Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Please look at the topics below. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for, please contact us.

General Information FAQs

What should students bring to the College?

What happens on the arrival?

What happens on the first day at school?

What is the Nationality Mix in the College?

Why is feedback important?


Money FAQs

What is the “damage deposit”? How much is it?

How much pocket money should a student bring?

What does a student do with valuables?

Does Abbey College change foreign currency?


English Lessons FAQs

How are the students placed in classes?

How many hours of English classes are there?

How many students are there in a class?

When will the English classes be?

What are the aims of the Academic Programme?

How is the Academic Programme structured?

Will there be a test at the end of the course?

Will there be a certificate at the end of the course?

 

Activities and Excursions FAQs

What social programme will my child be following?

Why should students participate?

Will the programme change?

Where will the students go on excursions?

What is included in the social programme?

Are there any optional excursions?

Where do the optional excursions go?

How much do optional excursions cost and how can students book?


Meals FAQs

Will all meals be included?

Are special dietary requirements catered for?

What about the food and diet?


Behaviour FAQs

What are the College Rules for students?


Student Health, Care and Supervision FAQs

Who supervises the students?

What are the arrangements for students who require medication?

What should a student do if he/she has any type of problem?

Homesickness

Is it good for individual students to come without a group leader?

What happens if a student gets lost?

What happens if a student is being bullied?

On excursions

Are the students allowed to leave the premises in their free time?


Communication FAQs

When will students contact parents?

What is the emergency phone for?

Why shouldn't parents call their children too often?

What should parents do if a child phones home and is upset?

Can parents visit the students?


Feedback FAQs

Why is feedback important?


Complaints Procedure FAQs

What does a student do if he/she has a complaint?

 

General Information FAQs

What should students bring to the College?

Students on Standard Programme:

▪     2 Towels - one for washing and one for swimming (if appropriate).

▪     Water Bottles to carry with them when doing sports, activities and excursions.
Please note that energy drinks, such as Red Bull, are strictly forbidden on campus).

▪     Swimming costume/trunks (if appropriate).

▪     Appropriate sporting clothes; i.e. shorts, T-shirt, tracksuit, cap, sports socks, etc.

▪     Students must bring adequate sun cream for hot summer days. Students will be advised to protect their skin regularly but it is up to them to make sure they do so.

▪     Personal toiletries, including toothpaste and toothbrush.

▪     Flip-flops for wear in communal bathing areas.

▪     As British weather can be unpredictable, students should pack enough summer clothes and warm clothes so they are prepared for all eventualities.The most essential items are waterproof clothing and/or an umbrella on excursions if it rains and comfortable shoes and trainers. There will be lots of walking and sight-seeing!

▪     We highly recommend that students have name labels on their clothes in order to facilitate an efficient laundry service.

▪     Travel adaptor for electrical items (UK has a 3-pin socket).

▪     How many suitcases and bags can students bring? Students can only bring a maximum of one mid-sized suitcase (68 x 59 x 24cm), weighing no more than 20kg and one small piece of hand luggage with them. If they do carry more than this allowance, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate the excess baggage and extra costs may be incurred should we need to book a larger vehicle for the transfer.

A check list of what to bring can be found in the Download section.

What happens on the arrival?

  • When students arrive at the school, a member of the Abbey College in Malvern team will register them.
  • The student will be shown where to go after they have unpacked.
  • Then they will be shown to their ‘house’, pointing out the notice board, with important information, the fire escapes, the important telephone numbers to call, etc, and finally taken to his/her room.
  • What happens next depends on the arrival time.

What happens on the first day at school?

▪     First thing in the morning each student is tested. Placement test includes vocabulary, grammar and comprehension questions, also speaking and writing skills are tested.

▪     Then the student have intensive induction classes in mixed groups, familiarising the students with some important cultural differences, the College Rules, practical advice on the British way of life, Study Skills (e.g. Tips on how to record new vocabulary) and an Introduction to Pronunciation.

▪     In the afternoon the students have a tour of the campus followed by a review of the induction to check students’ understanding.

▪     They then join the activity programme for the rest of the day.

▪     Students are placed into their new classes on the second day after their arrival.

What is the Nationality Mix in Abbey College?

Abbey College welcomes students from more than 30 different countries around the world. We are very proud of the extremely high nationality mix we have.

The international and multicultural atmosphere of Abbey College is unique, helping students to make the most of their stay in the UK, make new friends around the world and practise their English even more!

