How to choose an
English summer course

How to find the best English language summer course for your child or teenager

Choosing a English summer camp for kids and teens can be difficult. And it's very important for a young person's first experiences of learning English away from home to be positive.

That's why it's important to look at the details of a school, such as accreditation, supervision and safeguarding, as well as logistics - where and when is the course? Values are and education style are important too - does the school look welcoming, inclusive and responsible?

At best, students will return home more confident using English, as well as healthy and refreshed having had lots of new experiences and made new friends.

Whatever type of course you choose, make sure the school is accredited.

Here are some other questions for parents, teachers and agents to consider before choosing an English language summer course:

1. Is the school accredited?

Only accredited schools, like English Country Schools, are allowed to display this mark.

2. Is the school a member of Young Learners English UK?

Membership of the Young Learners special interest group of English UK is voluntary and indicates that an organisation takes its responsibilities to young learners seriously, over and above the requirements of British Council accreditation.

Members agree to continually evaluate and improve standards of safety, welfare and child protection and to enhance procedures and standards for staff selection, recruitment, and performance of all adults working with children.

View Young Learners English UK member schools

Only members of Young Learners English UK can use this logo on their website.

3. Does the school have a Child Safeguarding Policy?

Child safeguarding is about making sure a language school or other business is safe for children and young people. A safeguarding policy is a detailed document that explains all the steps the organisation takes to keep people under the age of 18 safe and looked after. It should also cover what they will to do if there are concerns about a child's wellbeing.

It is important that you choose a school that is committed to keeping children safe. Schools that are accredited by the British Council must meet high standards of child protection.

If you can't find a safeguarding policy on their website, ask to see it.

View English Country Schools' child safeguarding policy

4. What kind of accommodation is provided?

5. Is the course multi-national/ multi-lingual?

6. When is the course?

7. Where is the school and how do you get there?

8. How does the school cater for different age groups?

9. Is the teaching programme innovative and interesting?

Our students are on holiday with friends, old and new, in another country – they are not likely to be interested by English language lessons that they could easily receive at home.

To make sure your child or teen has a full and enriching learning experience, look for language courses that use up-to-date teaching materials and appropriate technology, as well as varied and interesting ways of learning.

At ECS we 'bridge the gap' between holiday and learning through the project out of the classroom and educational workshops, such as a course magazine to provide a focus for written work.

Find out more about English lessons and educational workshops at ECS.

10. Does the school arrange activities after classes?

11. How will they communicate with you?

Good communication is essential while you child is away at a summer camp in another country.

Consider asking the school how they will keep you informed about your child's progress. Maybe there is an online system or regular email reports? Is there a number you can call if you have any questions or concerns about your child? For example, they may show signs of homesickness on the phone to you and you would like to hear how they are doing from the ECS team.

And good communication means listening too. Is the school interested in input, ideas and feedback from staff, pupils and their parents or carers?

At ECS we produce weekly reports for parents, check on our pupils through a settling in survey and gather feedback from both pupils and parents at the end of the course.

12. Does the school have a good reputation?

Finally, it is important to not only see what the school says about their courses and student experience, but also what parents and pupils think.

To help with this, look for a feedback or testimonials page on their website. Do they show comprehensive feedback and can you see a full breakdown of responses or only the results and quotes the school has chosen to promote?

Another great way to get real insight into the school's culture and practices is speaking to other people who have chosen the school. Ask the school if they can put you in touch with other parents who can share their views and answer your questions

View feedback from ECS parents and pupils or talk to a fellow parent before you book.