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English UK steps in to help SNT students

UK English language school, SNT International in Bournemouth, suddenly closed last week leaving 120 students in the lurch without the course or accommodation they had paid for. Member association English UK (EUK) has stepped in to ensure the affected students are not left hanging.

The school's website now says "Closed for Business"..

100 students are already in the UK, 20 more are scheduled to arrive in the next month

Despite the school not having the usual insolvency process in place, EUK has intervened to place students in its member schools and pay for accommodation from its Student Emergency Support Fund (SESF).

“Technically we would want to wait for [the insolvency process] before releasing our emergency funds,” Huan Japes, Deputy Chief Executive, Professional Services at EUK told The PIE News. “However in this case with students being threatened with no accommodation and tuition we decided it was better to act quickly to place those students as quickly as possible.”

“The management have behaved appallingly”

English UK says it is still working to get to the bottom of why the school closed. “The management have behaved appallingly on this,” said Japes. “We don’t know the situation, but they seem to have fled the school and not done anything to close it in an orderly fashion.”

“The students would have been left without anything if we hadn’t stepped in.”

As part of its rules, EUK members must provide courses which are roughly equivalent in level, length and value, free of charge to the displaced students, of which 100 are already in the UK and 20 more are scheduled to arrive in the next month.

Accommodation is being paid for through the SESF for students who are already in the UK and would be rendered homeless otherwise. Those coming later will have to pursue reimbursement for their accommodation through SNT’s liquidators.

“We’ve placed about 80 students so far and we hope by the end of the week to place the rest. And then will work on placing the students to come,” said Japes, who lauded the nine UK member schools in the Bournemouth area for “reacting excellently” and “pulling together to make this as good of an exit as it can possibly be”.

This is the fifth UK English language school that has closed this year but the first to not have started the adequate legal process to declare bankruptcy.

Japes said the number of closures in 2012 is comparable to previous years and that EUK’s membership has not been affected, remaining consistently over the 450 mark.

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