Online English Courses

We are passionate about teaching languages. We love giving people the skills they need to communicate with confidence in English. but we realise that not everybody can travel to the UK to learn so we have set up online English language courses at different times of the day so that everybody can join in, no matter where they are or what time zone they live in. Join IH Bristol’s online English courses and exam preparation with other international students and make the progress you need to make. Classes are live online with our qualified IH Bristol teachers. We are committed to providing a fun, engaging and highly effective learning experience for all our students, continuing the high standards of education that we have maintained over the last 33 years! Our online lessons will inspire you to follow your dreams, they will allow you to study at the pace you want with students from different countries.

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'Hybrid' daytime course options - Monday-Friday:

IH Bristol is currently teaching English in person from our language centre in Bristol; classes are running in hybrid format to allow for students to self-isolate on arrival to the UK if required, and it's currently possible to join these classes as an online-only student with the following options available:

Study Monday-Friday | Start any Monday | Book any number of weeks

Course overview

Our General English online courses help students improve all their skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) and learn the grammar, vocabulary and cultural knowledge necessary for using English in an international context.

We focus on practical, effective and natural communication, with flexible schedules available to suit you.

  • Daily classes, Monday - Friday (see here for part-time General English courses)
  • Learn new phrase-level language items each lesson, to help you to speak more naturally
  • Improve your English speaking skills in small group tasks, with feedback from your teacher
  • Focus on everyday, real-life topics relevant to all international students
  • Improve your writing skills with structured tasks and written feedback from your teacher
  • Practise new listening and reading skills to improve your confidence

Your course also includes free access to our e-learning platform from when you book, until 3 months after your course finishes. Learn on any device, in your own time. Study tasks include Listening, Grammar, Reading and IELTS options. ​​

Minimum age for adult courses: 16 years

Daily timetable

Courses run every day Monday to Friday; you can start any Monday and study for any number of weeks.

Choose from 7.5 hours (any session), 15 hours (first 2 sessions) or 22.5 hours (all sessions):

Time (UK) Focus
09:15 ‒ 10:45 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. 
11:15 - 12:45 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. 
13:45 - 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. All materials are provided. On Fridays, all students join our weekly Conversation Club.

Please book your course and complete our level test at least 2 days before you start your course. This is so we can allocate you to the correct class for your level.

Online daytime courses include

  • Online live speaking test & personal needs check with the Principal/experienced teacher prior to course start
  • Access to our online e-learning platform from the moment you enrol until 3 months after the end of your course (with online self-study Listening, Reading, Grammar, IELTS exercises and more)
  • English level test before start date, to make sure we place you in the right class
  • Lessons live online with our qualified IH Bristol teachers, maximum 15 students per class
  • Interactive group activities, in mixed-nationality classes
  • Free e-coursebook 
  • Online Study Room tutor to check your homework or English problems you need help with (15:45 - 16:45 UK time, Monday - Thursday, bookable in advance)
  • IH Bristol’s Phrase of the day
  • Cultural Question and weekly Cultural Project (11:15 - 12:45 classes)
  • End of week mini-test/quiz, so you can see how much new language you remember
  • Free online social activities - meet students from other classes and other IH schools!
  • Online receptionist available to book during working hours
  • End-of-course certificate


Online course options - part-time:

See part-time courses currently available here



Private One-to_one classes

The schedules above may not suit everyone's timetable or objectives, so we also offer the possibility of private one-to-one (1:1) lessons online. We discuss your aims before booking One-to-One English lessons and conduct a detailed needs analysis to create a bespoke programme. We provide an individual learning programme to help you achieve your goals. The programme is regularly reviewed, with all materials and homework designed to suit your needs.

Example 1:1 lesson focuses for previous IH Bristol students have covered:

  • Recruitment: interviews, shortlisting, meeting people, professional vocabulary
  • English for hotel reception work: speaking, listening and vocabulary
  • General English focusing on pronunciation and spoken fluency at C1 level
  • (Your focus here – we can teach almost any focus/topic; just ask!)

