International House World Bristol Speaking to the World

General & Intensive English courses

Our General English courses focus on communication.

Every day, you will have classes which focus on the language itself (grammar and vocabulary), alongside classes in speaking, reading, writing and listening, where you get to put the language into practice. We allow you to use the language in a real context and encourage your use of English inside and outside the classroom.

You will be amazed at how quickly your confidence grows and your progress will be measured at every step.


What to expect

Our Intensive and General English courses help students improve all their skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) and learn the grammar, vocabulary and cultural knowledge necessary for living in the UK and using English in an international context. We focus on practical, effective and natural communication and you will get at least five pieces of new language in each 45-minute class.

There are four morning or afternoon classes in your General English course. Each class has a maximum of 12 students and you will have a minimum of two different teachers on every 12-week course. No matter what your level is, you will be speaking English from the first day.

The Cultural Question is part of Morning Class 1 every day. As well as learning important information about other cultures, you will get new grammar and vocabulary items related to the various topics. In addition, you will have the opportunity to share information about your culture with your class, using the new language.

The teachers are friendly and patient and will understand all your questions. They use great exercises with different methods and make the classes very dynamic.

The Phrase of the Day is part of Morning Class 3 every day. Each phrase is an example of natural language used by native English speakers, but not usually found in coursebooks and other published materials. POTD helps you to understand the English being spoken around you in the UK and to sound more natural when you speak to other people.

With so many opportunities to improve your English, you should feel you are making progress from the day  you arrive. For more details, please see our 'Why learn with us' page.

Intensive English courses

Aims and syllabus

Our Intensive English courses combine coursebook-focused lessons, grammar and vocabulary lessons in the morning classes with afternoon lessons that focus more on the four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. They follow our 12-week syllabus that ensures a balanced programme. The afternoon skills classes mean you are in a position to make even better use of the language you are learning. For students who have only limited time to study and who do not wish to take an exam, Intensive English is the best way to ensure  you get the maximum benefit out of your time at International House Bristol.


General English courses

On our General English course, students will have the morning classes from the Intensive English course shown above. In the afternoon you are free to do some self-study in our study room or to explore Bristol with your friends. During high season, the General English classes will be in the afternoon only.


Beginners' Intensive English course

Our Beginners' Intensive English course follows the same structure as our intensive courses, but is aimed at learners just starting out on their English journey. This 12-week course has fixed start date with current availability for courses starting:

  • September 8th
  • October 13th
  • November 10th
  • January 5th
  • February 16th
  • March 30th

Eight levels: from beginner to advanced English

The table below shows the levels that International House Bristol(IHB) can offer. For each level, you can see a summary of student abilities at this level and how it fits in with international exams and the Common European Framework (CEF).

IHB CEF Cambridge ESOL IELTS bands    Trinity levels                 Summary of abilities
Level 1 Beginner A1   1.0 ‒ 2.0 Grade 2 Learners can communicate at a basic level and can deal with some situations necessary to survive in an English-speaking environment. Their comprehension of English is limited but a foundation has been laid for further learning.
Level 2 Elementary A2 KET 2.5 ‒ 3.0 Grade 3 Learners can communicate at a basic level. They can survive in an English-speaking environment. Their comprehension of English is limited but a foundation has been laid for further learning.
Level 3 Pre-Intermediate A2 KET 3 ‒ 3.5 Grade 4 Learners are able to communicate in English adequately in simple everyday situations. Their range of vocabulary and ability to manipulate grammatical structure is developing, as is their ability to comprehend oral and written English.
Level 4 Lower Intermediate B1 PET 4.0 Grade 5 Although their English vocabulary and grammar are limited in range, learners are able to communicate in most basic everyday situations. They are beginning to deal confidently with authentic reading and listening material.
Level 5 Mid-Intermediate B1 PET 4.5 Grade 6 Learners are developing their English language skills and can speak quite fluently in most everyday situations. Their ability to express more complex ideas is beginning to develop, although their language is not always accurate.
Level 6 Upper Intermediate B2 FCE 6.0 Grades 7‒ 9 Learners are of approximately Cambridge First Certificate in English standard with a range of vocabulary and a command of all basic grammatical structures. They can use English in a variety of contexts and are beginning to appreciate many of the complexities of the language.
Level 7 Lower Advanced C1 CAE 7.0 Grades 10 ‒ 11 Learners are able to use a wide range of language effectively in a variety of contexts and can easily comprehend natural spoken and written English.
Level 8 Upper Advanced C2 CAE 8.0 ‒ 9.0 Grade 12

Learners are developing an understanding of and an ability to produce subtleties and complexities of the language, although they may still require some work on accuracy. At the end of this level, students should be close to native English speaker competence.



12-week syllabus

Each General English course has a 12-week syllabus, which students can join at any time and study for anything from a few weeks to a year. Our syllabus is very flexible and helps us teach you according to your needs. In each 12-week course, we cover a wide range of important areas. Here are the areas and some examples of the things we often do in each area:

Language area Examples
Topics Life in the UK, technology, health, going out, music, personality, national festivals
Grammar Tenses and verb structures, the grammar of phrases, modal verbs, determiners, conditionals
Vocabulary Collocations (words that naturally go together), phrases, idioms, phrasal verbs, affixes
Pronunciation Word stress, difficult sounds, natural pronunciation, intonation
The four skills Reading, writing, speaking and listening: to improve your communication outside the classroom
Effective communication Formal / informal language and politeness, linking sentences together to form texts
Functional language Agreeing / disagreeing, giving advice, giving opinions, suggesting


Class timetable

Below is a sample timetable showing the general focus of morning and afternoon classes on one of our English courses.

Morning classes

Class Time            Focus
Morning Class 1 9am ‒ 9.45am We use a general English coursebook, which has a balance of skills, vocabulary and grammar. You'll start the class with a Cultural Question, to help you understand the cultures of the UK and other students.
Morning Class 2 9.50am ‒10.35am  
Morning Class 3 10.55am ‒11.40am These classes have a grammar and vocabulary focus and we choose from a wide range of resources to suit each group of students. Every morning we also teach you a Phrase of the Day, to help you sound natural.
Morning Class 4 11.45am ‒12.30pm  

Afternoon classes




Afternoon Class 1

Afternoon Class 2

2.25pm ‒3.10 pm

3.15pm ‒4pm

These classes focus on practising the four skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. We often have longer activities to help you improve your fluency and we use a higher proportion of authentic materials when appropriate.

Free extras

As part of your Intensive or General English course we'll also give you:

  • (From September to June) a free coursebook
  • Regular help with English pronunciation
  • Daily homework
  • Suggestions about how to learn more effectively
  • Practice with authentic materials (texts created for native speakers), so that you are learning real English
  • Study room time with a tutor for two hours every afternoon after classes from Monday to Thursday
  • A huge range of resources or assistance from our tutorto help with your homework, explain English grammar and vocabulary you find difficult or give you advice about improving your English
  • Access to our weekly conversation club on Friday afternoons to practise English with other students and teachers

Optional modules

While General English is a complete course in itself, you can add a number of supplementary courses to a General English course and have lessons in the afternoon as well. The following links will take you to pages about the various afternoon supplement courses.

For more on any of our General English courses, please contact us today.

Dates & prices