Top 5 nationalities*:

  1. French
  2. Spanish
  3. German
  4. Russian
  5. Italian

Other students are from*:

▪     Colombia

▪     Czech Republic

▪     Italy

▪     Greece

▪     Hong Kong

▪     Iran

▪     Uzbekistan

▪     Vietnam

▪     Saudi Arabia

▪     Jordan

▪     Nigeria

▪     Switzerland

▪     Ukraine

▪     Israel

▪     Yemen

▪     Latvia

Based on summer 2016

Why is feedback important?

▪     Feedback is very important to us at Abbey College. We welcome all feedback, positive or negative, especially if it is constructive feedback. We use the feedback to make changes and improvements.

▪     In the first week of the course the students will be asked for feedback on all aspects of the course. This way we can find out if they have any problems, like feeling homesick, and we can act quickly.

▪     Students (and leaders) will also be given a detailed feedback form to complete at the end of their stay. Students (and leaders) are encouraged to fill this in as honestly as possible to help us to continue to improve the service we provide.

Money FAQs

What is the “damage deposit”? How much is it?

▪     All students staying in Residential Accommodation must pay a refundable damage deposit of £5060€ or $60 in cash upon arriving at the College. This deposit will be refunded to the student, less any necessary deductions, on departure.

▪     It is important that students treat the school and the College with the greatest of care. Any damage resulting from their negligence, even if accidental, will be deducted from their damage deposit.

▪     Where damage exceeds the amount of the deposit agents/parents will be held liable for the remainder.

▪     Where an individual’s guilt cannot be accurately assessed damages will be shared between the people involved.

How much pocket money should a student bring?

▪     It is advisable to limit the amount of spending money per student. Abbey College recommends £50-£75 per week.

▪     This should cover snacks, drinks, a few small presents for family, some basic souvenirs.

What does a student do with valuables?

▪     Students can ask the Welfare Manager/Head of Boarding to put any valuables in the safe.

▪     If students do this, they must keep their receipt.

▪     Abbey College is not responsible for any money that is not handed in to the Welfare Manager/Head of Boarding or for which there is no receipt.

▪     All passports and airline tickets for individuals will usually be collected upon arrival and held by the Welfare Manager/Head of Boarding for safekeeping. Group Leaders will be responsible for holding their group’s passports and airline tickets.

▪     Students should be very careful with valuable items and money when visiting big cities, such as London, because pickpockets target foreign students. For example, do not leave valuables in the front pocket of a rucksack.

Does Abbey College change foreign currency?

▪     Abbey College is not responsible for changing foreign currency into Pounds Sterling, although staff will always help students who wish to change money.

English Lessons FAQs

How are the students placed in classes?

▪     Students are tested on their first day. Testing consists of a short grammar test and an informal interview. In creating classes, the Director of Studies considers the level of the students’ grammatical knowledge and the speaking ability of the students, as well as their age and nationality, and then organises students to get the best nationality mix of similar ages and overall language abilities.

▪     Our teachers are trained to ensure that each individual within a class is challenged on a daily basis, whether they are the strongest or weakest in their particular group. If a student is not comfortable in his/her allocated class, for whatever reason, they should inform their Teacher, Group Leader, or the Director of Studies. They are advised not to contact parents about this type of issue.

How many hours of English classes are there?

▪    There are 16 x 60 minute lessons of English per week on all Standard Programmes. The length of the lesson times may vary (e.g. 2 x 90 minute lessons in place of 3 x 60 minute lessons) for the older students.

▪     Taught by qualified professional EFL teachers.

How many students are there in a class?

▪     There are a maximum of 16 students in a class (average 12).

When will the English classes be?

▪     Lessons will usually be for 3 hours in the morning 1 hour in the afternoon.

▪     Optional extra lessons will usually be sometime between 15:00 and 18:30, though 1-2-1 classes may occasionally be in the evening.

What are the aims of the Academic Programme?

▪     To help students develop all skills, focusing particularly on speaking and listening.

▪     To help students build confidence in using and understanding English.

▪     To help students expand their knowledge of useful and up-to-date vocabulary.

▪     To help students improve their pronunciation.

▪     To promote understanding of effective learning strategies to enable students to continue their learning after the course.

▪     To encourage students to develop their language skills outside the classroom and benefit linguistically from their stay in the UK.

▪     Is integrated with the social programme as much as possible.

▪     Includes excursion materials and project work.

How is the Academic Programme structured?

The Abbey College Summer Academic Programme has been designed to provide a modern, structured learning experience based on practical and meaningful interaction in an English-rich environment.

