1 Inspection report Organisation name Inspection date 8-9 October 2014 The Burlington School of English, London Section standard Met Not met Management: The management of the provision will operate to the benefit of its students, in accordance with its publicity and in accordance with the Declaration of legal and regulatory compliance. Resources and environment: The learning resources and environment will support and enhance the studies of students enrolled with the provider, and will offer an appropriate professional environment for staff. Teaching and learning: Teachers will have appropriate qualifications and will be given sufficient support to ensure that their teaching meets the needs of their students. Programmes of learning will be managed for the benefit of students. The teaching observed will meet the requirements of the Scheme. Welfare and student services: The needs of students for security, pastoral care, information and leisure activities will be met; any accommodation provided will be suitable; the management of the accommodation systems will work to the benefit of students. Care of under 18s section Met Not met There will be appropriate provision for the safeguarding of students under the age of 18 within the organisation and in any leisure activities or accommodation provided. Recommendation We recommend continued accreditation. Publishable statement The British Council inspected and accredited The Burlington School of English in October The Accreditation Scheme assesses the standards of management, resources and premises, teaching, welfare and care of under-18s and accredits organisations which meet the overall standard in each area inspected (see for details). This private language school offers courses in general English for adults (16+) and for closed groups of under-18s and vacation courses for under-18s. The inspection report stated that the organisation met the standards of the Scheme. Report expires 31 March 2019
3 Organisation profile Inspection history First inspection 1993 Last full inspection 2011 Dates/details Subsequent spot check (if applicable) January & July 2013 Subsequent supplementary check (if applicable) 2012 Subsequent interim visit (if applicable) August 2014 Current accreditation status Other related schools / centres /affiliates Other related non-accredited activities (in brief) at this centre Private Sector Date of foundation 1990 Ownership Other accreditation/inspection Limited Company ISI Accredited Premises profile Address of main site Details of any additional sites in use at the time of the inspection Details of any additional sites not in use at the time of the inspection Inspectors note of sites inspected 1-3 Chesilton Road, Fulham SW6 5AA The school is housed in a three-storey building on a residential street off the Fulham Road in London. It is immediately adjacent to several bus routes and a few minutes' walk away from an underground station. The ground floor comprises a reception area, a large open-plan office used by administrative staff, a teachers' work room, a cafeteria/coffee bar and five classrooms. On the first floor there are ten classrooms, the principal's office, the academic manager's office, a small room available for Skyping, and an open area containing selfaccess materials and four computers. The second floor is used as a student residence, consisting of three shared bedrooms with bunk beds and two shower rooms with toilets. A fourth room on the same floor provides accommodation for a live-in housekeeper. A small open-air space is located at the side of the building. Student profile At inspection In peak week July Of all international students, approximate percentage on ELT/ESOL courses 100% 100% ELT/ESOL Students (eligible courses) At inspection In peak week Total ELT/ESOL student numbers (FT + PT) Full-time ELT (15+ hours per week) 18 years and over Full-time ELT (15+ hours per week) aged years 0 10 Full-time ELT (15+ hours per week) aged under Part-time ELT aged 18 years and over Part-time ELT aged years 1 15 Part-time ELT aged under 16 years 0 25 Minimum age (including closed group or vacation) 16 8 Typical age range Typical length of stay 4-8 weeks 2-3 weeks Predominant nationalities Italian, Russian, Thai Italian, Russian, Thai Number on PBS Tier 4 General student visas 6 8 Number on PBS Tier 4 child visas 0 0
