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English UK data suggests upturn for ELT

The number of student weeks taught across a cohort of English language schools has risen during the third quarter of 2017, compared with figures from last year – the first ELT growth recorded since 2013, according to English UK data.

Photo: The PIE News

"I think the weak pound certainly helped but I also think our members have really listened to their markets"

This is welcome news and supports anecdotal evidence that the weak pound is helping make the UK popular with English language learners.

According to English UK data, the number of total weeks taught across the Quarterly Intelligence Cohort (124 members) was up by more than 31,000 weeks in the third quarter, which is equivalent to a year-on-year increase of 17%.

With 124 members, QUIC’s 2017 cohort is the largest sample in English UK’s history of quarterly reporting; total members comprise 450.

“We are seeing early signs of a recovery in the market, and of course the big question is around whether this is solely driven by the exchange rate,” Jodie Gray, English UK’s head of market development said.

“We believe members may be innovating more, and taking advantage of destination promotion and better data to build a firm base for recovery, and we will continue to monitor this carefully.”

“We are ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the recovery we have been seeing”

According to the data, Italy was the biggest source country, followed by China, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Turkey.

English UK highlighted that China, Spain and France had risen up the table of source countries.

It is welcome news for the ELT sector, following double digit declines in both student weeks and student numbers last year, that The PIE News reported.

“We are ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the recovery we have been seeing,” Sarah Cooper, chief executive of English UK, told The PIE News.

“I think the weak pound certainly helped but I also think our members have really listened to their markets, to develop products that their customers want… centres have been innovative and very responsive, while continuing to deliver a very high quality service.”

However, of all courses delivered by the reporting cohort, 88.6% of weeks taught were classified as general English classes.

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