Pre-Sessional Programme

Our Pre-Sessional Programme consists of intensive English language tuition and study skills support for international students who need to improve their English before enrolling on our GCSE, A Level and NCUK International Foundation Year courses.

Dependent on your level of English language and academic ability, the Pre-Sessional Programme can be taught for one, two or three terms. As well as improving your English language skills, we will prepare you to learn in a typical British classroom environment. This includes study skills development (including project work), independent reading, discussion work and team building.

Alongside English as an Additional Language, you will study Mathematics, Science and Business Studies to ensure that you are ready for the next stage of your education. Sports and Personal Health and Social Education (PHSE) also form part of the pre-sessional curriculum.

The maximum class size for our Pre-Sessional Programme is 6-8.  In some NCUK classes, where English for Academic Purposes is taught, the number of students in a class may be higher.

Timetable and Curriculum

Courses start at the beginning of each term in September, January and April and can be one, two or three terms in length.

There are two different levels of pre-sessional course – Level 1 and Level 2 – depending on the students’ level of English on entry and the English language entry requirements of the academic programme to be pursued (GCSE, A Level or Foundation).

Number of lessons and teaching hours per week:

English Maths Science Business Studies
Level 1 24 lessons (18 hours) 6 lessons (4.5 hours) 3 lessons (2.25 hours) 3 lessons (2.25 hours)
Level 2 18 lessons (13.5 hours) 6 lessons (4.5 hours) 6 lessons (4.5 hours) 6 lessons (4.5 hours)


Students are accommodated in boarding houses on the site, so there is no travel involved to get to school. There is always a member of staff available on duty in the boarding house should students need them, and teaching staff are around all day to help anyone that needs it.

Lessons begin at 8.30am with a tutor meeting and finish at 3.55pm with Enrichment activities until 4.30pm.  There is a 20 minute break in the morning and a 50 minute break for lunch.  Students are in lessons throughout the day.

After school, students are supervised by a member of staff on duty in the boarding house.

Students have supper from 6.00pm to 6.30pm and then Prep time to complete homework until 8.15pm.  Students are then free to enjoy our common spaces.  There is always a member of staff on duty in the boarding house.

There are no lessons at the weekends, although students sit a 1 hour test with the rest of the College on Saturday. This helps embed learning from the week.

Pastoral Care

At Padworth we pride ourselves on our pastoral care. We want everyone to feel that they belong in our community and getting to know our students is critical to this. Students register with their tutor twice a day, once in the morning and again at lunch time. This provides lots of  opportunities for tutors to check that everything is going well.

Students have a House Parent who will supervise them outside of the academic day. The House parent is there to ensure that students are well looked after and are supported in their learning. Students are supervised by members of the teaching staff during the evening prep time so if they have questions about their academic work they have staff to turn to. Boarding staff will ensure that all students are checked before lights out and bed-time, and will support the students with activities in the evenings. If students wish to relax in their room at this point, that is fine too.

There is close communication between boarding and teaching staff to ensure students are well known and any issues can be resolved as soon as possible.



IELTS entry requirements:

September January April
Level 1 4.0 4.5 5.0
Level 2 4.5 5.0 5.5

It is possible for students to move from Level 1 to Level 2, depending on their progress.

Other entry requirements:

Students must be a minimum of 14 years to enrol on the course and should not be older than 17 years.



Students sit IELTS examinations each term to ensure progress.  They are regularly assessed by their teachers and receive certification at the end of the course.

Extra-Curricular Activities

The Programme also includes a wide range of social, cultural and physical activities to broaden your learning and experience.