4 Number on student visitor visas Number on child visitor visas 1 20 Staff profile At inspection In peak week (organisation s estimate) Total number of teachers on eligible ELT courses Number teaching ELT under 10 hours/week 0 Number teaching ELT hours/week 5 Number teaching ELT 20 hours and over/week 6 Total number of administrative/ancillary staff 7 Academic staff qualifications to teach ELT/TESOL Profile at inspection Professional qualifications Total number of teachers Diploma-level ELT/TESOL qualification (TEFLQ) 2 Certificate-level ELT/TESOL qualification (TEFLI) 8 Holding specialist qualifications only (specify) YL initiated Qualified teacher status only (QTS) Rationale(s) required for teachers without appropriate ELT/TESOL qualifications 1 Total 11 These figures include the academic manager(s) The figures include one academic manager, who was teaching at the time of the inspection. The other two members of the academic management team (a newly-appointed academic manager and a freelance consultant) are not included. Both are TEFLQ. Course profile Eligible activities Year round Vacation Other - General ELT for adults (18+) General ELT for juniors (under 18) English for academic purposes (excludes IELTS preparation) English for specific purposes (includes English for Executives) Teacher development (excludes award-bearing courses) ESOL skills for life/for citizenship Other Run n Run n Run n General English courses for adults (16+) are run year round. A junior course for eight to 17 year olds runs for two months in the summer, using the same premises as the adult course. The school offers to accept closed junior groups at any time of the year and also accepts closed teachers' groups at any time during the year. Neither juniors courses nor teachers' courses were running at the time of the inspection. ESP as an option is also on offer. Three students were receiving one-to-one tuition from the same teacher, at different times of day.
5 Accommodation profile Number of students in each at the time of inspection (all ELT/ESOL students) Types of accommodation Adults Under 18s Arranged by provider/agency Homestay 18 1 Private home Home tuition Residential 9 Hotel/guesthouse Independent self-catering e.g. flats, bedsits, student houses Arranged by student/family/guardian Staying with own family Student s own arrangements 104 Introduction The merger/takeover of King Street College took place in September The premises of King Street College were not taken on and the operation, including students and some staff, was transferred to the Burlington School. Of the teaching staff who transferred from King Street College to the Burlington School, four remain and have integrated well with their colleagues. The director of studies from King Street College transferred to the Burlington School but left after five months. A considerable amount of teaching/learning material was acquired from King Street College during the merger and has been incorporated into the existing stock. Any readjustments required as a consequence of the merger have now been completed and the operation is fully integrated. After a period between 2012 and 2014 when there were a number of changes in the academic management of the Burlington School, an interim arrangement was put in place with the temporary appointment of an academic manager who was employed on a freelance consultancy basis in February A second member of the academic management team is the director of studies, a permanent member of staff who reports to the academic manager. After a period of some uncertainty, the relative roles, responsibilities and lines of management between the two were clarified. A substantive post of academic manager was advertised in the summer of 2014 and has now been filled. The newly appointed academic manager joined the school on 6 October 2014 and during the handover period the freelance manager will continue to be employed. Therefore, at the time of the inspection there was an academic management team of three: the freelance consultant, the newly appointed academic manager and the director of studies. The principal continues to be based elsewhere but is in regular contact with key staff in the school and visits for approximately 12 weeks per year. Three members of staff at the school report direct to the principal: the office manager, the marketing manager (whose role extends beyond marketing) and the academic manager. In the principal s absence they each communicate with her direct, as appropriate to their roles. However, there is no one person designated to deputise for the principal when she is not present. The inspection took place over two days with two inspectors. In the course of the inspection meetings were held with: the principal the marketing manager the office manager the newly-appointed academic manager the consultant acting academic manager the director of studies the registrars the accommodation/welfare manager. In addition meetings were held with a group of students, selected by one inspector, and with a group of teachers. One inspector visited three homestays and the school residence.
