Frequently Asked Questions


1. How do I book?
You can book by either completing our Enrolment form and returning it to our Admissions team via post/email or you can complete our online Enrolment form via our website at

2. How far in advance should I book my course?
You will need to book your course a minimum of two weeks in advance. For two weeks’ notice, we will require full course fees upon enrolment. You can book your course as far in advance as you like.

3. How do I pay?
We accept major credit cards (excluding American Express and Diners Club) but please note that you will have to pay credit card charges of 2% of the total amount.

You can pay by bank transfer or debit card from a bank in Britain in pounds (there is no charge for paying by UK debit card).

4. Do I need a visa?
You can check to see if you require a visa to study in the UK by visiting GOV.UK  website or follow the link or alternatively you can contact our Admissions department for advice.

5. Do you offer discounted prices or promotions?
Sometimes we offer discounted prices or promotions. These are usually posted on the website and included in our newsletters.

6. When do courses start?
Our main courses (20 and 25 lessons) and our IELTS preparation courses run throughout the year so you can start on any Monday. Other special courses have set course dates so please check when enrolling.

7. How many weeks are your courses?
You can enrol on any of our courses for a minimum of 1 week (excluding our International Foundation Year course). You can study with us for as long as you would like. If you are a visa student, you will only be able to study with us for a period of 11 months.

8. Do you offer courses for students of all English levels?
At CESC we offer courses for beginners (A0 level) through to advanced (C1 level).


1. Do you offer accommodation?
Yes. We have built relations with over 120 local hosts who provide Homestay accommodation. Students have a bedroom, wash facilities and 2 meals daily (breakfast and dinner). Most of our students choose homestay accommodation as this enables them to experience the British way of life and culture.

2. Does homestay accommodation include bedding and towels?
Yes – all of our homestay hosts provide bedding and towels and offer a once-a-week laundry service.

3. I need a special diet / or am allergic to certain foods – what do I do?
We can cater for special dietary requirements but it is important that you notify us upon booking so that we can find an appropriate homestay provider. In all cases, a supplement of £25.00 per week is added to your course package to cover the purchase of special food items.


1. What do I need to know for my first day? 
Arrive at CESC at 8.00am. You will need to bring your passport with you on your first day. Please bring a notebook, pens and £30 to purchase or hire your course book. If you are under 18 you must bring the completed ‘Under 18 Consent form’ we sent to your parents or guardian. We will then guide you through your first morning. We will test your English, check all your documentation is in order, provide you with a student card and give you a tour of CESC. The Head of Studies will then meet you to give you your timetable, a portfolio folder with information about your course and a welcome pack. The Head of Studies will also talk about studying at CESC. Your first lesson will then normally start at 11.10am. Then from your second day onwards your first lesson begins at 9.00am each day or as shown on your timetable.

2. How does CESC assess my English level when I arrive?
On your first day we test your grammar and vocabulary with a written placement test and we test your spoken English in an interview with a teacher or the Head of Studies.

3. What time will I have my lessons?
For most classes: Morning lessons are between 09:00 and 12:50. You will have short break between 10:40 and 11:10. Afternoon lessons take place between 13:50 and 14:53. Please check your timetable given on your first day for times of your classes.

4. How long is one lesson?
Each English language lesson at CESC is a period of 50 minutes.

5. How many lessons per week will I take on my course?
Depending on the course you have chosen, you will take 20 lessons (16.6 hours) or 25 lessons (20.8 hours) on open enrolment courses.

6. How many students are there in a class?
There is a maximum class size of 14 students on all of our main and preparation courses. Our specialised courses  may have between 4 and 8 students.

7. What are the nationalities of students in classes?
This is an international centre and students from all over the world come to study English with us. Depending on the time of year that you plan to study, you might be in a class with Italians, Swiss, French, Spanish, Saudis, Russians, Germans, Chinese, Turkish, Angolan or Koreans at our busiest times in the year.

8. How will my progress be monitored?
Your progress is monitored by your teachers. Your teachers will give a short test to you in your morning class on Thursday or Friday each week which will test one area of your English such as speaking, writing, listening, reading, grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation. Your teachers will also monitor your English on an ongoing basis, checking the language you use when you speak and write in class and also the English you use in your homework. They will provide you with ongoing feedback in class on the language you use in the tests, and the language you use in class and in your homework.

