The IH Bristol Story

IH Bristol Story - by Val Hennessy, Director

Greetings from IH Bristol.

As we approach the end of 2021, I am delighted to say that we are still here and looking forward to an exciting 2022. After what has been a dreadful time for everybody, It is encouraging to see the increasing interest in our courses and to know that 2022 is shaping up to be a much more normal year than either 2020 or 2021.

We are all very proud that we managed to continue to provide services to our clients right through Covid.  I know how much work has gone into this and how brilliant the team here at IH Bristol in supporting Marcel and I in all we have done. It would not have been possible without them.

2022 is already filling up and we have exciting new courses on offer as well.  For our older clients, we have Best of Bristol 45+. This course is aimed at people who want a cultural experience in addition to a language course and who want to find themselves in class with others of a similar age and outlook. At the other end of the age range, we have our Future Leaders and Entrepreneurs course aimed at 17-18-year-olds who want a bit more than just English language classes. We continue to offer all our normal courses as well, but we are confident that these additions will be popular with new and existing clients.

It is lovely to have students back in the school and our classes are filling up. The resilience of those who have goals in life is amazing and watching our students cope with the demands of life during CoVid is humbling. Nobody know what the immediate future holds but seeing students embrace their studies pass their exams and improve their lives gives me hope.

I found myself back in the classroom in 2021 when I taught two classes of refugees and helped prepare them for Trinity GESE. They got amazing results and we are now training one of them to teach Arabic for IH Bristol. It was great to be able to offer something of value to people who had lost so much and I am delighted to say that teaching is a little like riding a bike: you don't forget how to do it.

That said, I felt unequal to the challenge of using the new technology we have installed to make teaching hybrid lessons and dealing with those who need to self-isolate possible. I am in awe of how quickly our teachers embraced the new technology and how expert they are in using it. We have all had to learn new skills during this terrible time but the speed with which our teachers have done so is astounding.

It has been a year of new experiences in other areas as well.  We won a tender to provide teacher training remotely via the British Council's Prelim project. This fantastic opportunity was a new departure for us and after our first successful foray into distance teacher training, I am pleased to say, we were successful in our second application as well. We are all looking forward to working with teachers from Angola in the coming months.

We added a part-time CELTA course to our repertoire in response to demand from Bristol University. Students on their Masters in Education programme can sign up for a CELTA course with us, which they complete over the course of an academic year.

Our exams centre goes from strength to strength. Cambridge exams are always popular and well attended and it was great to be able to run Trinity GESE exams for my refugee classes. In addition, we have been doing increasing numbers of OET exams and, of course, we have dedicated OET preparation courses to ensure our students are really well prepared for the test.

We are currently upgrading our Oakfield Road premises and looking forward to welcoming students back there in 2022. International House Bristol has always provided the highest quality English and foreign language teaching, the best teacher training and the most positive exam experience at the best price to the most diverse student body. Since our very beginning in 1987 and in everything we do, we strive to be a centre of excellence: the best place to work and study.

We still make lots of study materials available online for those who are unable to attend in person: our Free Exercises & Useful Expressions are available to anybody who has access to a phone/computer and our Phrase of the Day videos can help students worldwide to increase their knowledge on a daily basis. If ever there was a time for the world to pull together, it is now, and we are all proud to do our part.

All in all, life is good at IH Bristol. Why not come and see for yourself?

Dr Val Hennessy, Director

Mission Statement

We aim to provide a friendly, caring environment for language learners and trainee teachers.Our goal is to educate, inspire and empower through excellent teaching by experienced, committed, highly qualified staff and a comprehensive student welfare system that supports learners throughout their studies.