6 Management Legal and statutory regulations Criteria M1 Declaration of compliance M1 The items sampled were satisfactory. Staff management M2 Management structure M3 Duties specified M4 Communication channels M5 Human resources policies M6 Qualifications verified M7 Induction procedures M8 Monitoring staff performance M9 Professional development M2 The principal is based elsewhere and visits the school regularly. Her total presence amounts to approximately 12 weeks per year. There is no deputy principal and the three managers who report direct to the principal are of equal rank. There is therefore no single person in overall charge of the school during the time when the principal is not present. However, the managers operate effectively as a team and the lack of a single deputy does not appear to have a deleterious effect on the running of the school. The structure appears to work effectively in practice. M3 Job descriptions are in place for staff, but some responsibilities could be more fully described, particularly with reference to safeguarding matters. M4 There are weekly meetings of managers and also of teachers, and records are kept of these meetings. The three managers who report direct to the principal reported positively on the ease of communication with her by phone and during her absence. As both administrative and teaching staff work in close proximity there are ample opportunities for informal communication on a continuous basis. M6 Staff files are complete and full records are kept of qualifications and experience. Signed copies of certificates are kept on file. References are taken up and written notes are taken of telephone references. M8 The school operates an annual appraisal process. A written capability procedure is in place and is known to staff through the staff handbook. The procedure has been applied when required and a record kept of the process and the outcome. M9 The school encourages professional development and has provided in-house safeguarding training for all staff. Limited funding is available for managers to attend selected external events. For teaching staff see T10. Student administration M10 Administrative staff and resources M11 Information on course choice M12 Enrolment procedures M13 Student records M14 Student attendance policy M15 Conditions and procedures
7 M12 There are clear procedures for enrolment and staff are thoroughly trained in this area. Suggested scripts are provided for enquiries and enrolment so that any member of the administrative staff can cover enrolment if necessary. M13 Student records are kept both electronically and on paper. They are up-to-date and comprehensive. All students are required to provide details of an emergency contact and the information is readily accessible in the school office. M14 An attendance and punctuality policy is rigorously implemented and is made known to all students. Records are kept and follow-up action is taken when required. M15 No detailed statement on expulsion was in evidence except for a brief reference in relation to abusive behaviour. However, in the course of the inspection the school s expulsion policy was added to the school s website. Quality assurance M16 Action plan M17 Continuing improvement M18 Student feedback and action M19 Staff feedback and action M20 Complaints M16 A full action plan in response to the most recent spot check report was not in evidence, although a report on developments addressed some of the points to be addressed. A satisfactory action plan, detailing action taken with dates, was produced during the inspection. M18 Initial and end-of-course feedback is obtained and analysed. Occasional student focus group meetings are held. Publicity M21 Accessible accurate language M22 Realistic expectations M23 Course description M24 Course information M25 Cost M26 Accommodation M27 Leisure programme M28 Staff qualifications M29 Accreditation Publicity material comprises a printed prospectus and a website as well as pages on social media and videos on YouTube. M25 The cost of examination fees was not included in publicity but was added to the school s website during the inspection. All other information required was in place. M28 Publicity material claimed that all staff were qualified, but one member of the teaching staff does not have a TEFL qualification. The claim was removed from the website during the inspection. Management summary The provision meets the section standard. Staff management and student administration operate effectively, quality assurance procedures are in place and publicity meets Scheme requirements, following a small number of adjustments made while the inspection was taking place.
