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How Much are English Lessons?

The cost of English lessons can vary quite a lot. You can find lessons for £15, and you can find them for £60, but how much should you be paying?

Generally, I would say that, like most things, you get what you pay for but here are a few questions to ask before you book your lessons in order to ensure you are getting good value for your money:

1. How long are the lessons? My lessons are 1 hour, but many schools offer 45-minute lessons. This means that if, for example, you are paying £30 per lesson, that's really £40 per hour. Check the maths before you book.

Read about my lessons here

2. Who is going to be teaching you? Any native speaker can teach you some English, an English teacher can teach you more, but only a specialist will be able to assess your needs effectively and provide the language input you really need.

Did you know that teaching English is a popular job for English speakers who want to earn money while they travel and it's incredibly easy to get the most basic qualification (often referred to as a TEFL).

To ensure that you get a good teacher, look out for teachers with higher levels of qualification and those who are passionate about their subject and dedicated to their work.

3. How many students will be in your class? For most students, 1-to-1 time with a professional teacher is the best value for money because the lessons can be focused entirely on the student's own personal strengths and weaknesses. However, studying as part of a group can have its benefits too. If your preference is to study with a group, check that the school does in fact have a group for you to join which is suitable for your level and check how many people will be in it. Keep in mind that if the class is too big, you may not have a lot of opportunity to speak.

4. Who else will be in the class? Will the class be a multi-lingual which provides an opportunity to practise your English with other students or mono-lingual which may mean you hear and speak your own language more than English. You should also check how often new students are enrolled into the group; on the one hand, new students can keep things fresh and interesting, on the other hand, you might feel that new students disrupt the flow of an ongoing course.

5. What type of class is it? Are you looking for lots of language input and correction from a highly-experienced teacher or are you just looking for conversational English? Conversational English classes are likely to be cheaper because your teacher does not need to have the same level of knowledge. Equally, a class which is heavily textbook-led may also indicate an inexperienced teacher.

6. Will you be getting consistent teachers? If you are booking a programme of lessons with a school, check how many permanent teachers they employ and how many temporary ones they have. Because English courses are naturally seasonal, schools often rely on a pool of temporary teachers to meet the teaching demand. Some of these teachers will, of course, be less dedicated than others. Ask about the teaching team especially if you are intending to attend school during summer months when courses are busier.

7. Is the class the right level for you? Check how many different levels the school can accommodate. Many schools offer 7 different levels (Beginner - Elementary - Pre-Intermediate - Intermediate - Upper-Intermediate - Advanced - Proficiency). If the school has fewer classes than this, it might suggest the range of level within each class is quite large. Studying at the wrong level can make progress very slow - either it's too easy, not stimulating, and you have little opportunity to improve, or the class will be too difficult and you are likely to struggle. If you are looking for an exam preparation course, this too should be right for your level; be particularly aware of IELTS preparation courses which don't stipulate the level.

8. How many lessons/hours are you really getting? Many course timetables include personal study time, so 5 sessions per day might be only 4 taught lessons (3 hours). Check the details of the timetable before you start.

9. What's included? Are the materials included or is there a textbook you need to buy? Is homework included? Will there be opportunities to learn outside the lesson?

10. What's not included? Check if there are any hidden costs such as student registration fees or foreign exchange fees which can make your course even more expensive.

11. What else is on offer? Are there social events? Do they have a mailing list? Do they write blogs? Do they have good quality social media content? All these areas are great for additional language input, practice, and networking.

12. What about long term objectives? Will your teacher offer long term guidance to help you continue to make good progress? Can they offer progress tests and grading? Ask about taking a placement test before you start.

13. Does the school/teacher meet the relevant standards for safety and welfare? Are they sufficiently insured for what they do? Are they compliant? Are activities risk assessed? Are staff trained in the relevant safety and welfare areas? For teachers of under 18s, you should ask to see DBS certificates and check they are appropriately trained in safeguarding too.

14. Are you paying the teacher what they are worth? There are excellent teachers working in mediocre schools all across the country. Whilst the school may charge £60 per lesson (£80 per hour), the teacher might be getting £14-£18 per hour. This is because schools have lots of overheads to cover, of course. Similarly, if you are using an agent, you are likely to pay significantly more than the teacher is getting. Consider working with a freelance teacher to spend your money directly on their skills.

There are many things to consider before choosing an English teacher but my final top tip is to check the reviews and ask around. Do you know someone who is taking English lessons? Are they happy with their progress? Do you know someone else who is using an app and making no progress?

If you're not ready to pay for English lessons yet, there are lots of ways that you can self-study too. You can read more about self-study here in my other blog self-study English.

How much are English lessons?
The big question!


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