Progression

▪     Our course is specifically designed for teenagers and young learners. The core framework is a graded series of objectives over six levels from Beginner to Advanced plus an age-appropriate version at two levels for under-12s.

▪     Our objectives are closely matched to the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR).

▪     Our syllabus is flexible rather than prescriptive with a focus very much on teaching the students rather than teaching the course.

▪     The teachers therefore respond to the learners’ needs by adapting the framework to the needs of their learners rather than the other way around.

Weekly Themes

▪     Each week is themed to provide continuity within the class and across the school, thus enabling links to the activity & excursion programme. This approach enriches the students’ overall experience by providing out of class opportunities for meaningful practice.

▪     The four themes are PeopleLocationMoney and Future and Fantasy.

Methodology

▪     The syllabus is structured in such a way as to balance new input with opportunities to practise language.

▪     Sessions on expanding lexical knowledge and grammar input are delivered in a communicative way to promote skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing, with particular emphasis on listening and speaking.

▪     Our teachers use a variety of methods to cover the core objectives, but with a strong focus on communicative skills.

▪     Pair-work and group-work are exploited through activities from discussions to project work and problem-solving tasks. Students are engaged in specially designed language games that actively promote learning by activating language in a meaningful and motivating way.

▪     There are drama activities to help students with their speaking, and having an emphasis on pronunciation.

▪     In addition students also have lessons based on excursion destinations, both before and after their excursions. This enables students to get the most out of their visit to the UK.

Project Work

▪     Students may take part in at least one project during their stay. Teachers encourage students to take ownership of projects by negotiating project topics with them which appeal to their interests. Projects are usually linked to the topic of the week, so during Location week, students may research the local area, plan a ‘Dream School’ or investigate environmental issues on a global scale.

Learner Training

▪     Each week students will be engaged in different types of ‘learner training’ to encourage them to be more conscious of and responsible for their own learning, thus promoting independent learning. They will be introduced to phonemic script, encouraged to reflect on their own preferred learning styles and prompted to think about personal learning goals.

Please see the sample Academic Programme available in the Downloads section of this website.

Will there be a test at the end of the course?

▪     Rather than a formal exit test, students reflect on their learning at the end of each week by taking part in review activities. However, in keeping with the style of the course these are light-hearted, fun and promote cooperation.

▪     An Exit Test is available if requested, but we do not encourage it as learning a language is personal and not linear.

Will there be a certificate at the end of the course?

▪     All students receive an Abbey College in Malvern Certificate (British Council accredited).

▪     All students doing a 2-week course or more will receive an Academic Report.

Activities and Excursions FAQs

What social programme will my child be following?

▪     The Abbey College programme is a variety of daytime sports and other activities, cultural visits to local places of interest, excursions to famous cities and a full programme of evening fun activities, like discos, parties and talent nights.

Please see the sample programmes available in the Downloads section of this website.

Why should students participate?

▪     Students should mix with other students and participate in all parts of the programme, and are encouraged to do so by the Activity Leaders. This is a good opportunity for students to improve their English skills and have fun. The more students put in, the more they get out!

Will the programme change?

▪     Sometimes it is impossible to do an activity on the programme; for example, if the programme has ‘Outdoor Sports’ and it rains, it is much better to change the activity. We will endeavour to keep changes to a minimum. Abbey College reserves the right to make programme changes without notice due to circumstances beyond its control or to improve the quality of the programme.

Where will the students go on excursions?

▪     The students will have two full day excursions per week, usually to a city or large town.

▪     Typical excursions are to: London, Oxford, Birmingham, Worcester, Cardiff, Bristol, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath, Salisbury/Stonehenge.

What is included in the social programme?

The social programme consists of:

▪     Afternoon activities: two sessions per afternoon, with choices of activities including: special activities like archery, dancing and fencing (with trainers that come from outside); sports like badminton, basketball, football, tennis, and volleyball, both inside and outside; arts and crafts in our Art Centre; swimming in our outdoor pool (when the weather is good); and other fun skills.

▪     Evening entertainment every night: an exciting, fun programme including: discos, parties, films, quiz nights, social evenings and talent contests.

▪     Excursions: 2 full day excursions per week to places of interest and famous cities, including one entrance per week.

Are there any optional excursions?

▪     Yes. We can organise optional extra excursions if there are enough students interested.

 

Where do the optional excursions go?

▪     We have a list of typical excursions, which take place on a Sunday. These can be seen on the suggested excursion list. Alternatively, we can organise excursions for special requests.