8 Resources and environment Premises and facilities R1 Adequate space R2 Condition of premises R3 Classrooms and learning areas R4 Student relaxation facilities R5 Signage and display R6 Staff room(s) R1 The premises provide sufficient space to accommodate adult students comfortably. However, the lack of an outdoor playing area is a disadvantage when courses for juniors are run. The school is aware of this and is seeking alternative premises for junior summer courses. R3 Classrooms are adequate in size and are adequately furnished to allow flexibility and movement. The lighting in some rooms is poor. Students and staff commented that the school was cold during the winter and that they felt the need to wear outdoor clothing in class. This was evident at the time of the inspection. R4 There is a spacious cafeteria/coffee bar which serves hot and cold food and drinks at breakfast time and lunch time. Students spoke positively of the provision. A communal area on the mezzanine floor provides comfortable seating for students. R6 There is a sizeable staff work room for teachers with ample desk space and storage facilities. This room also houses the bulk of the teaching resources, which are considerable. Administrative staff share a large open-plan office. The cafeteria/coffee bar provides an adequate space for relaxation and social contact. Learning resources R7 Learning materials R8 Resources for teachers R9 Educational technology R10 Self-access facilities R11 Library/self-access guidance R12 Review and development R7 Designated coursebooks are used for core courses and students are required to purchase the book within their first week. Students will be given photocopies in the first few days after their arrival but after the first week will not be allowed in class without their own copy of the coursebook. Books can be purchased at the school. R8 A wide range of published material, old and new, is available. This includes coursebooks, supplementary material, ESP material and examination preparation material. Reference books and CDs are also in evidence. Computer provision for teachers is somewhat limited but WIFI is available and additional laptop computers are in circulation. Teachers have the use of two photocopiers/printers. R10 An open self-access area is located centrally and provides access to computers and self-study material. A good stock of readers, dictionaries, DVDs and older coursebooks is available for students to use and borrow if they wish. R11 An introduction to the self access facility is given at induction and further support and guidance is provided on request, as required. Resources and environment summary The provision meets the section standard. Premises and facilities meet the needs of students and staff; learning resources are appropriate and adequate in number to support effective learning and teaching. Some concern was expressed by students and staff about the low level of heating in the school.
9 Teaching and learning Academic staff profile T1 General education (and rationales) T2 ELT/TESOL teacher qualifications T3 Rationales for teachers T4 Profile of academic manager(s) T5 Rationale for academic manager(s) T1 A rationale was accepted in the context of the present inspection for one teacher without a level 6 qualification on the basis of near completion of a master s degree. T2 All teachers have a certificate-level or diploma-level TEFL qualification, with the exception of one teacher who had transferred from King Street College in T3 A rationale was accepted in the context of the present inspection for the teacher without a TEFL qualification, on the grounds of extensive and varied teaching experience. T4 The academic management team, consisting of three TEFLQ managers, is well qualified and experienced. Academic management T6 Deployment of teachers T7 Timetabling T8 Cover for absent teachers T9 Continuous enrolment T10 Support for teachers T11 Observation and monitoring T6 Teachers are deployed on the basis of their areas of knowledge and expertise. In order to broaden their experience, teachers are rotated between different levels at least every two terms. One teacher with expertise in the teaching of juniors leads the team teaching that age group. T9 Adequate procedures are in place to accommodate the needs of students joining after the beginning of term. These include an induction, which is held at the beginning of every week when new students join classes, and an arrangement for students to have use of a coursebook or photocopies during their first week, allowing them time to buy their own copy. T10 In-house workshops, led by members of the teaching staff, are held regularly and allow for useful exchanges of knowledge and experience. Some peer observation also takes place. However, there is little external input into the professional development programme, so far as teaching and learning is concerned. The inclusion of visiting speakers would enrich the provision and be of benefit to the teaching staff and their students. The academic management team attend a number of external events with the support of the school. T11 Teachers are observed by members of the academic management team twice a year. Detailed records are kept and the reports produced are insightful and perspicacious. Teachers commented that they found the feedback given after observation to be helpful and of use to them. Course design and implementation T12 Principled course structure T13 Review of course design T14 Course outlines T15 Study and learning strategies T16 Linguistic benefit from UK
10 T12 Written syllabuses and schemes of work are produced. The content and progression are linked to the designated coursebook or other materials used; links to the main coursebook and suggested supplementary materials are clearly set out. T14 Written outlines of course content are posted on a weekly basis in classrooms for core courses. For other elements, such as skills work, a written overview is provided. T15 There is no reference to study skills or learning strategies in the syllabuses. They may be included in courses on an ad hoc basis, for example if included in the coursebook being used, but there is no systematic coverage in the course-structure documents in use. T16 Some suggestions are given to teachers on linking course content to the external environment and a workbook on cultural aspects of London and Britain is under development in-house. This criterion is just met and there is scope for further development. Learner management T17 Placement and level T18 Monitoring students progress T19 Examination guidance T20 Assessment criteria T21 Academic reports T22 Information on UK education T18 Regular progress tests are administered and students have a tutorial with their class teacher once or twice a term. T21 Attendance certificates are provided, which set out a student s level of attainment, cross-referenced to the Common European Framework of Reference, details of which are given on the reverse of the certificate. Classroom observation record Number of teachers seen 11 Number of observations 11 Parts of programme(s) observed Observations included one observation of a one-to-one lesson. All Classroom observation T23 Linguistic systems of English T24 Appropriate language T25 Planning content T26 Coherent and relevant activities T27 Classroom management T28 Teaching techniques T29 Student engagement T30 Sensitivity and learning atmosphere T23 In general, examples of appropriate modelling were observed, but there was one instance of an incorrect model being given. T24 There was a tendency to overestimate the language level of students proficiency in some classes.
