May 2021 update – We have now reopened some of our face-to-face ESOL classes in Exeter. See below for details of times and levels. To keep everyone safe, we have to limit the number of people in each room so please turn up on time, or email to book a place. Some of our volunteer teachers are also offering online classes using Zoom.

For many years we have offered free ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes, at St Sidwell’s. These informal classes, taught by volunteer teachers, are open to everyone who wants to improve their English, to make new friends and to share their ideas and experiences with other people from around the world.

There are classes for all levels from Beginner (A1) to Advanced (C2) that run throughout the school year. Before Covid we offered classes in Exeter, Newton Abbot, Teignmouth, Torquay and Totnes and our aim is to gradually restart these classes over the course of 2021. Currently, we are only offering face-to-face classes in Exeter – see below. Classes are free, but learners are welcome to make a small voluntary donation of £1 per class to help cover our expenses.

LocationVenueDay & TimeLevel
ExeterSt Sidwell’s Centre, EX4 6NNTuesday
10:00 – 12:00
ESOL and English Literature
13:00 – 14:30
English and Drama
13:00 – 15:00
ESOL Work Club
Drop-in support with CVs, job applications, etc
17:00 – 18:30
English Conversation Class (Intermediate)
10:00 – 12:00
Three simultaneous classes:
– Beginners
– Elementary (A1-A2)
– Advanced (C1-C2)

Other free English classes in Devon

VenueContact number to find out class schedule
Mint Methodist Church, Fore St, Exeter EX4 3AT01392 279786
Belmont Chapel, Western Way, Exeter, EX1 2DB01392 258029 

CISCO (Crediton International Social and Cultural Organisation) runs classes for migrant workers and their families in Crediton.

VenueDay & time
Crediton Town Council Offices, Market StreetWednesday 7.30-9pm
Crediton Fire Station, Charlotte Street Thursday 10-11.30am

For further details about the Crediton classes contact Natalia Letch via email at or call her on 01363 775739.

What Olive Tree teachers and learners say……..

‘For the last lesson this term we taught up until 11.00am and then had some food, fun and games until 12.00. We divided the students into three teams with Kasia, Natalya and Alex as team leaders. One of our teachers, Chris, brought an excellent game with huge playing cards. It was very simple and the teams could call out the answers, so it was good and noisy! I then supplied the teams with world maps with countries coloured in that they had to name, and the final game we had was Chinese Whispers. Kasia’s team won, not that it mattered! Packets of biscuits were given out as prizes.’

(Arthur – teacher)

‘As a septuagenarian I don’t think you want a photograph of me. But you can quote me as saying how rewarding the volunteer work is and especially when your students are so appreciative of your efforts.’

(Derek – teacher)

‘The class had a nice atmosphere and the teacher was really good.’

(Teignmouth student)

‘I’ve been going to classes for more than 2 years, learned lots, and made many new friends.’

(Torquay student)