Online 1:1 English programmes include:

  • Online live speaking test & detailed personal needs analysis with the Principal/an experienced teacher prior to course start
  • Level test before start date
  • Live online with our qualified IH Bristol teachers
  • Fully tailored lessons to address your specific needs (including specialist focuses)
  • Free online social activities
  • Online receptionist, available twice a day
  • End-of-course certificate
  • Free online study material, including Useful English expressions

Bespoke group classes

Perhaps you would like to organise online classes for a group of friends, employees or students and have specific aims in mind, we can design a course to suit your needs - contact us directly to enquire



Online Junior courses

We ran our mixed-nationality online English programme for juniors in summer 2020 and 2021; although this is not currently scheduled to go ahead in 2022, we can arrange closed group courses at any time - see details of the previous course here for inspiration or contact us directly to enquire


Benefits of studying online with us:

  • Study from the comfort of your own home - no travel expenses
  • Classes are live with our qualified IH Bristol teachers
  • Group classes are mixed nationality (English is the only common language)
  • Different timetable options available, choose the one which suits you best
  • General English and exam preparation options available
  • Interactive classes which integrate skills, grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation practice
  • We guarantee the quality of our courses with the IH Online Promise 

We are committed to providing a fun, engaging and highly effective online learning experience for all our students, continuing the high standards of education that we have maintained for our 33 years of operation. Learning online can be done as a stand alone course or you can combine it with a face-to-face English language course in Bristol. It is a great way of keeping up your language skills when you are unable to travel.

Studying Online with IH Bristol


Your online classroom

Your online classroom is just like a real classroom! Watch the video below to see what your class will be like.

What to expect - A sample class activity

We can also offer bespoke closed group courses at any time of year: please contact to tell us about your requirements

What do you need to study online?

  • For the best experience, you need a laptop, desktop computer, or a large tablet device. Smartphone screens are too small for you to experience the class, so please use a laptop or PC if at all possible.
  • You need an internet broadband connection: for gallery view and/or 720p HD video, 1.5Mbps/1.5Mbps (up/down) 
  • For sound and video, it is best with headphones and a webcam, or you can use the camera and speaker on your computer.

That's it! You will receive a weekly email with the link to join your classes. Zoom is very simple to use, but if you're unsure take a look at our helpful video



Online Courses - Frequently Asked Questions

How are the online English classes delivered?

We use Zoom for our online classes. These are similar to our face-to-face classes, including the use of group and pair work (we use break out rooms, and the teacher is able to join each ‘room/group’ to monitor and contribute); there is a big emphasis on lots of natural phrase-level vocabulary; with speaking practice in each class with feedback from the teacher

What do I need to be able to start?

For the best experience, you need a laptop, or desktop computer; a large tablet device or smartphone also work. You need an internet broadband connection: for gallery view and/or 720p HD video, 1.5Mbps/1.5Mbps (up/down)

For sound and video, it is best with headphones and a webcam, or you can use the camera and speaker on your computer.

You will receive a Zoom link in your timetable to your email to join your classes

Is there a course book?

Adult English classes include an e-coursebook from a recognised publisher with an access code for each student. We share this code before your first lesson. We use this coursebook as our main material in lessons, but also integrate authentic materials, our own worksheets, and many interactive communicative activities in pairs and groups.

What does the course cover?

Please see the syllabus document on the relevant course page for a general guide.

General English courses cover 1-2 topics per week, and integrate work on grammar, vocabulary, and the four skills. We follow a main e-coursebook (juniors IH Bristol use original booklets we have written) which ensure a good balance of language and skills work each week, but we also include authentic materials, our own worksheets, and activities to suit the needs of the group. We include communicative activities to practise the new language you learn, so lots of speaking! As we are flexible with our start dates (you can start any Monday) the more weeks you book, the more topics, grammar and vocabulary you will cover! See sample weekly timetable here (General English; IELTS; Cambridge; Junior summer)

How do I know which level to book?

