We are pleased you are considering Birmingham College as an option for your English Language course in the UK.

We are a specialist English language training centre with expertise in General English, IELTS, English for Academic Purposes, English for Specific Purposes and English for Vocational Purposes. We offer a friendly environment and provide the training and education students desire and need.

Learners who join us for ELL programmes become part of a “family” and our small class sizes encourage you to speak and be active. The teachers are interested in your ideas and opinions as well as helping you develop your English language skills. The classes give you ideas for how you can do self-study outside college. Activities in lessons also help you develop the critical thinking skills you need for the higher education courses that many students are preparing for. To motivate students who stay 3 months or longer you have the option to work for an Birmingham College English Language Certificate or Diploma by keeping a portfolio of writing, presentations, projects and other assessed work. This is in addition to the Certificate of Attendance and Progress Report all students have.

You will see from the course information that students can start on any Monday and join classes after they have an assessment to find which level it is best for them to work at. Another feature is that full-time English courses are Monday to Thursday. This means you can travel and explore on Fridays as well as at the weekend. Or you can come into college on Fridays for self-study and some extra support with a teacher.

For those of you who are living locally and need IELTS for career development but have difficulties reaching your target bands, 1-1 consultation sessions can be booked with expert teachers, including feedback from a former IELTS examiner. Please see the courses information section for more information.

Since 2010 all our full-time English language students who aimed to study at university have gone on to higher education undergraduate or post graduate programmes. Many students stay in the area to study at local universities so can visit us. They also recommend Birmingham College to their friends and relatives so we really are one big family.

I hope this page answers all your questions and provides the necessary information you need to make the right decision to study English Language with us.

Should you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact the College.

Rafael Salguero



Birmingham College is accredited by the British Council for English Language Courses. British Council is pleased with our College facilities, management, teaching, learning and welfare. Birmingham College is also a member of Accreditation English UK, which is managed by and in partnership with British Council.



Our ELT Team has been selected for their supportive and holistic approach as we are aware of the pressure students can face when coming to a new country. Birmingham College’s course organiser has 40 years’ experience of ELT and has been involved with IELTS preparation programmes since their introduction in 1989. He has also been involved with Summer Schools, Foundation Programmes, Young Learners’ Courses and English for Specific Purposes.

The Assistant Director of Studies has experience of teaching at a university pre-sessional programme, has designed courses and gained an insight into learners needs and backgrounds when representing the College overseas. The current team has experience of teaching and living overseas in Spain, Greece, The UAE, Columbia, Russia, Iraq and China as well as having taught at university and British Council accredited language schools in the UK. Our teachers are familiar with IELTs and the Cambridge main suite examination requirements. This combination of skills means that the College can combine the best of the traditional and latest developments in language learning.

Our strength is that we work closely together and are always happy to support you inside as well as outside the classroom. Whatever your question, query or problem, don’t hesitate to ask us. Our teachers will provide you with any individual guidance that you might need.


Option 1: General English Language Programme (16 hours per week):

This programme covers the skill areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing as well as building grammar, knowledge and punctuation skills.

The topic and the students are the focus of the week’s work, not just a textbook focused approach.

This course includes an element of Learner Independence Training as this aims to develop critical thinking skills and to take responsibility for one’s own learning.

‘General English’ does not mean that you do not have a specific reason for improving your English Language skills. In fact, our teaching team will always try to focus on your interests and advise you on how to continue your personal development.

If you are planning to stay for a short time, then you can focus on your personal interests by following the Individual Learning Plan.

In class, you will often work with a partner or small groups, but we also expect you to complete homework tasks and work individually on areas of interest outside class.

*If you want extra out of your time at College, we provide a General English Language Programme with IELTS. This course provides you with the chance to develop some Academic English skills and become familiar with the skills and strategies required for the IELTS exam; a key requirement of English Language Level in order for you to gain a place at a UK University.

Course Features:

Small class sizes: we have a maximum of 12 students per class, with an average class size of 5-7 students per class.

You do not need to buy any textbooks for classes as books are available and loaned out to you and we supply any additional materials that may be needed.

Flexibility: if there are several classes, you can study in the skills class that is more suitable for your level. For example, you could be in the Pre-Intermediate class for ‘Writing Skills’ but then be in the Intermediate class for ‘Speaking Skills’.

Variety: each class will have two or three teachers a day but most teachers will stay with you for the duration of your course for continuity.


