Where to learn English in Singapore?

Business meeting

Speak English well and be confident in your next business meeting

Are you trying to find out where to learn English in Singapore, for yourself or someone else? This article is meant to provide a starting point.

There isn’t really one best place to learn English in Singapore. It depends on your situation and what you want to achieve.

Below are a few questions to ask yourself. Depending on the answer, I will have recommendations for you, which you can use when going through the English directory on Yago, which has a ton of options to choose from: http://yago.sg/directory/english.

Many people I speak to who ask me about English courses, are asking for a relative, friend or foreign spouse. But to keep things simple, I’ll use “You” to refer to the student in this article.

Do you have time to learn full-time?

If you really know very little English, a full-time English course is a good option. That can build a foundation and bring quick progress.

Also, it may be useful to know that only full-time courses where you take lessons every day will allow the learner to apply for a student pass.

What is your goal?

If you only have a basic level to start with, there are many part-time English courses to choose from. But it becomes more complicated when you already speak English quite well and want to learn specific things, such as:

  • Presentation skills
  • Business English
  • Copywriting
  • Academic English
  • Prepare for the IELTS test

As what you need to learn becomes more specific, it becomes more difficult to find a matching course. Even if you find a course that is called “business English”, you have to ask yourself whether the people in the class have the same level as you.

Some schools may be too eager to sign you up. If they ask you to complete a level assessment test, that’s a good sign of them trying to place you with people who are close to your level.

Prefer individual coaching?

Many languages schools also offer one-to-one English lessons from a private tutor. If you work through a language school, you’ll have the advantage of easy replacement of the teacher in case your schedules don’t match or the teacher decides a change in career. This comes at a cost though: higher hourly fees.

Language schools offering one-to-one: School of Language International, English Express. This tends to be fairly expensive. Schools take a margin for management. In return, they’ll make sure you always have a teacher, even if your teacher falls sick.

Direct teacher matching

A more affordable option would be TUTOROO, which matches native English speakers with learners directly on WhatsApp. Send them a message, and they will suggest a reliable tutor who can meet you at your preferred place and time. You can have a WhatsApp conversation before deciding on a trial lesson.

Learn in the morning?

The majority of English learners prefer to have lessons in the evening or in the weekends. And that’s what most English language schools tend to cater to.

But there is a consistent group who prefer the opposite and only have time in the daytime.

So you’ll be frustrated if you go around asking all schools for morning classes.

But there is one school which only has classes in the daytime – from once a week to every working day. Is this what you’re looking for? Check out Manhattan English Language Studio.

Are you a Singaporean or PR?

Then you should not miss out on highly subsidized courses under the Workplace English and Mathematics program (WSQ) from the WDA. Usually, you only have to pay 10% of the course fee.

This is a very popular program and there are courses all over the island.

How to get started?

  1. Call one of the training centres that provide this program (see below);
  2. They will schedule a placement test to find out your level.
  3. After the result is out, the training will tell you your class schedule.

These are the training centres where the subsidy applies:

SSA Consulting Group: 6842 2282
Kaplan: 6733 1877
Mendaki Sense: 6478 3100
NTUC Learninghub: 6471 2223

(The links are up to date as of writing, but these things can change fast. If you have any trouble with the links, post a comment and I will check and update the link)

Looking for an English course for your child?

There’s certainly no lack of English courses for kids in Singapore. If you are looking for a private English tutor, you can go through a tuition agency. For classes, I have listed a number of the main schools that specialise in English.

Private English tuition: TUTOROO

Schools: GEOS, British Council, Lorna Whiston, Julia Gabriel, I Can Read

In conclusion…

If you were wondering where to learn English in Singapore, you now know that there are many options, depending on your situation (or the situation of the person who needs to learn English). In this post, I’ve tried to give you a starting point for finding the right course.

Information changes, and maybe I haven’t answered the question you had in mind. If that’s the case, please add a comment and I will try to find the answer to your question and add it to the article.

Best of luck!

About Guus Goorts

Guus has traveled widely and has lived in The Netherlands, Ghana, Belgium and Singapore. In descending order of fluency, he speaks Dutch, English, Mandarin, German and some rudiments of Spanish, French and Italian. Guus lives in Singapore with his wife and two young children. He settled in Singapore in early 2006 from his native country The Netherlands. After working in a job for corporate training, he founded Yago Languages, Singapore's guide to language learning.

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  • 陈华

    Thank you very much. For example I am being work here for a year. Got wp VISA. Want practice English atqpart time and little fee or free is good. Have any method?,

    • http://yago.sg/blog Guus Goorts

      Hi Chen Hua, there are some part-time courses in weekends. You can find an overview here. http://yago.sg/directory/english/singapore/all-locations/part-time

      Unfortunately the cheap ones are subsidised, and only available to Singaporeans and PRs.

