your own Bell Online account, once your booking has officially been confirmed! Please be aware that it can sometimes take up to 48 hours after you receive your details, for the system to register your account.
If you are still experiencing difficulties accessing Bell Online, please contact our academic team at your school, who be able to help you and/or reset your account details.
Heather Humphreys, Learning & Teaching Manager – email@example.com
Jonathan Richards, Principal of Bell London – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Do I need an IELTS certificate?
If you are from outside the European Union, you will need a UKVI IELTS (academic) certificate in order to obtain a Tier 4 student visa. You will need a minimum score of 4.5 (overall and in all bands) and your certificate must be dated within the last 2 years.
If you do not require a Tier 4 visa to come and study in the UK (e.g. if you are a European Union student) then other English tests are acceptable – if you have taken an English language test, but are not sure if it is acceptable, please contact us. In addition if you do not require a Tier 4 visa then you can take our internal test – please contact us for further information.
- Does Bell guarantee places at university?
Yes, on successful competition of our University Foundation Programme we guarantee you a place on an undergraduate course in the UK. *Minimum pass grade of 40%, a score of 5.5 or above in each component of the IELTS test and an attendance record of at least 90%.
- Does Bell arrange university visits?
We arrange visits to the most popular UK university cities including Oxford, Cambridge, Lancaster and London.
We have a variety of university partners which have been carefully selected based on their ranking, reputation, facilities location and the wide variety of degree courses they offer.
- Can I progress to a university outside of the UK?
Yes, our students secure places at UK universities, but also on degree courses taught in English in other countries including Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA and Canada. We will help you explore all the options you are interested in.
- How much studying is expected outside of class?
At Bell, students are encouraged to learn everywhere, so in a sense the learning never stops! We have a Student Agreement which states the commitment we expect – every week, every lesson, every activity. This ensures you get the best from your course and time with us. There is daily homework and we have 10,000 resources in the learning centre to help you.
- How will I be assessed on the Foundation programme?
You will be assessed through coursework and examinations designed to ensure that you achieve the learning outcomes set for each module. Your learning will be supported by tutor feedback which will also provide an indication of your level of achievement. We will always schedule your workload carefully and make clear the criteria for assessment. In the final weeks, your language skills are assessed separately through the IELTS examination.
Your overall mark on the course will be the average of total marks in the academic skills module and your chosen subject modules. These modules are equally weighted. To be awarded a pass on the University Foundation Programme students must have:
- an overall mark of 40% or above
- a mark of 40% or above in each module
- an attendance rate over the whole course of 90% or above
On passing the course you will be awarded a certificate which states your final grade.
70% or above is a Distinction
60 – 69% is a Merit
50 – 59% is a Credit
40 – 49% is a Pass.
- Who assesses the Foundation programme?
The external examiners for the University Foundation Programme are members of the academic staff at the University of Essex. They act as moderators of coursework and examinations and they consider and approve programmes of work and make final decisions about the marks and grades to be awarded. They visit Bell several times during the course to meet all our students and staff.
- Should I apply via UCAS or directly to universities?
Some universities accept applications direct through their international office via an application form, others may prefer applications through UCAS . We will advise you on the best way to proceed and give you help and guidance through all stages of the application process.
- How many students are there in a class?
There is a maximum of 12 students in one class at Bell Cambridge.
- What will I study in one term of the Master’s programme?
In each term you will focus on: academic language development, study skills and exam preparation. In addition, you will receive learning support from your tutor.