General English:

This class takes place every day and will focus on getting you to practice and develop the grammar that is suitable for your level within a topic. This class also includes listening and reading activities to provide an integrated skills approach. You will have regular progress checks and review activities so that you can see how well you are progressing or to see where any problems with your language are arising.

Grammar Workshop:

This class is once a week and will review the grammar from the General English classes. To help you practice your grammar, there are grammar games and website activities, as well as individual and paired tasks. Sometimes, in Intermediate, Upper-Intermediate and Advanced classes, you will be able to prepare a grammar point to ‘teach’ your classmates.

Words and Meanings:

This class takes place once a week.

If you are in Elementary class, you will work on pronunciation of sounds, word stress and sentence stress. You will also build your vocabulary in topic areas.

If you are in the Pre-Intermediate or Intermediate classes, you will work on sounds, sentence stress and intonation. You will also study phrasal verbs, word formation and collocations.

If you are in the Intermediate, Upper-Intermediate and Advanced, you will also study the use of idioms.

Listening & Speaking Skills/Reading & Speaking Skills :

In these classes you will develop your reading and listening comprehension skills and you will be given the chance to communicate with your classmates. Our teachers are not completely concerned with the ‘correct’ answer, they would much rather hear your own ideas.

Presentations/Reader Review:

This class is once a week and is led by you. You will have to present a PowerPoint presentation every two weeks either by yourself or with a partner on a subject of interest. The next week, you will bring an article in which you have read and will discuss it with your classmates.

These lessons help develop your skills in speaking and extend your vocabulary. In this class, you are the teacher.

News & Culture:

This class takes place once a week. It focuses on places of interest in the area, UK festivals and celebrations. Sometimes you will do projects and research work in small groups to show others in the Presentation class. There is also ‘Situational English’ work which helps with understanding daily life in Birmingham.


Option 2: General English Language Programme with IELTS (21 hours per week)

This course is ideal if you are preparing for IELTS or if you want the challenges of ‘Academic English’. IELTS is also a key requirement English Language Level in order for you to gain a place at a UK University

Classes focus on skills and examination strategies; this includes two lessons a week for vocabulary extension.

Each student has their own target for the IELTS bands and our teachers will advise you on how to achieve your target.

In IELTS classes, if you are Intermediate or above, you will study with other students.

If you are Pre-Intermediate when you join, you will have separate introductory classes to build confidence.

At Elementary level, you can have a 21-hour programme but will begin working on academic topics instead of IELTS.

If you want to be successful in IELTS, you need:

  • English Language skills
  • Examination technique and strategies
  • Good general knowledge of a range of topics

The full 21-hour a week programme includes these areas and is based on 25 years of IELTS and English for Academic Purposes teaching experience.


Option 3: IELTS Programme (16 hours per week) – groups only

In IELTS there is no 'pass' or 'fail'. Everyone is welcome to participate and benefit from IELTS workshops, as you work towards your own individual targets.

In IELTS there is no 'pass' or 'fail'. Everyone is welcome to participate and benefit from IELTS workshops, as you work towards your own individual targets.

This course will also develop your ‘Academic English’ skills which will help you with your IELTS and Higher Education studies.

If you are preparing for IELTS, we expect you to be highly motivated and do a lot of independent work outside the classroom.

Once you have completed the course you will receive a Birmingham College Certificate in IELTS Preparation Studies, Intensive IELTS and Academic Study Skills, indicating length of stay, estimated level of English, plus an individual progress report based on class performance, progress tests and tutorial records

This bespoke course is run on request from sponsors.


Option 4: One-to-One Programme

1-1 sessions focus on IELTS exam strategies and techniques, the English Language included is to help boost your IELTS bands.

For most students, three or four sessions over a period of time is enough, plus any self-study and use of recommended websites

If we feel grammar or vocabulary needs more work, we will recommend that you join classes as we do not want you to waste your time or money


Option 5: Tailor-Made English for Specific Purposes

Our teachers can prepare bespoke training courses for groups and provide 1-1 tuition at your request. These sessions are a flexible arrangement and can accommodate your busy schedule, taking as many or as few classes as you need to.

Our Director of Studies has considerable experience in English for Specific Purposes and English for Vocational Purposes, holding an MA in ELT for Specific Purposes (Distinction) from the University of Warwick.