How much do optional excursions cost and how can students book?

▪     The prices of optional excursions vary usually between £25 and £45 per person, depending on the destination, the entrances included and the number of paying students. Groups can get quotations in advance or when on-site in the College. Abbey College will arrange extra optional excursions if there are enough people wishing to go and we have enough notice. For this reason, any optional excursion available will be advertised in the College and individual students (and groups) can book when in the College.

Meals FAQs

Will all meals be included?

Living in the College:

▪     On school days the students get breakfast at 08:00, lunch at 12:30 and dinner at 18:30.

▪     On excursion days students get breakfast and dinner in the College. They can also pay a supplement for packed lunch if they prefer.

▪     On Sundays breakfast is a little later at 09:00.

Living with a Home Stay Provider:

▪     If staying in a home stay, the students will breakfast and dinner with the home stay provider and have a packed lunch during the day. They can also pay a supplement for hot lunch in the College on school days if they prefer.

Are special dietary requirements catered for?

▪     Special dietary requirements are catered for upon request, but advance notice must be given in order to notify catering staff.

What about the food and diet?

▪     The food may be different from the food they normally eat, but it is important students keep an open mind. This is a great chance for students to experience food from another culture.

▪     If students are allergic to something, vegetarian, or only eat Halal meat, Abbey College needs to be informed in advance. Students should also remind the Welfare Manager or their host family (if applicable) on arrival.

Behaviour FAQs

What are the College Rules for students?

▪     Students must comply with Abbey College rules at all times.

▪     Attendance of lessons, excursions and all activities is compulsory.

▪     Residential students must obey bedtimes and silence must be kept after lights out.

▪     Rooms must be kept clean and tidy at all times.

▪     Beds must be made before breakfast.

▪     Male students are not allowed in female accommodation and vice versa.

▪     Fire escapes are for emergency use only and are not to be used at any other time.

▪     Smoking and the consumption of alcohol are strictly forbidden.
Failure to adhere to this rule may result in expulsion from the course.

▪     Students must not possess or supply illegal drugs.
Failure to adhere to this rule will result in immediate expulsion from the course and the Police being notified.

▪     Students must not touch the fire alarms or extinguishers, unless in an emergency – tampering with safety equipment is a criminal offence in the UK and may result in arrest and/or criminal prosecution. Students who set off fire alarms or tamper with fire extinguishers will have to pay a penalty (Charge will be, for example, approximately Extinguisher = £100, Alarm = £150).

▪     Students must not carry knives, weapons or self-defence sprays.

▪     Students are not allowed to bring items such as Swiss army knives.

▪     Students can visit the local shop during their free time, but they must sign out and in. However, they can go as far as the local shop (and no further) and back as long as they are in pairs/groups. Please note: students 12 or under must be accompanied by an adult.

When not in class or on an organised activity students cannot:

▪     Disturb local residents.

▪     Disturb students in class.

▪     Use any sports facilities without first checking with a member of staff.

Students are expected to follow the Abbey College Rules. If they do not, they will receive an official warning. Failure to comply with these rules after the warning will result in immediate expulsion and repatriation at the student’s own expense.

Abbey College reserves the right to terminate, without notice, the course of any student whose behaviour is deemed to be unacceptable.

No refund will be made in such circumstances and all transportation and related costs will be the sole responsibility of the student/parent.

Breaking these rules of English Law or persisting in serious anti-social behaviour will be disciplined. In serious cases, students will be expelled and repatriated at their own expense.

Student Health, Care and Supervision FAQs

Who supervises the students?

The wellbeing, safety and welfare of the students in our care is our number one concern. A member of our staff is on duty at all times of the day and night ensuring that 100% supervision is maintained at all times.

What are the arrangements for students who require medication?

Students should talk to Student Services, their House Parent or any member of staff if they need help with medication or visits to the doctor or hospital.

What should a student do if he/she has any type of problem?

▪     It is very important to us that all of our students are happy and have a positive experience in our college. If students are unhappy for any reason, they should speak to a member of staff as soon as possible.

▪     Our staff are friendly and will do their best to help you resolve any problems.

▪     For example: if they have a problem with the lessons, they should speak the teacher first; if they are still not happy, they speak to the Director of Studies; if they are still not happy, they can speak to the Summer School Manager; if they are still not happy, they can speak to the Principal.

▪     Parents should encourage their children to approach a member of staff directly with any worries or queries. This is the best way to resolve any problems because phoning home and expecting their parents to contact the agent, who will contact the College office, who will contact the College takes much longer, and the problem is often exaggerated during this process.

