The rules regarding students requiring visas have changed recently. We would recommend that you take a look at the ‘Before you arrive’section on the website and click through to the ‘Visas’ section. There you will find full information pertaining to obtaining a visa to enter the UK and come to the school. If you are still a little unsure after reading the information on our website, you are welcome to call us and speak to a member of our administration team who will be able to answer any questions you may have.
Visas / Insurance
- What do I do if I need a visa?
- Can I work if I’m a student?
You can work if you come from a country where you don’t need a visa (EU / EEA) or if you have the right kind of visa (General Student Visa). With a General Student Visa you are able to work part time during your course (up to 20 hours a week).
About the school
- Who are SGI?
We are one of the oldest language schools in England, we started teaching English to overseas students in 1962
- Where are you based ?
We are located, in an area known as Fitzrovia which is just to the north of Oxford Street and to the east of Regent Street in Central London. The general location of the school is commonly known as the West End.
- How many students are in a class?
Generally in our General and Academic English classes there is a maximum of 10 students throughout the year except July and August when the maximum goes up to 14. The Business English groups have a maximum of 6 students throughout the year except July and August when the maximum goes up to 8.
- What facilities do you have inside the school ?
We have a computerised Study Centre which also has a good stock of reading books and audio material that can be used and borrowed. There is also the internet zone, a relaxation area with computers, set up to enable you to surf the net and e-mail family and friends. There is also wireless access throughout the school, so don’t hesitate to bring your laptops!
- Do you have a good mix of nationalities?
We have an exceptionally good mix of nationalities. We have at the time of writing 31 different nationalities in the school, with students coming from all parts of the globe.
- How do I know you are a good quality school?
The main indicators of our good quality are the accreditations and validations we hold. Firstly, we are inspected and accredited by the British Council who run a scheme to make sure that UK language schools meet precise quality standards when it comes to their English language teaching provision. Secondly, we are also accredited by EAQUALS ( The European Association of Quality Language Services), which perform a similar function to the British Council but includes schools from across Europe. Finally we are also validated by the examination board Trinity College London to run a range of teacher training courses that lead to internationally recognised English language teaching qualifications.
- Who are the teachers at the school ?
We have a very strong teaching team at the school, with many of them holding advanced qualifications to teach English, as well as very impressive academic backgrounds. A good many of these teachers are also involved in the prestigious teacher training courses that we run, so you can be confident that you are getting very professional and experienced tuition when you come to SGI.
- When can I start a course?
You can start nearly all our courses on any Monday of the year. We have the added benefit of being open on almost all UK public holidays, which usually fall on a Monday, so you will get a full week of tuition virtually every week of the year with SGI.
- The New Year Week course will take place on w/c Monday December 28th 2015 – Friday Jan 1st 2016. Monday and Friday are bank holidays. This week will be viewed as a regular course week.
- Xmas closing – We will be closed w/c 21/12 except for groups and ad-hoc 1-1s.
- How many levels of English do you offer ?
For our group classes, we have five basic levels that we operate. A general description of these levels would be: Elementary, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate and Advanced. Our levelling system is now matched to the generally used Council of Europe’s Common European Framework (CEF). To get a better idea of what the CEF levels are, along with a brief description of what each level means, please take a look at the SGI Guide to Language Levels chart.
- Do you have links with schools in other cities?
Yes we do, we have Partner Schools in Cambridge and Oxford. Both schools are similar to us, they are small independent family-owned schools, accredited by the British Council and with an emphasis on quality and professionalism.
- Do you have links with Universities?
Yes, we have been running IELTS courses and a University Foundation Course for many years now and the successful grades achieved on these courses has resulted in a sizeable list of universities accepting our students to take degrees with them.
- Do you have any online learning opportunities?
Yes we do. As soon as a student enrols and pays for a course at SGI then they will have access to the SGI e-learning programme which has a wealth of English language learning material at your fingertips. As soon as you enrol you also have lifelong membership to the SGI community which enables you to keep contact with former classmates and keep up to date with what is happening at SGI.
- How long can I study for?
You can study from one week or for as long as you like! Of course most people who come to our school come for relatively short periods from 1-12 weeks. However we do have students who are doing either our IELTS exam preparation course or our University Foundation course who stay here for 6 or 9 months.
- What kind of courses do you offer ?
We offer a very full range of English language courses that include General English, Business English, Academic English, and One-to-One programmes. Our courses are available throughout the day and into the evening. As language specialists we also offer tuition in all major world languages as well as run English language teacher training courses.
- Is there an SGI social programme?
Yes there is, we organise a weekly social programme for students, that usually includes at least two 'out and about' activities during the week as well as events inside the school. We can also arrange for students excursions at the weekends to cities and places of interest outside London. Latest events are always put up onto the website where you can also look at photos of past events, to give you an idea as to the sort of events we organise.
- What is the best way to travel around the city?
The public transport system is very good in London. The quickest way of getting about is definitely the ‘tube’, the comprehensive underground system that connects you to nearly all parts of the city. The bus system is very good too and is particularly useful late at night when the tube closes ( about midnight). All you need to do to use the bus and underground system is buy yourself an electronic card called an Oyster card. The school can help you decide what Oyster card to buy depending on where you live and how long you are staying in London.
- Do you organise accommodation for students?
Yes, we do, we have an excellent range of accommodation options available that includes student residences, homestays, hotels and apartments.
Read here for Student Accommodation Cancellation Policy
Booking & Payment
- What is the minimum age for students at the school?
The minimum age for students coming to the school is 16. If you were interested in courses for under 16 year olds, either for teenagers or children, then please check the website for details of our Young Learner Partner School, who offer courses both in and outside London for this age group.
- How can I pay for the course?
You can pay for the course in a number of ways, by bank transfer, credit/debitcard, cheque (drawn on an English Bank Account) or cash.
The first day of your course
- What time should I be at the school on the first day?
Please be at the school by 8:30 on the first day of your course so that we can assess your level, with a placement test and interview, show you to your classroom and give you your books.
- What should I bring with me on the first day?
Please bring your passport, or national identity card if you are from the EU. We also need to know the address of where you are staying during your time in London (if we have not arranged the accommodation for you), as well as a contact number for you during your stay. There is no need to bring anything else as we supply you with a pen and notepad and your course book.