Find out more about studying on a Bell Young Learner course by reading through our frequently asked questions.
Still have questions? Contact us and we will be happy to help.
What clothes and items will my child need?
Your child does not need a lot of clothing, but please remember that it can sometimes be cold and wet in Britain. A number of the activities will take place outside, so your child is likely to get a little dirty or wet depending on the weather conditions.
For ALL courses, we recommend:
- Casual clothes for everyday wear
- Warm sweaters
- Something to wear at a party or disco
- Walking shoes
- A warm coat or jacket (preferably waterproof)
- Jogging pants and sweatshirt
- Sportswear and sports shoes (non-marking soled shoes must be worn in all indoor sports halls).
For Winter Explorer at St Albans:
It can be very cold and wet in Britain during the winter so please consider packing extra winter/warm clothing including:
- Warm hat, scarves and gloves
- Old trainers
Site specific items
At Bloxham, Wellington and The Leys there is a swimming pool. If your child wants to swim they should bring:
- Swimming costume or trunks
- Towels for washing and swimming
- Goggles (if required)
For specific activity electives, please consider that they may require the following items:
- Riding boots or shoes with a minimum 1 inch heel
- Slim fitting trousers which are suitable for riding (not jeans)
- Waterproof coat
- Polo shirts and a pair of casual trousers (not jeans) or smart shorts
- Trainers or shoes (no flip-flops or sandals)
Trainers suitable for astro-turf (artificial grass) surfaces
- Boots/trainers suitable for astro-turf (artificial grass)
- Football boots with studs are not required
If students can, bring dance or ballet shoes.
Arts and crafts/cooking
Old clothes for messy activities
Your child should only bring one suitcase, in addition to their hand luggage. Please check with your airline regarding weight restrictions for luggage on both outward and return flights and remember to attach your Bell luggage labels.
Please note that Bell cannot be responsible for the safety of valuable items and students wishing to bring them do so at their own risk.
What toiletries does my child need to bring?
Your child must bring their own towels, soap and shampoo, and hairdryer and adapter if desired. Paper hand towels are provided in bathrooms.
Are there laundry facilities?
A free laundry service is provided each week to cover essential items such as underwear and socks. Please ensure all clothes are machine washable up to 40°C and can be tumble-dried. They should be clearly labelled with your child’s name. Bell cannot accept liability for damage to clothing which cannot be laundered in this way. Please pack enough underwear as laundering normally takes 2 to 3 days, and your child may have to wait for up to 7 days before the first laundry service.
For your child’s security and convenience, we strongly urge you to transfer their pocket money in advance (see below for how to do this). We do not recommend that your child travels with their pocket money. They will only need to carry sufficient money for essentials at the destination airport.
All pocket money is deposited with a local bank for safe-keeping and will be issued to your child during the course. They will not need any money during the first days on the course.
How much pocket money will they need?
We suggest your child is provided with about £100-150 GBP per week for pocket money.
They will need to give a refundable damage/key deposit upon arrival of £30. This will be returned at the end of the course unless they have caused any damage. They will then need spending money for two study trips (the cost of the trips themselves is included in the course price). They may also like to purchase additional snacks and souvenirs at their Bell school.
We recommend that if your child brings a little pocket money in cash, they bring it in sterling wherever possible. If they bring any foreign currency, they will need to change this during a study tour – a member of staff will accompany them to a bank to do this.
For security reasons, all pocket money and any credit cards must be handed in when your child arrives on course. The money will be carefully counted with the member of Bell staff who is checking them in and your child will sign to confirm the amount handed in. At least twice a week, before study tours, your child will be given the opportunity to withdraw some of their money from the Centre Manager who looks after the pocket money account. This method of taking money out in smaller instalments ensures that your child does not have large amounts of cash with them unnecessarily and helps them to manage their money during their stay.
Once your child has withdrawn and signed for their pocket money, it becomes their responsibility and Bell are not liable for any loss.
When your child finishes their course, any outstanding money, minus any deductions for damages or lost items, will be returned them.
How can I transfer money?
To avoid your child carrying large amounts of cash with them when travelling to the UK, we highly recommend that pocket money is sent in advance. This can be sent in advance by bank transfer only: credit cards are not accepted. Payments can take up to 2 weeks to process, so please make all pocket money payments in good time.
Bell Educational Services Ltd
Barclays Bank PLC
9 - 11 St Andrews Street
On all pocket money payments, please make sure you quote the student name. If your child is studying in two Bell centres, pocket money will be split equally between the centres.
Please note: Bell does not cover bank charges and exchange rate differences.
On some courses your child may have the opportunity to see a show at a theatre in London's West End. The cost of this optional excursion is £60 GBP and includes the ticket and transport.