When you book your course, we check your English level by sending you our 1-hour placement test. This includes 50 Multiple Choice vocabulary, grammar and reading questions, plus a writing task.

We also offer a 1:1 speaking test and needs analysis session, online with the Director of Studies or IH Bristol teacher before you start your course (adult courses). This is nothing to worry about and you don’t need to prepare, it simply helps give us the most accurate assessment of your current level and areas to improve.

The Director of Studies then allocates you to the best level for you.

What happens if I have technical problems during the class?

You can email the school or the class teacher (as we instruct) if there is an issue, but technical issues are very unusual in our experience.

Will I receive a certificate?

Each student receives an end-of-course certificate PDF, with name, course title and dates, your final class level (IH and CEFR levels) plus a personal comment from the teacher.

I’ve had a bad experience with an online course before, how is this course different?

There are now thousands of online English study options around the world, so how do you know if you can trust them? Sometimes you just don’t know!

At IH Bristol, you know that we have more than 30 years of experience in teaching adults, juniors, exam preparation, and teacher training; our school was established in 1987. In fact, some of our full-time teachers are also teacher trainers. We are also accredited by the British Council for teaching English as a Foreign Language (first inspected 1997) and gained the highest grade in 12 out of 15 areas in our last inspection report. The British Council said we had the top mark in these areas: teaching, care of students, quality assurance, academic management, course design, learning resources, academic staff profile, staff management, premises and facilities, accommodation, leisure opportunities and care of under 18s.

That’s experience you can trust. You can be sure your online classes with IH Bristol will be interactive, fun, have lots of new language, and explore real everyday topics and situations.

Can I have a trial lesson?

Yes, no problem. Please email us to book your free trial lesson, stating your approximate English level. 

Are the teachers native? What are their qualifications?

Most of our teachers are native speakers and live in Bristol, UK. Our teachers are qualified to CELTA (Cambridge) or Trinity CertTESOL level minimum (the official recognised qualification to teach English as a Foreign Language). Some of our teachers are qualified to DELTA (Cambridge Diploma) or Trinity DipTESOL level. Some are also teacher trainers. Most IH Bristol teachers have been trained by us as we are an official Cambridge teacher training centre!

How much progress will I make?

Progress is measured by evidence and not time in the same class because everyone learns at different speeds. Because the next level class is faster and more difficult, before you can move up you must pass the end-of-level test and show teachers that you are focused on your learning. Evidence for this is:

· Good attendance, being on time

· Doing homework, including writing homework

· Doing pair and group work in lessons

· End of week mini-test/quiz performance

It takes much longer to move through higher levels than lower ones because the amount of language you have to learn is like this diagram:

At Intermediate level (B1 CEFR) for example, it may take one student studying 15 hours per week approximately 2-3 months before you are ready to move to the next level. It could be a bit faster or slower depending on the student!

I’ve studied English in a local school in my country, what makes this different?

Firstly, IH Bristol has great experience you can trust: teaching English to students from all over the world for more than 30 years. Our teachers are all qualified and most teachers have been trained by us on our own Cambridge / Trinity teacher training courses.

Secondly, our classes are a mix of international students. Our group classes have students from different areas of the world, such as Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia, South America, and others. This also means you all need to speak English all the time as it is the only common language! We encourage students to use English to compare cultures and learn about each other and your different countries. We think this is a great advantage of studying with us online.

Students at IH Bristol also have access to:

  • Phrase of the Day at the start of each class
  • Cultural Question
  • Cultural Project at the start of each week on interesting topics (Time; Men and Women; Money; etc)
  • Free social activities online

Do you also offer face to face courses?

Yes! We would be very happy to welcome you to study in person with us in Bristol. See our range of in-person courses here

Do I need a visa?

No, as you can study from home there is no need to travel, apply for a visa or incur any related expenses.

Not sure which course is best for you? Contact us if you have any questions.