Pupils for whom English is not their first language will not always study the full range of subjects in the curriculum. A decision about their individual curriculum will be based on the results of the Placement Test that they sit when they first arrive in the School. As their language ability improves, their curriculum is reviewed by the Head of EFL in consultation with their tutor, Houseparent and the Director of Studies. Such decisions effectively become part of a needs analysis for each pupil, and the first principle of the EFL Department is to match teaching provision to the requirements of the individual pupil.
For each pupil the following questions are asked:
- What will the pupil need good language skills for in the future?
- Where is the pupil starting from: what is their present language level, and do they have any particular problems?
- What would the pupil like to learn (which may be different from what they need)?
- How does the pupil want to study (people have very different preferences about how they learn)?
When a pupil’s entry into the School has been confirmed, we may require him or her to follow an intensive programme of English study if their level of English is considered to be weak. Following the Placement Test, the pupil’s score is taken into consideration when determining which subjects he or she will be capable of studying. An intensive English programme generally consists of between eight and ten lessons. The aim is to target pupils’ English in order to improve it enough to cope with the subjects that they do study.
In some cases, overseas pupils do not receive EFL lessons either if the parents have requested this, or it is felt that they can fully access the curriculum without additional EFL support It is always possible for these pupils to be supported by the Department should the need arise. Sixth Form pupils are generally allocated three lessons a week in order to study the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) course.
In order to satisfy the University Entrance General Requirement fully, overseas pupils must have an acceptable English language qualification. If pupils have not attained Grade C or above in GCSE English they will need to follow the IELTS course in the Sixth Form.
IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. It is recognised widely as a language requirement for courses in further and higher education.
Candidates at Rydal Penrhos follow the Academic Reading and Writing Modules, which assess whether a candidate is ready to study or train in the medium of English at an undergraduate or postgraduate level. Admission to undergraduate and postgraduate courses is based on the results of Academic Modules.
Universities and colleges in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada accept IELTS. Results are issued two weeks after candidates have taken the test. Band scores are recorded on a Test Report Form, showing overall ability as well as performance in listening, reading, writing and speaking.