Homesickness

▪     It is very common for people who are away from home to feel sad and miss their family and friends, miss the food they are used to and even their bedroom, etc., especially if it is their first time away from home. Students should be advised that it is not something to be embarrassed about and should be encouraged to speak to the other students, to their Group Leader (if they have one) or to a member of the Abbey College team instead of worrying their parents unnecessarily. Abbey College has a great deal of experience in dealing with these issues and take every opportunity to monitor the happiness of each individual student at all times during their stay with us.

Is it good for individual students to come without a Group Leader?

▪     Abbey College in Malvern has a high number of individual students who come unaccompanied so we know what needs doing. We recognise the great importance of looking after individual students who come without a Group Leader. Abbey College will allocate at least one member of the staff to be responsible for individual students throughout their stay, acting like a ‘substitute Group Leader’, so the students know to whom they can go.

What happens if a student gets lost?

▪     All groups are given an Abbey College ID card with an emergency contact number. Plus they will be given a number to ring on their mobile phone so that they will reach a member of the welfare staff 24/7 who will be able to help.
Alternatively, they should go to a person working in a shop or a uniformed police officer and ask for help.

What happens if a student is being bullied?

▪     Bullying and abusive behaviour towards other students and staff will not be accepted in Abbey College Summer School and will be dealt with very severely. We have very clear policies on this matter, which will be followed closely by the College management team.

On excursions

▪     On excursions it is very important that students do exactly as instructed by the Abbey College staff. If a student is late to the meeting point, this can cause costly delays. If we cannot contact a student and we are forced to call the Police, that student may have to pay a fine for wasting police time.

Are the students allowed to leave the premises in their free time?

▪     Students do not have much free time because we offer a very full programme.

▪     However, they can go as far as the local shop (and no further) and back as long as they go in pairs/groups.

▪     They must sign out and in using the book in Reception.

▪     Students cannot leave the campus to go anywhere more that this without parental permission.

Communication FAQs

When will students contact parents?

▪     Students are asked to telephone their parents on arrival to tell them they have arrived safely at the College.

What is the emergency phone for?

▪     The College has an emergency phone number. This should only be used for very important phone calls and emergencies.
The emergency phone is not to be used to ask where a student is, or to leave messages, or to ask if a student can change level, or to ask the staff to go and find a student and bring them to the phone!

Why shouldn't parents call their children too often?

▪     There is a settling-in period for students to adjust to being away from home. During this time calls from parents can be more disruptive than helpful. As students will spend most of their time away from their room, calling can be a frustrating experience, particularly for the younger students.

▪     During this initial period parents should limit calls to emergencies only.

▪     Part of the ‘experience’ of participating in a summer school is for students to develop confidence, not only in English, but also in Life Skills. This means it is better if they learn to survive and to face problems without turning immediately to the parents. The Abbey College team are there to help the students with any problems they may have.

What should parents do if a child phones home and is upset?

▪     If upset children have called home, parents should encourage them to speak to a member of the Abbey College team, who will act promptly to find out the nature of the problem and who will then re-contact either the parent or the agent.

▪     Sometimes, very small problems in a College can become very big problems when they are told to the parents, and sometimes the truth can be exaggerated by the young mind when talking to their parents, which makes the parents panic, so they ring the agent, and then it is exaggerated a bit more and…

▪     All the Abbey College team want the students to have an enjoyable stay so they want happy students. For this reason they will investigate any issues as a matter of urgency, and will take the appropriate action.

Can parents visit the students?

▪     The parents of students are always welcome at our college. Please contact the College in advance to ensure that the student will be available.

▪     Parents must not remove their child from the College without notifying one of the Abbey College managers.

▪     The member of the Abbey College management  will require photographic proof of identification.

▪     Students will not be permitted to leave the College with friends or relatives, other than the father or mother, without written permission from the student’s parents.

Complaints Procedure FAQs

What does a student do if he/she has a complaint?

The complaints procedure if a student has a problem is as follows:

▪     He/she should always first go to the person responsible for the nature of the problem. For example, if a student thinks the class is too difficult, he/she should talk to the teacher.

▪     If the student is not satisfied with the solution/result, or think the decision made is unfair, he/she should speak to the appropriate manager.

▪     The manager will inform the student of his/her decision.

▪     If the student is still unhappy, he/she should talk to the Principal.

▪     We will then inform the student of his/her decision.

▪     If after all this, the student is not happy, he/she should contact English UK (info@englishuk.com).

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