April 2004 issue

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Canada Language Council evolves

The Canada Language Council (CLC), which is the new name for the Council of Second Language Programmes of Canada (CSLPC), held its annual conference in Montreal earlier this year and showcased the association's new direction and membership mix.
The CLC amended its membership criteria last year to include not only public sector language teaching centres but privately-owned operations too. It was a significant move to welcome new members into the association and become, in the words of Jay Jamieson, Executive Director of CLC, 'the only cross-sector, bilingual organisation representing both official languages as well as public and private sectors' in Canada.

The CLC used the conference to highlight its goal to become a credible, national body for language training in Canada. International speakers at the conference included Tony Millns, Chief Executive of Arels in the UK and Sue Blundell, Executive Director of English Australia.

A two-day schedule of seminars was organised, covering industry issues that ranged between how to work with agents, national accreditation efforts, student orientation, public-private working relationships and new programme initiatives. Jamieson commented, 'It certainly was an exciting event. Everyone is really enthusiastic and energised with the inauguration of the Council.'

Also attending the event were representatives from other language industry associations in Canada as well as federal and provincial government departments in the country. Helen Rodney, Deputy Director of Policy and Operations at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, opened the event.

She commented, 'We commend the Council for having introduced a quality assurance scheme, [which] includes site visits and inspections.'

Jamieson is hopeful about what the future holds for CLC. 'There is a great deal of interest in the enhanced mandate of the Council,' he said. 'The expanded corporation has attracted many new members from English and French programmes in both the public and private sectors.'

Another of the Council's aims is to enhance Canada's reputation as a major international language travel destination. The CLC's quality assurance scheme for members covers teacher qualifications, curriculum, student services, student admissions, promotion and administration.

Insurance costs hit UK language school hard

A language school in the UK has had to close down because of an insurance company's insistence that all host family members be checked with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).

Having a person checked with the CRB means that any police records against the named person will be uncovered. The process is not compulsory in the UK English language teaching industry, but some organisations have chosen to incorporate CRB checks into their welfare procedures.

However, each CRB check costs UK£30 (US$57) and, as Claire and Tony Gill of East Sussex School of English in Brighton explained, the process can take up to three months. 'The only insurance company we can find to insure us is imposing that every adult in every host family is police checked, otherwise our insurance as a whole is invalid,' said Tony Gill. 'This would be unworkable for us on many levels, for example, if a family let us down at the last minute, we would have to find another police-checked family at short notice.'

The Gills' situation is unique because they only deal with junior clients, and so the insurance company has imposed more stringent requirements than with other language schools.

Tony Millns, Chief Executive of the Association of Recognised English Language Services (Arels), commented, 'We regard it as totally unrealistic for insurance companies to demand that all staff and host family heads be CRB-checked in year one.'

Millns added that changes to the English in Britain accreditation scheme regarding the care of juniors had been agreed and would be introduced later this year, to come into effect in January 2005.

At the Association of British Language Schools (ABLS), Janet McGuirk, Deputy Chairperson, said ABLS has become an umbrella body for CRB checks, so that all members could undertake checks via the association. 'We encourage all members dealing with under-18 year old students to check host families,' she said.

2002 verdict: good sales overall

Top 10 UK language school companies by turnover, 2002
Embassy Educational Services (UK) Ltd £15,54m
The Bell Educational Trust Ltd £15,48m
OISE Ltd £13,13m
St Giles Schools of Languages Ltd £9,17m
Aspect International Language Academies Ltd £9,00m
St Clare's, Oxford £8,57m
Linguarama Ltd £6,06m
Eurocentres UK £5,48m
Regent Language Training Ltd £5,43m
International House Trust Ltd £5,15m

Source: Company Accounts / Brian McCallen Research

The latest research on profits in the English language teaching industry in the UK reveals that a majority of language school companies had a good year in 2002, seeing a rise in revenue compared with 2001, and achieving good profit margins.

Although Sars and the war in Iraq had yet to take their toll on the industry in 2002, the expectations for the year were muted, as the UK closed the chapter on foot-and-mouth disease scares and terrorism fears post-September 11, 2001.

The report, entitled The Financial Performance of the UK EFL Schools, 2002-2003, indicates that six of the top 10 earning schools posted a profit for 2002, with Embassy Educational Services (part of Study Group) recording the highest pre-tax profits of UK£1.87 million (US$3.5 million). OISE was the next most profitable school chain, with pre-tax profits exceeding UK£1 million (US$1.9 million) for the first time.

Although Aspect ILA saw a 25.3 per cent increase in sales in the same annual period, taking sales earnings to UK£9 million (US$17.1 million), the company registered overall losses for this period of UK£1.61 million (US$3 million). In terms of turnover, the largest school organisations in the UK were Study Group and Bell.

OISE was listed as third, although this school was not included in the previous year's research because of unavailable figures (see Language Travel Magazine, April 2003, page 4). For the 2002 analysis, EF was not included because of unavailable information. For further enquiries, contact: info@brianmccallenresearch.co.uk.

Profits recorded in 2002
Embassy Educational Services (UK) Ltd £1.87m
The Bell Educational Trust Ltd £0.05m
OISE Ltd £1.022m
St Giles Schools of Languages Ltd £0.63m
Aspect International Language Academies Ltd -£1.61m
St Clare's, Oxford £0.61m
Linguarama Ltd -£013m
Eurocentres UK -£0.12m
Regent Language Training Ltd £0.33m
International House Trust Ltd -£0.23m

Source: Company Accounts / Brian McCallen Research

Karl Badde, Founder of ICEF, dies

Karl Badde, President of ICEF, passed away on 28 December, 2003, at the age of 65. A big name in the education and language school business, German-born Badde began his business in the Middle East in the 1960s where he established language schools.

ICEF was created in 1990 as a subsidiary of 'Where and How', a company producing language schools' directories. Currently, ICEF workshops and educational exchanges take place on an annual basis in Orlando, Moscow, Shanghai, Tokyo, London and Berlin.

Badde retired from ICEF in April 2003 when he appointed Andreas Marks and Isabel Vogt as his successors. He leaves three daughters and a son.

English UK plans high profile launch

The official launch date of English UK - the amalgamated association of the Association of Recognised English Language Services (Arels) and the British Association of State English Language Teaching (Baselt) - has been set for May 12, and the UK's Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Charles Clarke, is opening the inaugural conference.

The day's events are to be followed by a parliamentary reception in the evening. Tony Millns at Arels said, 'The conference will see the start of a marketing and communications drive to establish the new association, with its 330 members, as the leader in English language learning worldwide.'

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