Language Immersion Programme

English Language Immersion Programme at St Charles College

CLICK HERE FOR THE FRENCH TRANSLATION: Programme d’immersion de la langue anglaise à St Charles College


St Charles College offers an intense specialist English Language Immersion Programme for boys from a francophone and/or lusophone background who wish to pursue their senior school phase of education at the College, in English. Although it is possible to join the College at any time during the year, it is advisable to commence English studies in the natural space that falls between completing an academic year in France at the end of June and joining us from then until November in order to best prepare for the academic year which begins in January the following year.

Progression from elementary to intermediate level

The initial three-to-four-month course involves intensive study of the English language which would enable a pupil to comprehend and communicate at an intermediate level (B1 on the ALTE), the minimum level required to follow academic studies in English. Pupils will be assisted to progress from an elementary level to an independent user level (B2 on the ALTE, Council of Europe) at the end of Grade 12. The course is designed to begin at the pupil’s level of proficiency and guide them towards achieving confidence in social and academic communication. This involves a minimum of 16 hours of English lessons per academic week either individually or working in a small group of up to five. Lessons begin at the language level of each boy and are oriented to match their linguistic needs so that they may become more proficient in areas needing attention. These boys are immersed in English activities for the majority of their school day, but also participate in one or two school subjects to build social connections with English speaking peers. It is also recommended that the boys take several of the year-end Cambridge exams so they can experience what is required in the exams.

The course is offered in collaboration with the KZN Language Institute (KLI) based at St Charles College. The KZN Language Institute is headed up by Jenny Kerchoff and her experienced staff. The KLI has many years of experience in developing both proficiency and academic skills in English as well as other languages, such as isiZulu and Sign Language. All the teachers hold TEFL qualifications (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and have specialised in the field of foreign language pedagogy. Initial course fees are included in SCC’s tuition fees; thereafter, any necessary courses are debited to your account per each individual, based on your son’s specific needs.

Once the English Language Immersion Programme is complete, boys then integrate completely into the academic timetable, pursuing the study of subjects chosen in consultation with the Heads of School, Messrs Cole-Edwardes and Holcomb.

The French A Level course

To their advantage, first-language French speakers may pursue French to A Level (Sixth form) in their final year. It is a course that requires a profound linguistic level in French which enables boys to expand their knowledge and understanding of their mother tongue.

The French A Level course requires a significantly comprehensive linguistic level in their mother tongue and offers a unique opportunity to gain an advanced understanding and appreciation of the language through extended writing and literature.

Immersion in the greater life of the College

Whilst following daily English lessons and residing in the Boarding Establishment, the boys will also be immersed in the greater life of the College, and thus have the opportunity to participate in cultural activities, sports and a wide range of extra mural activities. This extraordinary and intrinsic experience through immersion affords each boy significant time to get to know his peers and familiarise himself with his new surroundings, which is particularly propitious given that previous schooling experiences may be worlds apart from what he will come to appreciate and value at St Charles College. This is an essential part of assimilating into the College, being part of daily school life with one’s peers and building a sense of lasting community and belonging.

We believe in multilingualism

The College promotes the teaching and learning of languages and appreciates the enormous benefits of biliteracy and multilingualism.  We believe that multilingualism can promote an understanding and empathy within the diverse local and international communities, and we recognise that language and culture are inextricably linked, impacting every level of our behaviour and thought processes. This approach and our specialist pedagogy are invaluable, enabling pupils to build strong social connections and cultural awareness in a linguistically and culturally diverse environment.