The ELT team have experience of Business and Technical English (in the automobile, aerospace, steel, oil and IT industries) and have also taught and prepared short courses in Medical English, Legal English, Aviation English and the tourism industry

We also offer support to local students who wish to take IELTS at local test centres, candidates are invited to attend workshops or drop-in sessions for IELTS preparation or to attend one-to-one classes.

Training can be carried out either here at Birmingham College or arranged at the workplace for groups of students.

For more information please contact the College at hl@bcol.co.uk or call +44(0)121 212 0888


Option 6: ELL Pre-Sessional and Academic Skills- Groups Only

This course is intended for you if you have not gained your required IELTS score and you wish to gain a place on a Masters course at a UK university.

The course follows an academic programme which covers a wide variety of skills and language areas which also focus on developing your critical thinking skills and learner independence.

These courses are intense and have been exclusively designed for you if you wish to go to university.

Our team have experience of providing Pre-Sessional programmes for our own programme and that of other institutions and universities, with both our Director of Studies and Assistant Director of Studies having experience of working on International Foundation Programmes and university Pre-Sessional programmes. They understand how important it is to make the materials and the tasks as subject-specific as possible so it matches the features of the discipline being studied.

Duration of programme ranges from 6 – 16 weeks depending on your level of English, however if you have not attainted IELTS 5.5 bands (B1), the 16 week programme is mandatory

Please contact the College for further information – 0121 212 0888 / hl@bcol.co.uk


Option 7: General English Language Programme with IELTS – Female Only
(16 or 21 hours per week) – Groups Only

Please note this course option is only available for groups of 15 or more.

We respect all individual views and strive to provide you with a comfortable atmosphere, where you can enjoy a variety of teaching methods and appreciate your learner independence and thus we understand some women prefer to attend female only classes for cultural and religious reasons.

This programme is based around a General English topic-based component with speaking, listening, reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.

If you have newly-arrived in the UK, and are at a Beginner/Elementary level we offer Situational English sessions to build your confidence.

Equal opportunities are promoted by including IELTS preparation classes and seminar and presentation skills from Pre-Intermediate level, which offers; structured writing and reading skills tasks which aim to build confidence in their study and research skills.

There are regular opportunities for you to contribute to this programme by giving presentations, participation in group projects and writing posters for your class.

Learner Training is a feature of the programme because it is important for you to be confident and independent when continuing on to future courses. You will be asked to;

  • keep a Learner Journal
  • have classroom discussions on study methods,
  • keep a record of self-study and s
  • how the teachers they know phonetic symbols,
  • can record new vocabulary and identify grammar structures.

There is also a weekly tutorial when you can talk about your studies with a teacher.

We believe “ The best way to learn a language is to talk about how to learn language!”


Option 8: IELTS Mock Exam

This is a 1.5 hour session designed to assess if you are ready to take the IELTS examination and to establish how close you are to the IELTS bands you require.

Another option is the 3.5 hour session (approx.) which includes a Full IELTS Mock Exam and feedback from an experienced IELTS tutor.

You will complete IELTS-style tasks that will include the following;

  • Grammar
  • Speaking
  • Writing
  • Listening

On the basis of your results experienced tutors can advise you on the most effective way to prepare for your IELTS examination.

Please note that the tutor cannot give a precise IELTS band score but is able to highlight your strengths and weaknesses in terms of language level and examination technique.


Option 9: Placement Test

All candidates will be asked to sit the Placement Test prior to joining classes, so that we can provide an estimated IELTS score that you are currently working at.

The CEFR level range from;

  • Elementary
  • Pre-Intermediate
  • Intermediate
  • Upper-Intermediate
  • Advanced

According to your requirements and the test results we will prepare an individual timetable that suits your needs and our tutors.


Initial Assessment

All students will be required to sit an Initial Assessment Test before joining classes. This assessment will assess your ability in writing, grammar and speaking in order to identify strengths and weakness, and place you in a suitable class.

At Birmingham College we not only like to ensure that you are studying in the right ability groups but also to ensure you know WHAT you are studying, WHY you are studying it and HOW you can study effectively. This helps to establish your study plan.

After completing the Initial Assessment Test, you will be given the opportunity for feedback. Students benefit greatly from the feedback sessions as they are able to identify their strengths and weaknesses and areas for improvement. This also gives you a clear direction towards setting your targets or, for some, revaluating your targets. It forms a strong foundation for the your academic plan and provides a clear focus.

