BBELS is now closed

Due to difficulties associated with COVID, BBELS is moving to hibernation. We are maintaining our ASQA registration. However we are without a delivery address (school building) and therefore closed until further notice. Thank you to all of our wonderful students, teachers, staff, agents and partners, homestay and other service providers for your patience and understanding.

International House Sydney will now provide English and vocational courses from the same business address in Byron Bay. For all enquiries, please email or visit

BBELS management can be contacted by email –

Face to Face resumes – Tuesday June 9th

BBELS will reopen its doors to students for face to face classes from Tuesday June 9th.

In order to organise our classes and maintain social distancing guidelines of the NSW government, we need to know if our current students (deferred) intend to return to classes. If you are currently in Australia / Byron Bay and are interested to resume your course, please email

Upper Intermediate and Advanced students will continue with mostly face to face classes combined with online classes. We will assess the students numbers at Elementary to Intermediate levels before we decide which of those classes will resume. This is why it is important for students to email us.

We are excited to have some students return to the school building. We also need to recognise that the COVID crisis is still with us. We will remain vigilant by ensuring compliance with any guidelines of our government and protect always the well being of our students, teachers and staff.

All current students are requested to please email


Just like the world, our BBELS school building is very quiet – like it has never been before. I am working mostly from school. Kat, Lel and Jay Dea are here too. We certainly miss our students and the positive energy that they bring to BBELS each day.

It’s good to know that many of you have a strong positive attitude for this crisis. This is very important. One friend said to me – “Happiness is immunity!” Most of us have fluctuating feelings – from light to dark. That is completely normal. One idea is to write about your feelings in a journal/blog. Putting your thoughts on to paper or a blog will help you to clear them.

Byron’s beautiful beaches are also helping us to exercise and move. We are so lucky to live here in these times.

Online Classes

We’re seeing positive feedback from our students who continue their online classes. Teachers also are seeing that the online classes can be very effective. I congratulate them on their creativity.  Students are reporting that they enjoy seeing their friends in the online classes. We need to adapt. Online is the only way we can be together.

Next week – we will continue classes for our 2 upper level General English and Cambridge students.

Pre intermediate or elementary students – if you wish to start classes again, please email us by Sunday evening. We are ready to open some smaller classes for the lower levels.

If you have finished your study at BBELS and wish to join the classes, please let us know by Sunday night.

Any of you friends who may be interested to join our classes are also welcome to enrol.


We will review our pricing for students who intend to stay longer. There are cheaper rental houses available. However the weekly rental fee usually does not include internet, electricity and a furnished house. Our houses are good quality. Please tell us if you intend to extend your stay. We will announce new prices on Tuesday.

Social Distancing

This is very important. If you do not know the rules, you will get fined. So please read and respect the rules. Australian people are doing very well. They also know that it may be difficult for you to understand the English. So please try. It’s very important. See –

Have a wonderful weekend!

Michael O’Grady


Friday Update – “When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge!”

Our school motto – Learn to Live – has 2 meanings. Learn how to live and Learn in order to live. It is NOW that we need to embrace change and learn a new way to live. Massive changes are happening. Massive opportunities are also being created. Some say that a measure of intelligence is the ability to change. We need to carefully adapt to our new lives.

It’s been a difficult week for everyone. Thank you for your patience and understanding. A reflective weekend is necessary. We are all OK at BBELS. Some students have left us and arrived safely at home. Others are choosing to stay. Please enjoy a peaceful weekend.

A big thank you to BBELS staff and teachers. We’ve done well in a difficult week. Gratitude x 100!

Online Classes

This week – thank you to all the students that enjoyed our online classes through this week. We had up to 11 students in each of our intermediate, upper intermediate and our Cambridge classes. The elementary and pre-intermediate classes were more difficult – probably due to language levels. Attendance was lower and we understand.

Most students see the benefit of learning at a time when there is little more to do. There is a sense of community and adventure – for students and teachers – in our online classes. Today our teachers reported that they are very excited about next week. They now understand the online delivery. They are also ready to make the classes even more effective – and fun! So please join in.

Next week – we will continue classes for our intermediate, upper intermediate and our Cambridge students. If you are in pre intermediate or elementary and wish to continue your classes, please email us by Sunday evening.


There are signs that embassies are communicating with some students to help them return to their country. Please consider your situation very carefully and register with your local consulate/embassy.