      • Jason

        Hi. I sending my indonesian wife to singapore to study english. Full time course as her english is very bad. She is 30yrs old now. How long does a fulltime course takes and any school to recommend. Hopefully not too high fees. Tq

  • samantha

    Hi, i am looking for English course now but i don’t know where do study. I can speak and write simple English but need a lot of improvement in both areas especially writing. I am thinking of taking full time course so that i can learn English as fast as possible (for my part time study which need a lot of writing) but someone told me since I can speak simple English, I don’t need to take up full time course and it is very expensive. can you give me some advice or recommend reliable private tutor to me? Thanks. (I am PR in Singapore and want to improve my English in two months time)

    • http://yago.sg/blog Guus Goorts

      Hi Samantha, sorry for the late reply.

      Some schools offer full-time courses only for beginners, others also to much more advanced students. Larger schools like the British Council, English First and InLingua have courses at pretty much any level.

      Expensive means different things to different people. British Council charges around S$ 2500 / month but some schools offer full-time courses for around S$ 1500. I guess it can be expensive, especially if you don’t work at the same time.

      But there are also many part-time courses for people like you. Usually 1-2 evenings per week, around 400 dollars for 2 months.

      You are not the only one in Singapore who struggles with English! Have a look here: http://yago.sg/directory/english/all-countries/all-locations/part-time

      Before you sign up, be sure that you will be placed with people of around the same level. You can ask the school if they do level assessment and how they make classes. Small classes, and similar level is best!

  • Karoline Brandão

    Hey!!! Thanks for the information, it was very usefull to me! I have one question about your aticle when you say “You are a Singaporean or PR?” What mean PR and this benefits are just for a Singaporean? What is it about because I didn’t understand. Thank you very much for your help. Karol

    • http://yago.sg/blog Guus Goorts

      Hi Karoline,

      PR stands for “Permanent Resident” – PRs don’t hold Singapore citizenship but they are allowed to live in Singapore without specific reason, such as employment or education.

      You have to apply for this and it would normally only be given to people who have been in Singapore long term.

  • zoelim

    Hi , I am talking English course by workforce at this moment. but I dont think this course useful for my daily communicate .im PR in SG, my English is very bad. I can’t speak fluently English . im not student at present , My “N” level English text is no pass when my school time , I wish to speak fluently English for daily communicate and I know that workplace English is no suitable for me.

    • http://yago.sg/blog Guus Goorts

      Thank you for sharing, Zoe. You may need to find a smaller class so you can get more coaching from the teacher.

      Maybe you can try the online class from SayMerlion, it’s one-to-one coaching but not so expensive because the teacher is overseas. http://yago.sg/courses/detail/826

      There are some other smaller courses, which you can find at http://yago.sg/directory/english, such as Epower, Geos, Lingo or Agape.

      Make sure you know what the level of the students is. They should be almost the same level as you, so you can learn together. And class size should be small.

  • KK

    I would like to improve mainly on my written english compare to spoken english. Written always scary on Grammer and sentensces.
    Any good place/institute in Singapore to learn..

    • http://yago.sg/blog Guus Goorts

      Hi KK. I am aware that the British Council has a course that specifically focuses on written English. With MyClass, you can pick the lessons that suit you (that is: written English at your level).

      Read more here: http://www.britishcouncil.sg/english/courses-adults/myclass

  • Nafiur Saad

    I came to Singapore in the month of January 2015. Here i realized that my English isn’t good enough. So i started to look for an English learning course on the internet. Then i saw your post. It was quite helpful. With the help of your information, I was able to find a good course for myself. now i am quite better than my previous state. thank you very much! i am looking forward to more of your posts… I have also found much help from this site>

    http://www.learnenglish.de/

  • Tausif

    To learn English is very important but it becomes difficult to learn it in abroad as one is unknown to the places where he could learn. Thanks for you guys one can know the places to learn it. I also found it helpful because I suggested one of my friends for learning English. One can also learn English by searching in the web such as http://www.talkenglish.com/ where one can find many helpful things for learning English.

  • http://www.riverstonetraining.com.sg/ RIver Stone

    There are many institute in Singapore which provides good English lessons. You can chose from them. You can also take help from Internet regarding this type of query.

  • Thet Htar Su Kyi

    I want to know where to take class for Business English , but I don’t want too expensive. :D

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  • crazypenguincat

    Hi Guus, we’d like to ask for your permission to post this announcement. Hope you don’t mind.

    Bitsmedia Singapore will soon be launching a new mobile application to help students, parents and teachers independently arrange for private classes and tuitions. Whether you’re a private teacher looking to better manage and monetise your classes or a parent looking for the best private tuition teachers in Singapore, feel to pre-register here.

    http://www.bitsmedia.com/tuitionapp

  • TUTOROO

    Hire a private English tutor with TUTOROO, at your preferred place and time. From SGD 40 per hour. Best price in Singapore! WhatsApp our team at +65 8421 6365 to be introduced to a native English tutor. All levels.

    http://www.tutoroo.co

  • Sharon Đặng

    Could you tell me where can I learn an one-month english course?

  • Ravin Dran

    Thank for the article, I would like to improve my English speaking,write skills. So, I did lot of research on it. Finally, im in confusing now. Give me suggestion where the best place to improve my skill with my level students.