9. What do I do if I think I need to change class levels?
You need to speak with your morning teachers who will then consider your language based on all of the language work you have done in class and for homework, including your speaking, your writing and test scores.

10. How much can I expect to learn after a 2-week, 4-week or 12-week course?
After two-weeks you may be able to understand more when listening and improve your confidence in trying out some English in conversation. It may also be long enough to help familiarise you with some of the format of an English exam if you are studying one of our English exam preparation courses.
After 4 weeks you should be able to feel some progress in 2-3 areas of your English, for example, learning some new language which you are able to try out in conversation or writing.
After 12 weeks, you may make enough progress to move to the next level. If your teachers feel you are ready, we will then invite you to a level test to check whether you are ready to progress to the next level. See ‘How does CESC confirm my English level?’ above.

11. Can I change my General English course to an IELTS Preparation course?
This is possible if you are at the right level, if the particular course you want to move to is running and if there are spaces in that class.

12. Will CESC prepare me to take any official exams?
CESC runs open enrolment IELTS preparation courses and can run preparation courses for other exams for closed groups or on a one-to-one basis.

13. Do I get a certificate after the course?
You will receive a CESC certificate of completion when you finish your course if you have attended 85% or more of the lessons. Your certificate will state your level based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

14. What should I do if I can’t attend one of my classes?
If you feel unwell, you should contact the Centre before 9.00am.


1. If I have any questions about anything, who can I ask?
You can contact the following people for any questions you may have:
Academic – Max Walsh, Head of Studies
Welfare – Maria Walters, Welfare & Accommodation Officer
Accommodation – Francesca Ambrosini, Accommodation & Marketing Officer

2. How do I contact the school?
You can call us directly on +44 (0) 1206 544422 if you have a course enquiry. We’re always happy to answer any questions you might have. You can email direct to Once you have enrolled with us, you will be given particular information on the Centre and how you can contact us and when to do so as a student.

3. Will I have a chance to practise my speaking?
We always encourage the use of English in the Centre. You will have an opportunity to communicate with the CESC team, your teachers, other students and your homestay provider. We encourage all students to attend the free social programme activities which may include our communicative ‘i-chat’ workshop and other social, speaking activities.

4. What social programmes does CESC offer?
CESC offers all students a social activity programme with mainly free activities including speaking clubs, drama, work clubs and barbecues. We charge a small fee of £8-15 for activities like bowling or going to the cinema.
In addition, there are golf facilities, private health clubs and spas and several gymnasiums in and around Colchester. We’re always happy to provide information on activities that you specifically want to do.

5. Do I need insurance to study English at CESC?
Insurance is not covered in your course fees. We strongly recommend that you organise your own insurance in case of course cancellation, travel problems or ill-health. This will provide you with peace of mind as we know an English course package is a big investment in your future so you need to protect it.

6. Can I take a holiday during my course?
You must complete at least 10 weeks of study before you can apply for a holiday. You should apply for a holiday to the Head of Studies and give a minimum of 2 weeks’ notice. You can take up to 2 weeks of holiday.

If your Embassy is paying for your classes, you cannot have a holiday within the sponsored period, usually 12 weeks.

7. Do you offer airport transfers?
Yes. CESC can provide transfers from the major London Airports (Gatwick and Heathrow) and also from Stansted Airport.  If you are arriving at another location, please enquire how much the fare will be.  The transfer service is ‘door-to-door’ for individuals, meaning that you will be met at the airport by our transfer service and delivered directly to your homestay provider. Groups are met by a representative and welcomed at CESC before the homestay providers come to meet and greet.

8. When should I arrive at my destination?
All students, and indeed groups, are encouraged to arrive in Colchester no later than 22:00 on the Sunday evening prior to your course start date. This enables us to transfer you to your homestay so that you can settle and have a good night’s rest before you start your course on the Monday morning.

9. How old do I have to be to take a CESC language course?
The minimum age of students we can accept at CESC is 16 years of age in open enrolment classes. Written permission is needed from a parent/guardian for students aged 16/17 to join adult classes. We can accept students aged 11-17 in closed groups.


Have a question that is not listed? Email us to get an answer today.

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