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ELT: Accreditation UK celebrates 40th anniversary

The UK ELT sector has celebrated 40 years of its renowned inspection scheme Accreditation UK at an event in London.

The British Council became the recognising body for all UK ELT in 1982. Photo: pexels

Currently there are just over 400 accredited providers, after the peak at over 570 in autumn 2014

Jointly run by the British Council and English UK, Accreditation UK has inspected private language schools since 1982, when the government’s education department stopped doing so.

The British Council became the recognising body for all UK ELT in that year.

“Accreditation has had an enormous impact and positive effect on the ELT sector,” said Mike Welch director Global Operations, Teaching at British Council.

“It gives course providers the recognition they deserve for the work they do to put students from all over the world at the centre of their work.”

“It gives course providers the recognition they deserve”

The inspection scheme was first called the English Language Schools Recognition Scheme, while the Courses Validation Scheme was developed for state sector providers.

The schemes merged to become the English in Britain Accreditation Scheme in 1998 and finally Accreditation UK in April 2006.

Visa regulation changes in 2009 saw accreditation demand increase. Currently there are just over 400 accredited providers, after the peak at over 570 in autumn 2014.

“Over the years, accreditation has raised standards and driven excellence so students visiting the UK have a great experience, which in turn leads to a strengthening of the ELT sector and ultimately provides benefit to Britain,” Welch added.

“We are very proud to celebrate 40 years of Accreditation UK which has supported our industry to drive up standards, achieve excellence and an international reputation which is second to none,” Jodie Gray, English UK’s chief executive, said.

“Student experience is at the heart of our offer. Accreditation UK’s focus on academic and management quality, as well as standards of care and safeguarding, means our schools are trusted by parents all over the world and students leave wanting to return.

“Accreditation UK works so well because of its unique structure: it is proudly independent but its work is informed by people who work in the sector and understand what our ELT centres and teachers do every day of the week,” Gray said.

“From summer courses to year-round provision, from young learners to business executives, from general English to English for Specific Purposes, the English language offer from 350-plus English UK members across the UK is underpinned by quality, rigorous inspection and continual improvement achieved by robust external inspection, spot checks and self-declarations, with inspection reports being publicly available,” UK’s International Education champion, Steve Smith, added.

“The importance of accreditation and quality assurance to the UK ELT offer, and the UK education offer more broadly for that matter, cannot be overstated.”

English UK has reintroduced its agent fam trips since before the pandemic this week, with some 50 study abroad agents visiting London; Cardiff and Bristol; the North of England and UKLC Northern centres.

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