Intensive English Programme

ESOL Certification: Learn English at a Leading Boarding School in the UK

English as a Foreign Language

A Legacy of Success in Teaching English including ESOL (IELTS)

With our experience and expertise in teaching English to non-native speakers, St George’s is a popular choice for international students who want to improve their English and earn ESOL certification (IELTS) through living and studying in a friendly, home-from-home environment in the UK.

Who is the ESOL programme for?

International students who are 15 – 16 years old (Year 11) for whom English is not their first language, and who want to experience life in a highly regarded girls’ school in Edinburgh.

The programme is suitable as:

  • A preparation year for students wishing to undertake academic study in the UK at Sixth Form level (Years 12 and 13) but who do not currently have the level of English language or subject knowledge required.
  • Students looking for a year abroad to improve their English.
“There is a real community in Houldsworth House and it has been frequently called a “home away from home”- well, it truly is! We all know each other really well and get on with each other, which means we make lasting friendships across year groups.”
Tara L6

What is English as a second or other language (ESOL)?

Our ESOL provision is designed so you can quickly achieve a high standard of English.

  • You will be given support on an individual or small group basis
  • You will be given support in all your chosen academic subjects
  • You will be taught and prepared for the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations

These are English Language qualifications recognised by universities worldwide, including the First Certificate in English (FCE), Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).


What is the structure of the intensive English Language development year?

In addition to ESOL lessons, you will study 6 academic subjects and have a period of independent study. Each ESOL lesson is 40 minutes and there are 7 ESOL lessons a week. The academic subjects leading to GCSE. Some of these will be at exam level and others will be non-examined.

You will live in our boarding house, Houldsworth House, on the school grounds, within easy walking distance of the city centre and a 20-minute drive from Edinburgh airport. Around 50 boarders from 10 to 18 years of age live in Houldsworth, where they are looked after by our friendly team of boarding house staff.

International students form an important part of the St George's community, and we welcome girls from all over the world.

You will be fully involved in the daily life of the school. As well as your academic studies, you will take part in the school’s sports, co-curricular, and social programmes. You’ll also go on school trips and attend events on university preparation, careers and life skills.

Many of our international students first studied the one-year intensive English programme with us and achieved their ESOL certification before going on to achieve outstanding national examination results with us in our Sixth Form,

What is our assessment process for ESOL?

You will be assessed in English speaking, listening, writing, reading and grammar before decisions are taken regarding the right ESOL level and most appropriate academic curriculum areas for you to study.

In addition to your ESOL assessment, you will complete entrance tests assessing general skills. Places are allocated on the basis of performance in these assessments, an interview and evidence from a school report.

One-Year Intensive English Development Programme

Make an Enquiry

Book a visit to St George’s or arrange a call with our Admissions Team

Contact the admissions office who will be delighted to arrange a remote online meeting with you to discuss your daughter's education. T: +44 (0)131 311 8008, E:

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