Frequently Asked Questions

Contact us for any other questions


When can I start?
You can start when you like – any day.
How do I enrol?
  1. Contact us, apply online or come to the school. 
  2. Take the level test.
  3. Make your payment.
  4. Start classes.
Is there a booking fee ?

There is a booking fee of £35 per person.

What is the English Level Test?

You will take an online level test when you enrol. You will also have a speaking test with a teacher on Zoom or at the school.

Our level test is not an exam, it just tells us which is the best level for you. You cannot ‘fail’ the test. There are 36 questions in the online level test and it takes up to one hour. The speaking test takes about 10 minutes.

Can I have a Trial Class before paying for my course?

Yes. Just ask at reception or contact us

What is the minimum age?

For adult courses, 16 years old. We have had students from age 16 to age 72. Most students are in their 20s or 30s.


How many students are in each class?

It depends. For most classes, our maximum class size is 12 but there are usually less students than this. Afternoon Small-Group classes have a maximum of 4 students. You can ask at reception for the number of students attending class this week.

How long are the classes?

Most classes are 1 hour and 40 minutes (50-minute lesson + 10-minute break + 50-minute lesson).

Small group afternoon classes are 2 hours and 5 minutes (1-hour lesson + 10-minute break + 1 hour 5 minutes lesson)

Are the teachers native English speakers?

All our teachers are native speakers or have native-level proficiency.

Do you have classes for all levels?

Yes. We have General English classes from Beginner to Advanced. We have Starter (A1), Elementary (A2), Pre-Intermediate (B1), Intermediate (B1+), Upper-Intermediate (B2) and Advanced (C1). We also have exam preparation classes (FCE, CAE, CPE and IELTS). Find the best course for you here.

How long does it take to finish a level?

It depends. Do you study at home? Do you practise your English outside of class? Do you speak English at work? Are you living with English speakers?

How do I move from one level to another?

Your level is assessed regularly by your teacher. When your English reaches the next level, your teacher or the Academic Director will speak with you directly.

If you want to change level, fill in an ‘Assessment Form’ at reception. Your English will then be assessed and the School Director or Senior Teacher will decide if you should change level.

Students have different knowledge and abilities so sometimes you may combine classes from two different levels at the same time (depending on what grammar and vocabulary you need to practise).

How many classes do you recommend that I take per week?

It depends. How much time do you have? How much money do you want to spend? Do you want to improve quickly?

– Studying for a few weeks? Most people choose 10 or 14 classes (16 hours 40 minutes or 25 hours) per week.

– Living and working in Edinburgh long-term? Most people choose 2 – 5 classes (3 hours 20 – 8 hours 20 minutes) per week.

Can I take private lessons?

Yes. You can take 1 – 5 private lessons per week. Contact us for more information.

Flexibility and Timetables

Can I change my timetable every week?

Yes. You must take the same number of classes per week, but if you’re a part-time student, you can change the day and time you take your classes.

How can I book my classes?

For part-time students, your classes will automatically be booked for your ‘default timetable’.

You can change your classes on the Student Portal.

If you have any problems, email or call reception:

0131 668 4336

Can I take a holiday in the middle of my course?

If you are studying for longer than 4 weeks, you can take a holiday and not lose your classes. Talk to us at reception or email at least one week before you want to pause your classes.

What if I find a job and I cannot attend as many classes as before?

You don’t lose your money. You can take your classes over a longer period of time. For example, 2 classes/week for 10 weeks instead of 5 classes/week for 4 weeks. Talk to us at reception with at least one week’s notice.

Can I reschedule my classes?

Yes, within the same week. You cannot…

  • cancel less than 3 hours before your class starts.
  • cancel after you missed your class.
  • move classes forward to a future week.


Can a staff member come and collect me from the airport?

We can arrange a meet and greet service with a taxi driver, but there is a charge. Click here for prices of Airport Transfers.

Can you organise special food for me, such as Halal or Vegetarian or Vegan Food?

Homestay Accommodation: It depends. Some families may be able to offer this. There is an extra charge for food which needs to be specially bought. Please ask us when booking!

I would prefer not to live with children or pets. Can you organise accommodation without them?

Yes. Some of our homestay families don’t have children or pets.

If I have a problem with my accommodation, who do I speak to?

Talk to reception, who will arrange an appointment with the School Manager, Laura Gasull.

Payments and Cancellations

How can I pay?

You can pay by cash, credit card or bank transfer.

In the UK/Edinburgh:

  •  You can pay by credit card at reception or online.
  •  You can also pay in cash at reception.

From outside the UK:

Are there charges for paying from outside the UK?

We don’t add any charges for non-UK credit/debit card payments or international bank transfers using a service like Wise or FlyWire. Your own bank may charge you, please check with them. For traditional bank transfers, we charge an extra £7.

Can I pay by Credit Card, even if it is not a British one?

Yes. We accept most overseas cards.

What happens if I need to cancel my course?

If you cancel within the first 7 days of your contract, you will be given a full refund (less any classes taken). If you need to cancel after this time, refunds are generally not possible. However, you could pause your course for up to 12 months.

For Pay Monthly courses, you can cancel your payments at any time directly by going to the WorldPay website.

For courses booked from outside the UK, your refund depends on when you cancel.

  • more than 28 days before the start of your course: We retain only the Deposit. All other amounts of money paid will be refunded, less any credit card fee or bank charges incurred.
  • 28 – 7 days before the start of your course: We retain 50% of the total course price.
  • less than 7 days before the start of your course: We retain 100% of the total course price.

Please make sure you have insurance to cover the cost of unexpected circumstances such as illness.

Please see the Terms and Conditions for our full cancellation policy.

Do I need a travel and health insurance?

We highly recommend students take out appropriate travel and health insurance. Alba English does not accept responsibility for any loss or injury during the student’s stay in the UK.

Do I need a VISA?

Alba English is legally prohibited from advising students regarding visa applications. For information on the visa application process, please see or contact your local authorities. We are under obligation to report students whom we believe to be in breach of the terms of their visa.

In the case of visa refusal, you will receive a full refund minus the registration fee plus any other costs we may have incurred throughout your application.