The Centre for Academic Language and Development offers bespoke, discipline-specific courses to develop your students' academic language and literacy.

Information for staff

Our Academic Language and Literacy (ALL) provision is centrally funded, meaning it is free for students and for the school. Based on a developmental rather than remedial model, the sessions are suitable for UK, EU and international students at all levels.

What we can deliver

Our sessions will cover a range of topics tailored to the specific needs of your undergraduate or postgraduate students. In our standard model of delivery, 16 hours of teaching is divided into eight two-hour group sessions. 

Usually, the sessions are spread over teaching blocks one and two. However, they can be frontloaded before the academic year, or held in May/early June with a dissertation focus.


Other models of delivery include:

  • running condensed 'away day' style sessions (e.g. three five-hour group sessions)
  • using one-to-one tutorials instead of group sessions
  • embedding content into course lectures, seminars or workshops.

ALL sessions are tailored to our MSc and help students develop critical thinking, reading and writing skills. The sessions are not 'English' classes, but they lay the foundation to speak and think in a scientific way – a skill all employers in the field want. We have certainly seen our students' grades improve after attending ALL sessions, and I could not recommend them enough!

Dr Angeliki Papadaki, School for Policy Studies

How you can help

We will work with you to ensure that learning is contextualised, embedded and mapped, as recommended by Sloan and Porter's 2008 study on in-sessional provision1.


We will contextualise sessions using anonymised extracts from past feedback, assignments and exams, as provided by you. By studying these resources, students will learn to unpack tutors' expectations and find ways of meeting them. They will develop the skills needed to participate successfully in their academic community.


With your help, students will see us as a vital and embedded part of the school. Perhaps we could be included in your students' Welcome Week induction, or timetabled into sessions for a particular unit? In sharing our expertise in academic language and literacy assessment with you and your colleagues, we hope to spread the word about our provision.


We will work together to map provision to the academic cycle, offering sessions that are timely and convenient. By taking into account key tasks and deadlines, we can ensure teaching is relevant and maximise attendance.

We decided to integrate CELFS support into our feedback on written assessments. CELFS staff worked with us to develop a process that is responsive to our needs and those of our students. The student response has been notably positive, and the support has been instrumental in practically addressing many common issues surrounding appropriate use of language – without placing additional teaching burden on our staff.

Dr Ian Lindsay, Bristol Centre for Functional Nanomaterials

Timeline for collaboration

Because all our sessions are bespoke, we allow time for collaborative planning and content creation. If you would like to work with us to develop an Academic Language and Literacy course in 2020-21, or make major changes to a current course, you must:

  1. register your interest in developing a new ALL, or in making major changes to a current ALL, by October 2019
  2. meet to discuss the provision by November 2019
  3. confirm scheme of work and delivery timetable by December 2019
  4. send relevant documents (including samples of student work with feedback, handbooks, criteria and assignment briefs) for analysis by February 2020
  5. confirm marketing preferences and communication to students by April 2020.

1. Sloan, D. E. & Porter, E. (2008) The CEM Model Contextualising Insessional Language and Study Skills Support for International and EU students. Red Guides Paper 46. Accessed: 20/09/2015 from

Contact us

Email to start working with us.

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