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St. Bees School International Centre

St Bees International CentreThe International Centre (Known as the I.C.) caters for non-native speakers of English of secondary school age. Closely integrated with the Senior School since 1997, the IC has three main aims:

  • To improve a pupil's overall level of English to a level acceptable to mainstream education.
  • To improve a student's academic ability in other subjects such as Mathematics, Science, IT and Art.
  • To prepare a pupil for boarding school life.

In other words, it can be seen as a bridge between a pupil's education and culture and the British independent school system. Typically, a student will spend one year in the International Centre before transferring to the Senior School though some students reach the required standard for transfer into the Senior School sooner. It is not intended to keep pupils back in the International Centre after they have demonstrated ultimately, by entrance examination - that they are ready for mainstream education, but rather to facilitate their transfer to the main school at the earliest opportunity. However, it is essential that pupils first receive proper preparation in English, in their general education, and in how to deal with a different culture.

St Bees International Centre Collage

The International Centre, furthermore, aims to provide the following:
  • A programme of studies, an introduction to boarding school life and a sympathetic and carefully planned environment designed to help overseas pupils settle.
  • Small classes, usually 6-12 pupils.
  • Teachers, not only of English but also of other subjects, who are experienced in helping international pupils inside and outside the classroom.
  • Different levels of English in each class and a programme of English studies, spoken and written, appropriate to that level.
  • Specialist programmes of studies in other subjects where students develop their understanding of the subject and also learn, systematically, the English they need to study that subject.
  • Qualifications in English, such as Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) KET (Key English Test), PET (Preliminary English Test) and BEC (Business English Certificates) as well as IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) ESL (English as a second language), and in key subjects such as Maths and Science, such as GCSE or IGCSE.
  • Access to the School's pastoral support and welfare programme to help adjustment to boarding school life.
  • Access to the School's administrative, educational and welfare structure which is familiar with the problems encountered by overseas pupils.

For overseas pupils who have transferred from the International Centre to the Senior School, as well as for those who have entered directly into the main school from their home countries, EAL (English as an additional language) Support aims to provide on-going curriculum, linguistic and cultural support, but now in the environment of mainstream education.

Highly Trusted Sponsor Status
St. Bees School has been appointed by the United Kingdom Border Agency as a licensed Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) under Tier 4 of the Points Based System.

HTS status will allow us to offer a wide range of academic courses: that is those at NQF Level 3 and below. For further information regarding the benefits of HTS status, please refer to the UK Border Agency website:

We are now in possession of the highest possible level of sponsor licence, and our successful application is testament not only to the School's excellent record as a Category A sponsor previously, but also to the professionalism of the educational consultants with whom we work alongside.

British Association of International Schools and Colleges
St. Bees School is a member of the British Association of International Schools and Colleges (BAISC). BAISC strives to prepare boys and girls from around the world to do their best in a British boarding school and support those who provide education at different levels to international students in independent schools, colleges and study centres.
BAISC members are committed to:
  • successfully integrating international students into mainstream education
  • helping international students achieve high academic standards
  • providing the best pastoral care possible to international students
  • valuing the contribution made by international students to our institutions

British Council
St. Bees School is a member of the British Council whose aim is to connect the UK to the world and the world to the UK. The British Council is the UK's international cultural relations body, with whom the School works to enable international students to attend St. Bees


UK Boarding School & Private Day School in Cumbria
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