Progress Monitoring

There are regular progress checks through homework and review tests as well as the formative and summative assessment procedures that are followed. This includes weekly checks, plus regular individual and group presentations, discussion activities, project work and homework. All these measure your progress and identify any difficulties that you may be having. You are also encouraged to say how you feel about your progress when you have a tutorial or write your 'Learner Journal'.

The progress tests are not only used to measure your learning but, more importantly, we use this as a mechanism to provide support to you. It allows tutors to identify students that may be academically struggling and who require additional support.

Student Support

Birmingham College promotes learner independence and respects learner voice. All students on full-time courses;

  • Have an Individual Learning Plan (ILP)
  • Keep a Learner Journal to develop self-reflection
  • Are entitled to a weekly individual tutorial

The procedures we have in place for English language diagnostic assessment on your arrival enable us to support and identify your Learning Styles and establish your aims and objectives. We also conduct regular progress checks and self-assessment questionnaires, to ensure you stay focused and to encourage you to progress throughout the programme.

We understand that you cannot study well if you are worried about bank accounts and accommodation or you are feeling homesick.

The administration staff are friendly and supportive and are always willing to help with registrations, applications and other personal paperwork queries.

Please note that the College does not provide accommodation for students, however we can advise and assist you.


Students must be over the age of 16 to join any course at Birmingham College.

All courses start at a minimum duration of 2 weeks to ensure that you have a realistic opportunity to develop and use your skills.

We do not accept absolute beginners – please contact the College if you would like to discuss this further: hl@bcol.co.uk

Certification & Report

After successful completion of your chosen course, you will receive a Certificate of Attendance which will include;

  • Your Full Name
  • Course Title
  • Start and End Date
  • CEFR level
  • Individual Certificate Number

You will also receive an Individual Report which outlines your performance and gives you advice for future study.

Please note that all English Language provision at Birmingham College in the UK is accredited and validated by Accreditation English UK, which is managed by and in partnership with British Council.


Enrolment and Timetable

All programmes have been designed as continuous enrolment, so you can join your chosen course at Birmingham College throughout the academic year.

Registrations take place every Monday.

Class Sizes

The maximum class size is 15 students per class.

Average class sizes at Birmingham College are considerably smaller between 5 – 7 students, to ensure we can support the specific needs of students on an individual basis.

Birmingham College Term Dates for the Academic Year 2018-2019

Christmas Holiday 20/12/2017 – 07/01/2018
Good Friday 19/04/2019
Easter Monday 22/04/2019
Early May Bank Holiday 06/05/2019
Spring Bank Holiday 27/05/2019
Summer Bank Holiday 26/08/2019

Term 1 – Trip Oxford 15/11/2018
Term 2 – Trip Warwick & Stratford –Upon – Avon 11/04/2019
Term 3 – Trip Alton Towers 02/05/2019

Please note additional Religious Holidays will be granted dependant on the day of the week they fall on.

Trips, Excursions and Outings

We want to provide you with cultural, educational and enjoyable experiences during your stay in the UK.

To help complete this package we organise one full day excursion per term, which is included in your fees if you are enrolled on a full-time course with Birmingham College.

The teachers at Birmingham College also take you on many afternoon excursions around Birmingham City Centre, these helps to support the topics that you are taught during your classes.

Possible Excursions :

  • Cadbury World Chocolate Factory
  • Warwick Castle
  • Birmingham Sealife Centre
  • Ironbridge and Blists Hill Victorian Town
  • Coventry Transport Museum
  • Black Country Living Museum
  • Drayton Manor Theme Park
  • Severn Valley Railway and Arley Arboretum
  • Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
  • Malvern Hills and British Camp
  • Stratford-Upon-Avon
  • Oxford and Bicester Village
  • Dudley Zoological Gardens

*Excursion choice is subject to change dependant on weather etc.

Course Fees


Placement Test

Placement Test is a £40 charge, this helps us to establish at what level you are working at as a learner prior to joining classes. The test forms 3 sections; Grammar, Writing and Speaking.


1-1 sessions focus on IELTS examination strategies and techniques and are charged at a £40 per hour basis.


The majority of students at Birmingham College are working towards IELTS. To view upcoming IELTS Examination dates click HERE

IELTS UKVI Testing in Birmingham is provided by the following organisations:

UK Visas & Immigration

British Council Birmingham

South & City College Birmingham

Hall Green Campus

Cole Bank Rd

Birmingham B28 8ES

Tel: +44 (0)161 957 7755

Email: UK_BirminghamGBS06@britishcouncil.org



Click here to download BCOL Student Handbook

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