If you would like your child to attend the theatre trip, they will need to have £60 GBP in addition to £100 GBP pocket money per week.
Please note: Theatre trips will operate subject to ticket and transport availability. A minimum of 40 students is required for the theatre trip to operate.
If your child realises they have lost something while on the course, they should tell a member of Bell staff.
If, once your child has returned home, you realise that they have left something behind, please contact Bell on email@example.com and we will try to find the item. When contacting Bell, please provide a description of the lost item (colour, size, material, etc) and where it was last seen.
What happens if the airline loses my child's luggage?
If your child’s luggage is misplaced by the airline or it is delayed, they will usually receive a reference number.
The Bell team will manage all communication with the airline, to ensure that the luggage is recovered and sent directly to the school as soon as possible.
While your child is without luggage, the school will provide them with what they need until it arrives, including a towel and selection of toiletries. Where possible, this will be free of charge but, in some circumstances, they may need to use some of their pocket money to buy small items.
What are the Bell school rules?
All students are expected to follow the school rules. The rules are listed below and are clearly laid out in Bell's terms and conditions. All procedures are made absolutely clear to students upon arrival.
- Go to all of their lessons, activities and study tours.
- Be kind to others; ‘bullying’ is not tolerated.
- Give in their travel tickets and passports when they arrive so that we can keep them safe.
- Give in their money and credit cards and take it out from the ‘Bell Bank’.
- Give in their medicine and ask for these when they need them.
- Lock expensive things away in the space given to them or give them in at the Course Office so that they can be kept safely.
- Stay in groups of three or more people when they have free time on study tours.
- Respect the school building and equipment.
- Be quiet after ’lights out’.
Students must not:
- Leave the school without the permission of the Centre Manager.
- Go into the boys' house if they are a girl, or go into the girls' house if they are a boy.
- Use mobile phones, laptops or MP3 players in their lessons, activities or after lights out.
- Download onto Bell computers.
- Activate fire alarms or use fire exits unless there is an emergency.
- Smoke or have cigarettes, electronic cigarettes or lighters.
- Drink or have alcohol.
- Use or have illegal drugs
Parents will be contacted if these rules are broken. In serious cases, students may be sent home early with no refund of fees. These rules are to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all Bell students.
What levels of supervision are there?
On-site there is at least a 1:6 staff to student ratio, and on our Junior Active English course there is a 1:5 staff to student ratio.
On study tours, children over 11 years of age can enjoy small periods of free time (up to one hour only) with small groups of friends. A member of the Bell team will advise the students on an agreed meeting place, and will be there waiting for them. Students aged 7-11 will be accompanied by staff during this time.
Please note: If your child is over 11 but you do not wish your child to be unaccompanied during a study tour then let us know and we will arrange this.
How can I contact my child while they are away?
Upon arrival at the school, we will encourage your child to contact home to let you know that they have arrived safely using their mobile phone or by email.
For safety reasons, we recommend that every child brings with them a mobile phone and that they use this to stay in touch with you.
Each school has wifi in the communal areas, as well as designated computer time, so we can support your child in contacting home via Skype or email.
You can also contact the school and arrange a suitable time to speak to them.
Bell St Albans
- Course Office: 0044 1295 232074
- Emergency Contact: 0044 7795 507605
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Leys School
- Course Office: 0044 1223 508917
- Emergency Contact: 0044 7848 456055
- Email: email@example.com
- Course Office: 0044 1344 753471
- Emergency Contact: 0044 7848 456056
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens if my child falls ill?
At each site, there is a nurse available most mornings. We also have staff who can administer first aid and, providing that you have given consent for us to give non-prescription medication, our welfare team can treat minor ailments such as colds, coughs and headaches. If your child needs to see a doctor a member of the Bell team will accompany them to a local doctor’s surgery.
Please note: For the safety of all students, all medication must be handed in at point of registration. This is stored safely in a locked area and, providing that the correct authorisation has been given on the young learner medical form pre-arrival, the welfare team will administer medicine as per your instruction.
Please note that if your child is from outside of the EU they may have to pay for prescription medication. This can be invoiced to you.
Who can my child speak to if they are upset or worried?
Your child will have dedicated team of staff that they can speak to in confidence if they are worried or upset. The team includes a:
- Houseparent – responsible for the care and welfare of your child outside of the classroom.
- English teacher – responsible for your child’s learning in the classroom.
- Activity leader – responsible for the students’ activity team and extra-curricular activities.
What are the emergency phone numbers?
