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With Cobham Hall’s international ethos attracting girls from all over the world, an excellent English as a Foreign Language Department is essential.

The EFL Department provides language support lessons to ensure that all students at Cobham – no matter where they come from – can access the full curriculum and enjoy a happy and full social life using English. Both of these elements are essential for our international students.

Life as an international boarder at Cobham has particular advantages for girls joining the school in order to improve their English, as it provides an immersive environment for them to develop academic, functional and social English.  Lessons are not restricted to preparation for tests or examinations.  Girls at Cobham Hall learn English in a way that will allow them to live and interact with others and to transcend national and cultural boundaries.

EFL classes are taught by a team of specialist teachers with an emphasis on communicative competence and on developing the skills required for accessing the entire curriculum.

Throughout the school, students who are identified as requiring extra EFL support are offered a specific language programme to develop their English.  While most students take EFL alongside the main curriculum timetable, in some cases a pupil may be withdrawn from certain subjects in order to join a short-term modified programme. The EFL staff liaise regularly with subject teachers and may offer subject-specific support when necessary, especially in the revision period before summer examinations.

Overseas students take an English language test as part of the admissions process and are tested again on arrival. Teaching is in small groups or occasionally on a one-to-one basis.

In the Sixth Form, English Language is an integral part of the International Baccalaureate English B course and is taught as a language acquisition programme for girls whose first language is not English. English B is offered at both Standard and Higher Levels. IB students develop a deeper understanding of grammar through a focus on form and meaning, while learning to communicate in a variety of different registers.  Higher Level students also study works of literature as part of their course.

Pre-IB students needing EFL support follow a special programme covering grammar, communication skills, cultural awareness and functional productive language.

Pastoral support is a key element of the EFL Department and all overseas students benefit from our ‘open-door’ approach. Pupils are welcome to discuss any issues concerning their academic life and any language or cultural matters that may concern them. The EFL Department at Cobham Hall is a welcoming, supportive environment where students can both learn and have fun and where they can gain enough confidence in English to integrate and succeed.