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UK: Crest Schools of English closes, cites SELT rules

Crest Schools of English, based in Stanmore, London, was forced to close at the end of last month, “due to the onerous restrictions placed on our sector by the UK government,” according to its website.

Photo: studentcourses.com

"It's very sad but not surprising that, under the circumstances, it was no longer viable for us to continue"

The institution, which had been in operation for 32 years, described closing with “the deepest regret”.

“We have the student emergency support fund to cover their accommodation”

In a message to fellow members of English UK, the school’s managing director, Clare Sudwarts, explained that new rules regarding Secure English Language Testing (SELT) centres saw candidacy numbers plummet overnight after new rules meant that Trinity College and IELTS were no longer running their exams through independent testing centres.

“It’s very sad but not surprising that, under the circumstances, it was no longer viable for us to continue,” she told The PIE News. “We had been hoping for changes to government policy but the situation has been steadily worsening over the past couple of years.”

She also described how the impact of Tier 4 visa controls and the differential treatment between public and private colleges, “led to a substantial decrease in numbers affecting class sizes and exam entries.”

“Although we received excellent results in all inspections and audits, both as a college and as an exam centre, we felt there was no end in sight,” said Sudwarts. “And so, after 32 years, we saw no alternative but to close.”

While current students have not been given refunds, Alice Marcolin, membership manager at English UK, told The PIE News that the 30 students there at the time have been relocated to other accredited institutions.

“They’ve been placed in other schools in London to finish their courses,” said Marcolin. “We have the student emergency support fund to cover their accommodation if they have any left that still needed to be paid.”

“After 32 years, we saw no alternative but to close”

She added, “It looks like most of the students are quite happy with where they have been placed.”

The news follows the closure of A2Z School of English in London and Manchester which closed its doors last month due to insolvency.
Marcolin said that in total there have been five school closures since the start of the year.

“We are concerned clearly that there might be more in the future,” noted Marcolin. “With the immigration rules changing, it’s never easy for the schools unfortunately.”

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