Studying in the UK

Basic English Course

The idea of a Basic English course can mean different things to different people.

Here at SGI - St George International,  we have had many students that have come to us and said they have a basic level of English. From our experience, once we have tested and interviewed these ‘basic level’ students, they actually have an objective level of English that can range from beginner (pre A1) through to Upper Intermediate level (B2), and obviously there’s a world of difference between what a B2 student can communicate and manage in English compared to an A1 student!

Basic English CourseHowever, if we take another starting point and begin with the following question. If you are learning English, what constitutes basic English? To answer this question, it might firstly help to think of those popular pocket language phrase books, readily available at airports and international rail stations, and think about what they contain. Typically they will cover topics and language to help you survive on your trip or holiday to an English speaking country.

Topics would include; Greetings, Introductions, Directions, Giving Personal Information, Shopping and Leisure activities, all these topics coming with translations, plenty of associated vocabulary and some kind of pronunciation guide. So we could say that basic English constitutes the survival English you find in a phrase book.

So, what constitutes a Basic English course?  

If we begin with this ‘survival English’ definition, then a Basic English course would be catering for lower level elementary and pre-intermediate students (A1 and A2). The point of a Basic English course at SGI would be to enable students to communicate effectively and confidently in English at this basic (survival) level and so be able to move onto a higher level of operation in English. The nature of our small group classes and teaching methods means that the English language is not an impersonal phrase book list but something living, authentic and real, which students can confidently use ‘out there ‘ in the real world following on naturally from their classroom experience.

Popular English Courses in London for beginners:



The Basic English courses at SGI are always taught by qualified, native-speaker teachers. They have trained to be able to deal with the language difficulties of basic English learners. 

To help learners understand new language, teachers use lots of pictures and sounds so that the whole class understands the basic language input before moving on to an easy practice activity. The  basic level English course textbooks used in these starter classes also contain lots of images to aid understanding. 


● Qualified, native-speaker teacher
● English is the language of instruction, the teacher will always direct classes in English
● Multi-lingual classes, students from around the world, no translations to L1 used
● Interesting textbooks involving pictures, listenings, videos and easy reading activities
● Group size maximum 10 people (increases to possible 14 students in summer months)
● School Welcome Pack including class textbook, pen, pad of paper, e-learning log-in card
● Certificate stating language level received on completion

You can find more details about our Basic English Courses, including hours of the classes on our page about English Standard Course.

Do you have more questions about how can you improve your English skills?

Please, contact us and we will help you all the way. 

Every weekday afternoon SGI has a number of free English lessons that are available to people who are not studying on a course with us. These classes are taught by trainee teachers as part of their teacher training course. SGI is a centre of excellence for teacher training and these classes are for the trainees to practise their classroom skills.

Therefore, there is a clear notification given to any students wanting to attend the free lessons that the teacher is not yet qualified and is obviously not experienced at teaching. During the English class there will be 3 to 4 different teachers teaching for up to 30 minutes each. So, the lesson time in total may be up to 2 hours. There are two language level classes everyday: elementary to pre-intermediate and intermediate to upper-intermediate.


In busy summer months when the free lessons are extremely popular, there is a £1 reservation fee to book your place in a lesson. Reservations can only take place at SGI reception in person, not by email or telephone. This must be on the same day as the lesson and students should do this as early as possible to be certain of securing a place in the free classes.

Contact us for more details.

NORI from Japan: Basic English Course & higher levels

Nori is a great example of a student who is a real language learning success story that attained the maximum progress out of his English study with SGI.

When he arrived, he began in the basic English course with only a few words knowledge and constantly using his pocket electronic dictionary. After enthusiastic study and socializing, Nori finished in an intermediate class and much more confident in his English skills.