Before applying for a student visa, the international pupil must satisfy the United Kingdom government's standard of English by taking an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test either at the home office within his/her home country (new pupils) or by passing the IELTS examination set by Durham School (current pupils).
If prospective pupils are under the age of 16, they will take the Durham School English Examination. This is to be set under strict examination conditions in their home countries, scanned and e-mailed to the school, and marked by the EAL department. A final score of at least 50% must be earned to proceed with the application process.
For those who are age 16 and older, there are two strands of the IELTS: Academic (for those wanting to enroll in university undergraduate or post-graduate courses) and General Training (for those who would like to complete their secondary education in an English-speaking country). Pupils wanting to study at Durham School should take the General Training IELTS.
Although we offer expert tuition in English as an Additional Language (EAL), some ability to communicate in English is needed if the applicant is to cope with the demands of full-time education in this country. This is particularly important for those applying for admission into the Sixth Form. The minimum score on the IELTS required for admission into Durham School is 4.5. However, we require that applicants for the sixth form have at least a 5.5. Most universities in the English-speaking world require a score of 6.0 or higher, depending on the course. More selective universities set a 7.0 as a minimum for application.
If, during routine re-test, a student does not achieve the minimum requirement, his/her place at Durham School could be revoked, or we may require the student to re-sit the year.