11 T25 Little focus on grammar and pronunciation was observed, although a small number of stronger lessons included attention to pronunciation (see T28). The majority of lesson segments seen focused on vocabulary development centred around a topic-based approach. Most lesson plans had clearly-stated objectives but one lacked specific objectives in terms of language content and in another lesson the content did not match the stated objectives. T26 Schemes of work and weekly plans were in place and were being adhered to. T27 Instances of the use of realia, visuals and work sheets were observed. In one lesson the interactive whiteboard was used to present a video clip. In most lesson segments observed, little use was made of the whiteboard, and, where it was used, most board work was not well organised. In some lessons new vocabulary was not written up on the board for students to note down. T28 Teachers used questioning techniques effectively to elicit responses from students. Personalisation was used to good effect in one lesson. In stronger lesson segments observed there was useful pronunciation work done, including the use of phonemic symbols and the marking of word stress. In weaker lessons, opportunities were missed for correction and the teaching of vocabulary was not done effectively. The range of techniques used was somewhat limited. T29 Teachers maintained a lively pace and made good use of pair work, which was in evidence in most lessons observed. Students worked well together and teachers actively monitored and supported students in pair work mode. There was a fair level of student participation in a minority of lessons but in the majority the teacher tended to adopt a rather dominant role, allowing students only limited opportunities to participate actively in plenary mode. This was particularly evident in fluency lessons, where most teachers did most of the speaking in whole-class mode and students had little opportunity or encouragement to contribute and were given little time to formulate responses. T30 Rapport was good overall and there were several instances of humour lightening the tone of the lesson. Classroom observation summary The teaching observed just met Scheme requirements. Overall, teaching ranged from good to just satisfactory, with most of the teaching observed falling in the satisfactory to just satisfactory range. Most lessons had clearly stated objectives but in several instances these were of limited scope and focused primarily on vocabulary development. Opportunities for correction and for the teaching of pronunciation were missed. Some resources such as realia, visuals and worksheets were used to good effect but little use was made of the whiteboard. Board work, where in evidence, tended to be poorly organised. Lessons proceeded with a lively pace and teachers were adept at making good use of pair work, where students worked well together. In plenary mode, however, teachers tended to dominate and provided limited opportunities for student participation, even in fluency classes. Rapport with students was good and several teachers used humour to good effect. Teaching and learning summary The provision meets the section standard. The academic staff profile is satisfactory overall and the profile of the academic management team is good. Academic management operates effectively and teachers feel supported. Professional development for teachers is limited to in-house workshops given by members of the staff and would benefit from some external input. Appropriate syllabuses and schemes of work are in place and students are effectively managed. The teaching observed just met Scheme requirements. Welfare and student services Care of students W1 Safety and security onsite W2 Pastoral care W3 Personal problems W4 Dealing with abusive behaviour W5 Emergency contact number W6 Transport and transfers W7 Advice W8 Medical and dental treatment
