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ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)


ESOL can help you if English is your second language and you are living or planning to settle in the UK. The course is offered at five different levels from Pre-entry (for beginners) to Level 1 (for intermediate learners). See an overview of the levels. You'll need to do a short test when you apply so we can put you on the level that's right for you.

The course covers:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening and speaking
  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary

When and where can I study?

We run ESOL courses at all three campuses: Merton, Tooting and Wandsworth.

How much does it cost?

Depending on your circumstances, your course could be free. Even if the course is free, you may still have to pay a college registration fee. Our Student Services team will give you all the information you need when you enrol.


There are regular homework assignments.

Entry requirements

You need to have some basic understanding of the English alphabet and forming letters. Before you enrol, you'll have a short test with one of our tutors to help us decide what level is right for you. If you have any ESOL qualifications from the last three years, please bring the certificates with you to the test.

If you're 19 or older and want to study another course alongside ESOL, remember to check the entry requirements for the other course as well.

You'll learn about life in the UK through topics such as transport, health, work, leisure and many others. You can also attend a maths class alongside your English studies. If you're aged 16-18 you'll study a full-time programme that includes personal and social development, ICT, maths and enrichment as well as English.

You'll work towards the City & Guilds Certificate in English Skills or Ascentis ESOL Skills for Life certificate.

Book an assessment for ESOL/EIS courses

You'll need to take a short English test with one of our team. After your test, depending on your results and the places left, we’ll book you onto a course straight away.

Book your place on an assessment using the relevant forms below:

Tooting ESOL Assessments (for Saturday Courses)

Wandsworth ESOL/EIS Assessments

Email Updates

You can receive email notifications when further assessment dates are added to this page by entering your details here.

Want to teach English?

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Fee reductions for adult short courses

 Cost of course by campus
Students who are:WandsworthTootingMerton
Receiving income-based benefits £40* £40* 50% discount**
Aged 60 or over
  • For courses costing £53 or over you'll receive 30% off
  • For courses costing less than £53, the fee will be reduced to £40*

* There is no reduction for courses costing less than £40 
** Non-accredited courses only (courses that don't lead to a certificate or qualification)

How to apply for reduced fees

Come to Student Services at any of our campuses with payment and proof of your age or benefit status.

Accepted proof of age:

  • Passport
  • Driving license

Accepted proof of benefits:

  • A benefits letter dated from the last two months

If you're unsure whether you're eligible for reduced fees email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or pop into Student Services. Check our opening times before making your journey.


CELTA courses

There are no discounts available for any of our CELTA courses. To find out more about CELTA email us at 

Leisure courses

You might be able to get a discount on some courses if:

  • You are 60+ years of age. You may have to pay for materials on some courses
  • If you're on income-based benefit. It's usually £37 each term. You may have to pay for materials on some courses. There is no College registration fee for leisure courses.

    Please bring proof of your benefit status that is less than two months old when you enrol.

Qualification courses

Aged 16-18

You don't have to pay tuition or exam costs but you may have to pay for materials on some courses.

Please note that if you're applying for a reduced fee, your benefit evidence needs to be no older than two months.
Aged 19 or older not on benefits

You will have to pay tuition and exam costs and you may have to pay for materials on some courses.

Aged 19 or older on 'Active Benefits' eg Jobseekers Allowance

You don't have to pay tuition or exam costs but you may have to pay for materials on some courses. Please note that JSA signing on books are not accepted as proof of benefits for a reduced fee.

Aged 19 or older on other benefits eg income support

You may get a discount depending on the type or level of education you've done already. You may have to pay for materials on some courses.

New government funding for 24 and older!!

If you are taking a Level 3 or 4 course, you may be able to get a government loan to cover your course. Find out more here.

There is a College registration fee of £30 but only if you are on a qualification course that is not 'full cost'. You don't pay it if you're 18 or younger or on Active Benefits.


For CELTA courses

Apply for CELTA courses using the application form here. If you're applying for the CELTA taster day you'll need to follow the steps below to enrol.

For courses not leading to a qualification

You can enrol anytime between now and the start of your course using our enrolment form.

In person: Bring your completed form to any of our centres Monday to Thursday: 8.45am-7.00pm (10-4 during College holidays) Friday: 8.45am-4.00pm or Saturday 9.00am-1.00pm with:

  • Evidence of benefits or age(if you are applying for a reduced fee)
  • Payment (cash, cheque, credit or debit card)

By post (only if paying full fee): Send the enrolment form with a cheque or the credit card information completed to:

College Enquiry Unit, South Thames College, Merton Campus, FREEPOST CN2701, London Road, Morden Surrey, SM4 5QX

Please do not send cash in the post. Cheques should be made payable to: South Thames College Corporation. Please note we don't accept Electron or American Express cards.

By phone (only if paying full fee): Call us Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm on 020 8918 7777 with your credit or debit card to hand. You will soon be able to pay online too.


Which level is right for you?

You are at Entry 1 level if you:
  • Know the alphabet
  • Can write basic sentences and read very short texts
  • Can speak giving basic information about yourself.
You are at Entry 2 level if you can:
  • Write long sentences and read simple passages
  • Read and use the past tense
  • Speak giving detailed information about yourself
  • Speak using the past tense.
You are at Entry 3 level if you can:
  • Form more complicated sentences
  • Read more complex texts using different tenses and grammar
  • Express your opinions and debate on numerous topics.
You are at Level 1 if you can:
  • Write using a range of grammar techniques and varied vocabulary and sentence structure
  • Speak on a wide range of topics and can speak to persuade and challenge your listeners
  • Read, write and speak at a low GCSE level.

Advanced Learner Loan

If you're 19 or older at the start of this course and you've lived in the UK for 3 or more years, you could get a loan to help with your tuition fees. It's not means-tested, and you won't need to pay it back until you've finished your course and earn over £21,000 a year.

If you get an Advanced Learner Loan to study an Access course then go on to complete a HE course, your loan repayments will be wiped off.

The amount you'll receive depends on the course and tuition fees. The minimum is £300.

How to apply

You can apply for this loan once you've got a place on the course. After you've accepted your place we'll send you a learning and funding information letter which you need to complete your loan application. You can do this online on the website.

For full details about the loan and eligibility, see the UK government website.