Sanctuary Seekers’ Unit

English language classes and support

We offer a wide range of English language classes and support to people with refugee backgrounds in Leicester, and across the UK. If you have a refugee background and want to study English, please complete our online needs analysis form. We will then invite you to take an initial writing test (in person or online). When we know your level of English, we will email you with our advice. What we can offer you will depend on many factors, including your level of English, your previous education, where you live, how many hours a week you can study, your commitment, places available, etc.

Improve your English at home

We have put together a list of things you can do to improve your English at home (Word docx., 128kb).

Leicester City of Sanctuary English classes 

We offer a variety of online and in person English classes for all levels (beginner to advanced) all year round. These classes are taught by volunteer teachers. For more information, see the Leicester City of Sanctuary website.

Free English classes taught by trainee teachers

These classes are only available at certain times of year. They cover grammar, vocabulary and skills, and are taught by trainee teachers. They are usually for students at an intermediate or upper-intermediate level. Students considered for these classes will be invited to attend a short speaking test, in addition to our initial writing test.

Presessional English Programme

We have a limited number of Sanctuary scholarships available for our Presessional English Programme every term. The Presessional English Programme is a full-time course for students who want to start an undergraduate or postgraduate programme at university, but first need to improve their level of academic English. It teaches English for academic purposes (EAP) and academic skills. For more information, please watch our information video. Students considered for the programme will be invited to take our full entry test in reading, writing, listening and speaking.

RefugEAP Programme

RefugEAP is an online programme of free, non-formal academic English classes especially for students with refugee backgrounds. It is designed for students who have not been able to access formal presessional academic English programmes, but who need to improve their academic English level in order to access university. When you fill in our online needs analysis form, we will assess your situation and may contact you if we feel that RefugEAP may be a suitable option for you.

OET preparation course

The OET preparation course is a two-week intensive online course which runs 4 times per year. It is for qualified healthcare professionals who have achieved at least IELTS 6.0 and need to reach IELTS 7.0 as a part of the re-registration process to work in the UK. If you are a qualified healthcare professional with refugee background and you believe you meet the criteria for this course and the fee waiver, please complete the needs analysis form at the top of this page. We also strongly recommend that you fill in the RefuAid language application form (RefuAid is our partner organisation, and can provide additional support with course-related costs and exam fees).

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