English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

You will have the opportunity to develop your English speaking and listening, reading and writing skills for a variety of purposes, including employment, further study or communicating with English speaking friends and family.

The large range of ESOL provision meets the needs of the growing numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in the local community very well.Ofsted Report 2016
Course Info
How to Apply
How Will I Learn?

The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course is designed for people whose first language is not English, but who live or work permanently in the UK. The course gives you the opportunity to develop your grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, as well as aspects of citizenship and employability. The ESOL qualification is recognised by the UK Border Agency for use to support Home Office applications for Settlement and British Citizenship.

Students will have regular progress tests throughout their studies and will have individual tutorials with their tutor to discuss their learning and development.  Students are expected to complete homework every week and will be prepared for their exams, which are compulsory.

How will I learn?

Students will develop all aspects of their English, including grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and the four skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening), working in pairs & small groups to develop fluency.  Students will have regular progress tests throughout their studies and will have individual tutorials with their tutor to discuss their learning and development.  Students are expected to complete homework every week and will be prepared for their exams, which are compulsory.

When are the classes?     

Both day and evening classes are offered, with 6 hours’ per week, over two days.

Your course also includes up to 12 hours’ free classes taught by trainee teachers.


Students are prepared for nationally recognised ESOL Skills for Life examinations . The exams are offered at five different levels:

Entry 1, Entry 2, Entry 3, Level 1, Level 2.
Exam dates – December, March and June

Course Levels

What level of English will I study?

Before you start a class you will be invited to college to take an assessment. The assessment will show us your level of English. You will be offered a place in the class best suited to your level if there are places available.

Part-timeA0Pre-EntryComplete Beginner
Part-timeB1E3Pre-Intermediate → Intermediate
Part-timeB2L1Intermediate → Upper Intermediate
Part-timeC1L2Upper Intermediate → Advanced

What exams will I take?    

Students are prepared for nationally recognised Trinity ESOL Skills for Life examinations. The exams are offered at five different levels:  Entry 1, Entry 2, Entry 3, Level 1 and Level 2.

Entry Requirements

Entry to this course is dependent on the result of a written and oral assessment at the start of the course, and on the availability of places. The assessment will determine which class is the most suitable for you, and an individual learning plan will be agreed with the class tutor. The minimum age for enrolment on the part-time ESOL programme is 16 years old.

Additional Costs

Students will need a pen, notebook and folder. Students will need to purchase an English learner dictionary (We recommend the Longman active study dictionary or the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary; prices range from £15 – £20). Students will need to pay for their exam.

Term Dates
What Can I Do Next?

These qualifications are nationally recognised and are welcomed by employers in the UK or by education establishments for further study.

Course progression includes further study in English. Progression onto further and higher education at level 3 and above in a variety of subject areas, including Access to Higher Education, Business, IT, Construction, Hair and Beauty, and Creative Industries.

Further Information

How much will the course cost?

ESOL courses cost you less because the government pays part of your course.  For this reason, you MUST take an exam at the end of your course.  The costs vary depending on how many exams you take (NOT on the number of hours you study).  The cost for two qualifications (Speaking & Listening, Reading and/or Writing) will be approximately £400 to £650.  If you take THREE qualifications, it will cost approximately £750.  If you do a Speaking & Listening exam, the fees include the cost of the course books that you will use during your studies.  Otherwise, you will need to pay an extra £53 for the books at the start of your course.

If you claim a Benefit

If you are in receipt of an income tested benefit the course may be cheaper or free. You will need to bring up to date evidence of the benefit you receive into college so that we can assess the fees you will need to pay. If you do not provide evidence then the full cost of the course must be paid. If you are under the age of 19 the course may be free; you need to show proof of your age.

If you pay for your studies

You should make full payment for the course when you register and before you attend class.  Alternatively, you can pay in instalments (plus an administrative charge), but you will be charged the full fee even if you do not complete the course. Failure to pay will result in you not being able to attend college and your place will be given to another person.

Information for Under 18s

Many students at Colchester Institute are under 18.  In the English Language department, we have a mixture: some students are under 18 and some are adults.  You may be in a class with some adult students. They will welcome you and help you with your studies. Your teachers will also work hard to keep you safe.

Commitment to Safeguarding

Colchester Institute believes the health and safety of all our students is important.  All of the English Language staff are trained to help keep students safe, happy and healthy in college.

Well-being and keeping safe

Bullying [using words or actions to make someone feel bad] is not allowed in the college.  The College is committed to making our classes a place where all students are respected and where bullying is not allowed.  If a student has a problem or complaint, we will listen to them and work to solve the problem quickly and fairly.

What should I do if I have a problem?

If a student has a problem or complaint they should speak to their teacher or the Student Services Welfare Team (B66a, Ground Floor, Main Building, Colchester Institute).   At The College at Braintree, please go to Student Services A56.  Student Services are very good at solving students’ problems.

We hope you will enjoy your studies with us and that you will always feel safe and happy to study here.


You need to arrange where you are going to live during your studies before you arrive in the UK. Colchester Institute is able to offer accommodation to students but it is limited depending on demand.

Accommodation offered by Colchester Institute

If you would like to arrange accommodation through Colchester Institute you will need to complete an Accommodation Request Form, you can email the Accommodation Officer to ask for this form once you have received your course offer.

Please contact:

UCC Operations

Tel: 0044 (0)1206 712613 Email: ucc.operations@colchester.ac.uk

UCC Operations
Colchester Institute
Sheepen Road
Colchester, Essex

Assessments for those looking to start in January have now closed. The next assessment days will take place later on in the spring term and these assessment days will be for programmes starting in April 2023. Please note that due to high demand, spaces will be limited and you may be offered a place for programmes starting in September 2023.

To apply to study an English Language programme with us you will need to complete the application form in the next menu.

English Language courses can start at various points during the year and can be studied on a part-time (3 or 6 hours per week) basis depending on what suits you, your schedule and your needs.

Applicants will receive an acknowledgement email or card within one week of the application being received by our Admissions team, if you do not receive this you should contact the team to check that your application has been received. Courses will run subject to sufficient applications being received.

If you have any further questions about the application process or next available start date, want to check the progress of your application or if you are unsure about anything please contact us using the enquiry line or enquiry form buttons in the next menu.

If you are ready to apply then please click the ‘Part-time English Language Application Form’ Button in the menu below to fill in the application form.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
Duration18 Weeks
Study ModePart-Time
Campus / Adult Skills CentreColchester Campus
Braintree Campus
Start DateSep - June (35 weeks)
Sep - Dec (14 weeks)
Jan - April (12 weeks)
Jan - June (21 weeks)
April - June (9 weeks)
Attendance6 hours per week*
You have a choice of morning, afternoon or evening classes.
Fee(s)16+: Variable


All fees, prices and funding information shown on this page are for courses starting in the 2022-23 academic year unless stated otherwise, and are correct at the time of entering/printing information, however these may be subject to change due to factors outside of our control. The College cannot accept legal or financial liability as a result of any such changes.

Courses fees are generally not confirmed for September until June / July due to the above factors.

The course information describes programmes offered by Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.