12 W1 The school reception is staffed from to and visitors are required to sign in and out, and to wear lanyards; staff and all under 18s also have to wear lanyards. The most recent fire risk assessment of the building was carried out in September There is a detailed risk assessment in place for the school residence on the third floor. Regular fire drills are carried out. W2 Pastoral care is appropriate. Management and administrative staff are accessible in the school office and were seen advising and assisting students. A quiet room for prayer/reflection is made available on request. W3 The accommodation and welfare officer is identified in the student handbooks (adult and junior), at induction and on notice boards around the school. W4 The policy and procedure for dealing with abusive behaviour is expressed in clear and reasonably accessible language in the student handbooks and on posters throughout the school. W7 There is generally good provision of appropriate advice in the student handbooks. Accommodation profile on the accommodation seen by the inspectors The inspector visited three homestays, all quite close to the school, which were of a good standard. She also visited the school residence on the third floor of the building which comprises three rooms (one room for four male students, one room for four female students and one room for three female students), two shower rooms, and a room with its own facilities for the resident housekeeper. The accommodation in the residence is basic, and advertised as such, but of a satisfactory standard. Accommodation: all types W9 Services and facilities W10 Accommodation inspected first W11 Accommodation re-inspected W12 Accommodation registers W13 Information W14 Student feedback W15 Meals in homestay/residences W9 The homestays visited provided all the required services. Rooms in the residence have bunk beds but these are pictured in the publicity materials so students know what to expect. W11 The accommodation and welfare officer has been in post since July 2014 and has drawn up a comprehensive checklist to use when inspecting accommodation. She places students only in those homestays she has visited since her appointment. Helpful guidance is given to homestay hosts about the need to carry out fire risk assessments of their homes but the school has no system for recording when, or whether, this has been done. An amended document was drawn up during the inspection to facilitate the checking and recording of this procedure. W14 An initial questionnaire is in place, as well as an end-of-course questionnaire, and there was evidence of prompt action on issues raised in feedback. W15 Students in the school residence take their breakfast and lunch in the school cafeteria. There is a fridge and microwave in the residence and students have access to the cafeteria space (but not the kitchen) in the evenings if they wish to eat their own food there. Accommodation: homestay W16 No more than four students W17 Rules, terms and conditions W18 Shared bedrooms W19 Students first language W20 Language of communication
13 W21 Adult to welcome W17 The school provides homestay hosts with helpful handbooks for hosting adult students and/or under 18s. Accommodation: residential W22 Cleaning W23 Health W23 There are three first aid trained members of staff in the school. The residence housekeeper is currently undertaking a first aid course. Accommodation: other W24 Information and support W25 Other accommodation W24 Useful written information for students wishing to find their own accommodation is provided by the accommodation and welfare officer, but this is expressed in unnecessarily difficult language. Leisure opportunities W26 Events and activities W27 Leisure programmes W28 Health and safety W29 Responsible person W26 Some information about social, cultural and sporting events and activities is provided by means of noticeboards around the school. Staff give individual students help and advice with booking travel and tickets. W27 The leisure programme offered to adult students is reasonably varied and includes activities organised by the school, and some organised by external travel companies. Take-up is low and some activities are cancelled when minimum numbers are not reached. The leisure programme for juniors in the summer is full and varied and the teacher in charge of the junior courses reported that students had enjoyed the activities very much in summer W28 Significant work has been done by the leisure programme organiser to ensure that detailed and relevant risk assessments are in place for all activities, together with a set of very practical guidelines for staff accompanying activities. Welfare and student services summary The provision meets the section standard. The needs of students for security and pastoral care are met, and they are offered a range of leisure activities. The accommodation provided is suitable and managed well. Care of under 18s C1 Safeguarding policy C2 Guidance and training C3 Publicity