In the event of an emergency, please use the emergency phone number provided for your child’s school:
- Bell St Albans: 0044 7730 985859
- Bloxham School: 0044 7795 507605
- The Leys School: 0044 7848 456055
- Wellington College: 0044 7848 456056
These numbers are staffed 24 hours a day. We also advise your child to save the emergency number on their mobile phones.
Does the course include insurance?
Yes, insurance to cover medical expenses, cancellations and curtailments and loss of personal property is provided as part of your course fees.
This insurance is provided through Gibbs Denley.
- Pre-existing medical conditions are not covered
- Bell cannot be help responsible for loss or theft of personal property
Accommodation and meals
Where is the accommodation?
All of our schools have on-site residential accommodation. To find out more about the accommodation for each of our schools visit our location pages:
Where possible, and only if notified at point of booking, Bell will try to satisfy rooming requests. However, please note that different sites have different room types (single/twin/dorm) and that it will depend on the time of year/number of students. Where possible, we will always try to ensure a nationality mix in the accommodation.
Does each bedroom have a bathroom?
No, students share bathroom facilities with other students. There are separate bathrooms for girls and boys, and also separate staff and student bathrooms in each house.
What time do students go to bed?
This can sometimes depend on the evening activity and the house meetings, but usually bed time for junior students (aged 7-11) will be by 10pm and for students 12-17 it will usually be by 10:30pm.
Can I see a sample menu?
All of our young learner schools offer fresh, healthy and nutritious meals. Your child will have the opportunity to try delicious British food, whilst also enjoying dishes from around the world.
To get an idea of what your child may eat at meal times, view our sample menu which is intended as a guide only. Actual meal plans are subject to change. In every school there are facilities for your child to buy snacks.
Will my child’s dietary requirement be catered for?
Please advise staff at the time of booking if your child has a special dietary requirement or allergy. At all our sites we endeavour to cater for dietary requirements and staff are on hand to supervise meal times and inform students about the food on offer. Please tell us if your child requires Halal meat.
Where can my child socialise with other students outside of lessons?
Students have access to communal spaces in their houses and around the school where they can socialise with their new friends in their free time.
Can I make a rooming request for my child?
We encourage a mix of nationalities in student houses and will try to accommodate any rooming requests made at the point of booking.
The academic programme
Bell uses project-based learning to teach students grammar, vocabulary and practical and everyday language themed around a suitable topic. Topics may include British traditions, international food, UK pop culture or Shakespeare. Students work together to achieve a project outcome such as a video, presentation, class magazine or a short story. Teachers use a range of communicative teaching techniques such as pair work, discussions and information gap activities to help students learn by doing. The emphasis is on improving students’ communicative confidence by using language to achieve real-life goals.
Find out more about our teaching approach, The Bell Way.
In addition to traditional classroom-based learning, students learn through their daytime and evening activities, and study tours. During the activity sessions your child gain new practical skills, improve their English knowledge and language level, develop life skills such as teamwork and leadership, and grow in confidence. Bell considers study tours as lessons outside of the classroom. On study tours students develop their language and life skills, and learn about British culture through exploring places of interest such as Oxford, Cambridge and London. We also hold an English Challenge Day on each course, which encourages the use of English throughout the day with games and competitions.
Students are tested on the first morning of the course. The test includes a grammar and vocabulary task, a writing task and a short speaking test with a teacher. Students are placed in the class that is most appropriate for their age and English level. We also consider nationality and gender when creating classes to make sure there is a good balance.
If your child feels they are in the wrong class they should speak to their teacher, or the Director of Studies, who will help them to make sure the class is meeting their needs.
To provide a record of your child’s time on the course and demonstrate their progress, their achievements are recorded daily in a personal language portfolio which contains:
Project and language lesson work
Study tour work
‘Can-do’ statements – a certificate demonstrating level of English achieved.
Progress report by their teacher outlining participation and improved communication skills.
At the end of each course your child will receive an official Bell certificate with grades showing their English level and comments from their teachers.
The certificate can be re-sent via email if your child loses it or forgets to take it home. Please email email@example.com if you require an additional copy of a certificate.
An inclusive learning environment
At Bell we pride ourselves on offering an inclusive environment for students of all needs and backgrounds. We are usually able to tailor our classes and activities to students with special needs, as long as we are informed in advance of any special requirements or considerations. All special requirements should be disclosed on the medical form pre-arrival.
Can I receive copies of videos/photos taken during my child's course?
Due to UK child protection laws, we are unable to share videos/photos taken during the course with parents or students after the course finishes. All parents are requested to give permission for Bell to take and use photos of their children for educational and promotional purposes. If a child in one of the photos/videos taken on the course does not have parental permission then we cannot share these photos/videos with other students or parents.