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Classes in English language and literature, and in drama, take place in a partly eighteenth-century house surrounded by wooded hills, meadows dotted with wild flowers, and valleys with trout-filled streams, a short distance from the medieval town of Charlieu, famous for its half-timbered houses and Cluniac abbaye with one of the finest Romanesque arches in France. We aim to offer an English atmosphere in a French setting, with French cuisine and a southern French climate.

When our Oxford courses began, in 1979, our fees for three weeks were less than £200. Ever higher prices in England and the rising cost of renting premises at Oxford University and Winchester College now compel us to charge between £2000 and £3000. Not everyone with a talent for languages and the arts can afford these fees. The Summer School at Charlieu offers the essential elements of the Oxford course - English language and literature, and drama - at a more affordable price. The number of hours' English tuition is slightly greater on a ten-day course at Charlieu than on a three-week course at Oxford or Winchester but the price of the stay is between 60 and 70 per cent less.

Charlieu is at the heart of Europe, eighty kilometres north-west of Lyon: for most students the cost of travelling there and back is less than the cost of travelling to and from England.

William of Wykeham's aim in founding his two educational establishments in the late fourteenth century was to instruct 'seventy poor and needy scholars in the study of letters and the art of grammar'. The annual fees for his school today are in the region of £30,000, more than many parents earn in a year. The creation of the Summer School at Charlieu and the School on tour represent a return towards William of Wykeham's principle, even if few students in the West today are as economically disadvantaged as the scholars of more than six hundred years ago.

The poor and needy of our own times live in Africa, Asia and Latin America; an average of 30 per cent of any profit made from our courses is used to finance sustainable development projects in those parts of the world.

English and Arts Courses - The Summer School at Charlieu:

The ten-day course


English and Arts Courses

The European School of Arts and Languages at Oxford


English language and literature

Arts courses

Oxford and excursions

Accommodation and meals

The Summer School at Charlieu:

The ten-day course



Other activities


Enrolment form

The School on Tour