Please email us to confirm your decision to defer your remaining weeks of study. We have received some emails already. They are enjoying the company of many other emails. We have yet to reply to most – so sorry. But we will!


If you need anything in your student house, please email us. Some students will move to student houses this weekend. It is most important that you do not allow any non-students or guests to stay in your house after 9pm.

Stay safe and well. Email or call if you need help.

Learn To Live!

Michael O’Grady –

Update for Current BBELS Students

For all BBELS students,

Thank you for your patience and understanding during these difficult times. Our goal is to support our current students to ensure safety, survival and maximum flexibility in the current crisis. We also want to help you to make the right decisions.

The current experience at BBELS and in Australia is not what we hoped to give you. We must all adapt and make some careful decisions.

The Future

I ask you all to consider possible outcomes from this situation:

  1. This situation finishes within 3 months
  2. This situation finishes within 6 months
  3. This situation continues indefinitely

I hope for 1 and maybe 2. But 3 is also a possibility. We all need to be ready for that.

Outcome 3 – you must consider your situation if you are forced to stay here in Australia for a long time. Do you have the financial ability to stay? Do you have the ability to buy food and live? Will you enjoy it?

Flights – also a major consideration. There are flights now. Will they eventually stop? Will you be able to return? We do know that 2 students were able to fly from Brisbane yesterday. There are also “rumours” of government flights to help non-residents return to their country. Please consider your situation.


As mentioned in our meeting yesterday, our existing refund policy applies. Simply this means that there are currently no refunds for your course. But deferrals are possible – see below.


On Tuesday we moved our classes online. This was done for everyone’s safety. It may be a different way to receive your lessons. Many other schools are now delivering their lessons online.  Please adapt and enjoy them. We will have further information about next week’s classes on Friday afternoon.


We are allowing you to defer any remaining weeks for which you have paid until a later date. This will apply for any remaining weeks starting 30th March 2020 – Monday. This means that if you have 4 weeks remaining, you will be able to receive those 4 weeks when the school opens again. It is only possible to defer your remaining weeks from 30th March 2020 – Monday. Deferrals are also subject to your visa status.


For existing students our usual cancellation / change policy will apply. You must give 2 weeks’ notice if you plan to leave your accommodation. UPDATED 30.3.20 – Vouchers will be available for the remainder of your paid accommodation to be used at a future date. refunds are not possible. Extensions for students who are not studying are also possible. We will consider each case as it arrives. Please communicate if you have concerns –

Travel Insurance

Most of you will hopefully have travel insurance. Some or all of your tuition and accommodation fees may be covered by your insurance. We advise you to check with your insurance provider.

Consulate Registration

I ask you again to register with your local consulate – by email. Do not phone them. It is very important to do this – both at your country’s local consulate (most likely in Sydney or Canberra) as well as in your home country.

Finally – we are so sorry. This is not what we hoped for you in Australia.

We wanted you to enjoy Byron Bay – the people, the nature, the beaches, the night life and activities. We wanted you to enjoy our wonderful BBELS teachers in fun friendly classes, full of beautiful people – sharing their lives with you and fostering new friendships. We wanted you each night to go home to your local homestay family or student house, to experience their lifestyles and dinners together. None of this is now possible for you. This experience is far from what you imagined.

Take the time to consider your own situation – if you should return home to your country and family. BBELS is open every day. Visit us. Ask for our help.

Please – if you leave or have left us to return home, know that we, as an industry, are now trying to survive very difficult times. We want to survive so that we can be there for you on the “other side” – when life gets back to normal, if that’s possible. We will survive and we will do everything to be ready to welcome you back to BBELS for what will be – the best experience of your life.

Stay safe and strong!

Learn to Live!

Michael O’Grady –

Wednesday 25th Update

It is our second day of online classes at BBELS. Some students are adapting and some find it less enjoyable than our usual classes – understandably . We have offered existing students the opportunity to defer their classes to a later date – on a case by case basis to ensure visa requirements are maintained. This is subject to review as this crisis develops.

We are very much aware and concerned for our students’ welfare. Most are stressed and worried. This is NOT a healthy learning environment for them. More importantly – it is not what they hoped for. The school is open as a drop in centre for now.

We will attempt to update you daily.

Michael O’Grady

COVID-19 Update – 24th March 2020

From Tuesday 24th March, in accordance with the recommendations of the NSW Government in regard to the suspension of non-essential services, BBELS will close our face to face classes and go fully online, until further notice.