Covid-19

Information on measures we are taking at the British Council to help ensure the safety of all students due to the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation.

The British Council’s priority is always to ensure the safety and well-being of our teaching centre customers, employees, and the communities in which we operate.

We are also responding in line with guidance for both the Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS) and the Direção-Geral de Saúde (DGS). 

For this reason, we will be making changes to all face-to-face activities in Portugal. This includes cancelling face-to-face classes and replacing them with Online Classrooms for young learners and myClass Virtual, and closing our offices until the authorities have given the all-clear.

You can find answers to any questions you may have due to closures or cancellations below;

  • FAQS about Exams
  • FAQs about English Courses

FAQs about Exams

  • With the gradual de-escalation of Covid-19 social distancing and mobility restrictions in Portugal, our intention at British Council Exams is to begin offering examinations as soon as it is possible to do so, without compromising the health and safety of all our candidates and staff.
  • We are therefore currently offering computer delivered exam sessions. Should official guidelines change, we will be in contact accordingly.

1. My exam has been suspended. Can I transfer my registration to another date?

Yes, this is possible for most exams including IELTS and Cambridge English. Please check the registration page for details of available sessions.

If you registered for your exam directly with an awarding body, please follow their guidelines.

2. I registered for an exam through one of your partners. How can I transfer to another date?

Please contact the test centre you registered with to transfer your test date.

3. Are you offering all exams?

At the moment we are only providing computer delivered exams for IELTS and Cambridge.

4. When and how will I receive my exam results?

Your exam results will be processed as normal for all exams that took place before the suspension.

You can preview your IELTS test results on the Test Taker Portal - 5-7 calendar days after the test for computer delivered tests.

IELTS results remain online for 28 days but should not be used as an official confirmation of your performance.

Cambridge English exam results are available four to six weeks after the exam date for paper-based exams, and two weeks for computer-based exams.

We are not able to provide test results over the phone or by email or fax for security reasons.

5. Your office is closed to the public. How can I receive my test certificate?

Most of our exams teams are currently working from home because of office closures, so they are not able to despatch certificates in the usual way. Because of this, if your IELTS TRFs and Cambridge English certificates were not delivered to you by post/courier or face-to-face prior to our office closure, we will hold them in secure conditions until we are able to despatch them either to individual candidates or the school/institution through which you registered.

Receiving Organisations (ROs) that you listed when registering for IELTS will, in most cases, have access to your online results. We will notify ROs of any changes resulting from the Covid-19 restrictions.

It will not be possible to collect your TRF or certificate in person at the British Council exam centre while our offices are closed.

6. Will you be organising additional sessions for Cambridge English exams in the future?

We are working with Cambridge English to agree a calendar of sessions that will meet the needs of both our individual candidates and the schools/institutions that register candidates with us. This is a work in progress. Please keep checking our website for up to date information about the exam session calendar.

7. How do you ensure safety at the test venues?

Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, in line with local government regulations, British Council has implemented guidelines at its test centres to help protect the health and safety of all Test/Exam Takers and staff and to limit the spread of the virus.

Please note that all test (exam) venues will be thoroughly cleaned prior to the start of the test (exam). For computer-delivered and computer-based tests and exams, equipment will be cleaned between sessions.

Please do NOT attend your test (exam) if:

  1. You are currently in self-quarantine or
  2. You have been in contact with any person suspected of having been exposed to Covid-19 or
  3. You have a cold, fever, are short of breath or have flu-like symptoms.

 

If any of the above applies to you, you will not be able to take the test (exam). Please contact the centre by email as soon as possible and they will arrange a transfer.

On the test/exam day:

  • You will be asked to sign that you agree with statements 1-3 above. Important note: Should you decide not to sign this declaration, please note that you will not be allowed to take your test/exam.
  • You will be requested to sanitise your hands prior to entering the test/exam room either by washing them with soap and water or using a hand sanitiser.
  • If local government regulations make it mandatory to wear masks and latex gloves when in contact with others you will be required to bring with you, and wear during the whole exam session, latex gloves and a face mask that covers your mouth and nose. You may be requested to remove the mask for identification or other purposes. Important note: Please make sure that you bring two masks and a pair of latex gloves to your test/exam.
  • Exam Staff will be wearing visors, face masks and latex gloves throughout the whole session.
  • You will be required to bring your own writing materials to the test/exam, i.e. pens, pencils and rubbers. Any material left in the room after the exam/test will be disposed off.
  • You will be required to keep the belongings brought to the test/exam venue to a minimum of essentials. Belongings will be kept in designated areas throughout the whole session. Any belongings left behind after the exam/test will be disposed off.
  • You will be required to bring your own (transparent) bottle of water, as water fountains will not be available at the venue.
  • You will not be allowed to use the common areas at the venue, except for the designated waiting areas under the supervision of Exam Staff. Food and snack consumption will not be allowed in these waiting areas.
  • Please note that your temperature might be taken at the registration point of the exam venue. 

After your test/exam:

If you are diagnosed with Covid-19 within 14 days after you take your test (exam), please report this to your centre as soon as possible by email. This will help ensure we can communicate with other test (exam) takers and follow the health authority and government guidelines.

8. How can I contact Customer Service?

While our offices are closed, our customer services teams will support you via phone and email. We are working hard to respond to every request, but the situation is extraordinary, and some delays may occur. Please accept our apologies in advance. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

FAQs about English courses

1. My class is suspended. When will courses resume?

To protect the health of all our students, we are strictly following guidance from national authorities in response to Covid-19 and our face-to-face English courses are temporarily suspended.

Until it is safe to resume face-to-face classes, we will continue teaching in virtual classrooms: either

This means your current course with us will continue online. All students and parents will receive individual emails with more information on when their virtual lessons will start and how to use the online platform.

It may not be possible to continue some courses online. If this is the case we will send you further information.

2. What are you offering students while face-to-face classes are suspended?

We are drawing on the expertise of our wide network of teaching centres across the world to offer a virtual classroom experience that has already proven to be effective. As far as possible, we will try to ensure that this is done with the same teacher, at the same time as the usual class and with the same group of students. 

myClass Virtual lessons for adults are like any other classroom lessons at the British Council. You will practise your speaking and writing with your teacher and classmates in real time, and do pair and group work. Of course, just like in any other lesson, you will also practise your listening and reading skills, and learn lots of new language. The difference is that it will be continued to be delivered via Zoom: user-friendly web-conferencing software.

English online for children and teens classes are designed to cover the same language skills and deliver the same progress as regular classes. Each class takes around 2 hours at the moment, and consists of 45 minutes of Pre-lesson activities, a Virtual class of 60 minutes, and Post-prep activities of around 20 minutes.

We are also planning to offer further supplementary activities in the near future.   

We are committed to ensuring that all children can study in a safe and supportive environment and our platform incorporates a number of features designed to keep children safe while they are online. We will send individual emails to students and parents with more details about our virtual classrooms and any ongoing developments. 

3. How I can contact Customer Service? 

While our offices are closed, our customer services teams will support you via our Contact Centre phones and email. We are working hard to respond to every request for information, but the situation is extraordinary, and some delays may occur. Please accept our apologies in advance. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

4. Can I re-register my child for young learners classes, and how can I pay? 

We are currently focused on ensuring current courses switch to virtual classrooms smoothly and that our students can continue to make progress with their English learning. Our teams are working hard to adapt our processes to a fully online operation; we are committed to minimising disruption for our customers and we will be in touch with you by email as soon as we are ready to start re-registration or have any further updates on our courses.

Your health and safety is our top priority.

More information on protecting yourself from Coronavirus (Covid-19) is available here: 

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Thank you for your cooperation