General English Courses

IH Bristol is open for face-to-face classes at our Queens Avenue building in Clifton, Bristol. Online courses continue to be available and many English courses will take place in hybrid format. Contact us for more details

Book with confidence: we are offering flexible, free postponement on all face-to-face English courses in case your plans change.

Our General English Courses focus on communication

All English courses focus on the language itself (grammar and vocabulary), and use it in speaking, reading, writing and listening. You use the language in a real context on your English course, both 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 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.

15 or  22.5 hours per week

Maximum 12 students per class (please note some students may join the class online via zoom if they are currently self-isolating)

Minimum 2 different teachers on every course

Speak English from day 1, whatever your level

The Cultural Question gives you new grammar and vocabulary on the subject and a chance to share information about your culture and learn about the culture of others.

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 English Phrase of the Day introduces a phrase used by native English speakers, but not usually found in coursebooks. 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.

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General English 30 Lessons (morning & afternoon)

30 lessons (22.5 hours per week)

Mornings: coursebook-focused (lessons 1 and 2); grammar and vocabulary focused (lessons 3 and 4)

Afternoons: skills Lessons focused on reading, writing, speaking and listening

Our flexible English course syllabus ensuring a balanced programme

The afternoon skills and fluency classes mean you make even better use of the language you are learning. For students with limited time to study, the General English 30 Lessons course is the best way to ensure  you get the maximum benefit out of your time at International House Bristol.

Optional daily supervised study room also available - see below for full list of included extras.

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General English 20 Lessons (morning only)

20 lessons, 15 hours per week

Mornings: coursebook-focused (lessons 1 and 2); grammar and vocabulary focused (lessons 3 and 4)

Our flexible English course syllabus ensuring a balanced programme

Afternoons: free self-study in our study room or explore Bristol with your friends

Optional daily supervised study room also available - see below for full list of included extras.

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Beginners' course dates

Our Beginners' courses follows the same structure as our General English courses. All students must complete a placement test at time of booking to confirm level. The 12-week course has fixed start dates (students can study a minimum of 4 weeks+):

  • Monday 4th January 2022
  • Monday 4th April 2022
  • Monday 4th July 2022 September 2022
  • Monday 4th September 2022

Please note we require a minimum of 4 students to open a Beginners class

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Class timetable

Below is a sample timetable.

Morning classes

Class Time            Focus

Morning Class 1

Morning Class 2

9.15am ‒ 10am

10am ‒10.45am

We use a general English coursebook, which has a balance of skills, vocabulary and grammar. Every morning we also teach you a Phrase of the Day, to help you sound natural.

Morning Class 3

Morning Class 4

11.15am ‒12pm

12pm ‒12.45pm

These classes have a grammar and vocabulary focus and we choose from a wide range of resources to suit each group of students. You'll start the class with a Cultural Question, to help you understand the cultures of the UK and other students.

Afternoon classes (30 lessons only)




Afternoon Class 1

Afternoon Class 2

13:45 - 14:30

14:30 - 15:15

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.

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Eight levels: from beginner to advanced English

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.

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Our flexible syllabus – teachers select areas each week that best match the needs of your group


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

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Free extras


  • Access to our online e-learning platform from the moment you enrol until 3 months after the end of your course
  • Permanent open access to our Free Exercises
  • Free coursebook (for 1 week only bookings, we provide photocopies for you)
  • Regular help with English pronunciation
  • Daily homework
  • Suggestions about how to learn more effectively
  • Authentic materials (texts created for native speakers), so that you are learning real English
  • Study room open from 3.05-5pm, with a tutor available for one hour every afternoon after classes from Monday to Thursday
  • A huge range of resources or assistance from our tutors to 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

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Optional modules

You can add a number of supplementary courses to a General English 20 Lessons course and have lessons in the afternoon as well. Click on the links for more information.

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

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Dates & prices

See our Dates & Prices page

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