April 2012 issue

News Round Up
Inside the industry
Advisor Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus
Special Report
Course Guide
City Focus
Market Analysis

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UK’s renewed focus

Despite a raft of new policies ushered in by government, UK language schools appeared to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and focus on developing business models.

UK’s marketing budget by region (overall %) Student feedback respondents by world region of origin
North America 1.5%
Latin America 11%
Africa 3%
C&E Europe 23%
W Europe 41% Middle East 8%
Asia 12%
Australasia 0.5%
W Europe 34%
Asia 16%
Middle East 10%
C&E Europe 15%
Latin America 20%
Africa 3%
No reply 2%

Top nationalites in UK by student weeks – according to schools, 2011 How will you use your UK in the future?
Spanish 14%
Italian 12% Russian 6.5% Brazilian 6%
French 5% German 5% Saudi 4% Swiss 4%
Japanese 3%
Turkish 3% Chinese 3%
For my current or future work 48%
For further studies in the UK 21%
For my university/college studies at home 17% For further studies in another English speaking country 6.5%
For pleasure only 6.5%
No reply 1%

Commission Student numbers by age range
21.5% is the average commission paid on a language course

None of the institutions profiled paid commission on accommodation

8-11: 3%
12-15: 21%
16-18: 23%
18-24: 22%
25-30: 12%
30-50: 15%
50+: 4%

Means of recruiting students in UK, 2011 (schools) How did you find your programme? (students)
Advisors 51%
Internet 26%
Local bookings 13%
Other means 10%
It was recommended by an advisor 40%
I found it on the Internet 29%
It was recommended by a friend/relative 23%
I saw it advertised 6%
No reply 2%

In my class there are... To practise English with native speakers is ...
...just the right amount of students and mix of nationalities 59% ...too many students who speak my language 15%
...too many students 14%
...too many students from one other country 7.5% (No reply 4.5%)
Quite easy 42%
Quite hard 37%
Very easy 11%
Very hard 8%
No reply 2%

Total marketing spend by sector and by category in %
Advisory costs 43%
Commission 37%
Incentives 2%
Agency brochures 4%

Travel costs 25%
Agent workshops 12% Student exhibitions 1%
Advisor visits to school 2%
Entertainment 3% Trips to agencies 6%
Publicity costs 32%
Agent mags etc. 2%
Student mags etc. 2%
Brochure, video etc 12%
Internet 17%
10 weeks Overall average length of stay

17.5 hours Average language tuition per week

49% of students booked through an agent or advisor

Key points in STM school survey UK
Number of participating organisations: 14
Total number of students at the organisations in 2011: 29,298
Total number of student weeks in 2011, estimated: 292,980
Participating schools: A2Z School of English, Manchester; The Heart of England Language School, Leamington Spa; ELC York, York; ELC Manchester Academy of English, Manchester; Angel Language Academy, Leeds; ABC Languages, Cambridge; Meridian School of English, Portsmouth & Plymouth; Torquay International School, Torquay; St Brelade’s College, Jersey; Bell, Cambridge; The English Studio, London; BLC, Bristol; Lila*, Liverpool; Stafford House School of English, London & Canterbury.

UK student feedback at a glance
Total number of students: (female 69, male 59, unknown 1) 129
Average age in years: 25
Average number of students in class: 8
Participating schools: St Giles, Eastbourne & London; BLC, Bristol; ABC Languages, Cambridge; IH Aberdeen, Aberdeen; Lila*, Liverpool; A2Z School of English, Manchester; Malvern House, London; Lewis School of English, Southampton; Torquay International School, Torquay; Crest School of English, London; EC, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge & London; ELC Manchester Academy of English, Manchester; ELC Edinburgh, Edinburgh; ELC London - Hampstead School of English, London; ELC York, York; Meridian School of English, Plymouth.

When we last analysed the UK language teaching market less than 12 months ago, schools were lamenting the effects of changes made to the country’s student visa system (see STM July 2011, page 43). In the ensuing months, many made a conscious effort to change tack, concentrating on alternative source markets or new student routes to help grow business.

Marcela Landuch, International Development Manager at A2Z School of English in Manchester affirms that the school shifted its attention to students from within the EU due, in part, to the fact that EU students do not require a visa for study in the UK. Meanwhile, at Stafford House School of English, which has centres in Canterbury and London, Stephan Roussounis, acknowledges that the Extended Student Visitor Visa (ESVV) – which enables non-EU students to study in the UK for up to 11 months – helped alleviate visa stresses. “We were concerned that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) changes last spring were going to affect our growth plans, but thankfully the ESVV route seemed to balance out the changes to Tier 4,” he notes. In fact, Stafford House – part of the Cambridge Education Group – weathered the storm considerably well in 2011, launching a brand new London campus in August while setting it sights firmly on a third centre in Brighton, scheduled to open this month.

For others a year full of “adjustments” proved more challenging. Michael Duggan, Director at Angel Language Academy in Leeds, notes that while enrolments increased over 2010, changes in inspection bodies proved “very bad for enrolment”. He adds, “[Student] applications were delayed or students withdrew because of a lack of confidence in the visa system.” He also notes that rising tuition fees at UK universities could negatively impact on business. “I can see a drop in international students to the UK because university fees are high. This will remove incentives for visa students to take preparation level courses in the UK,” he says.

Business also increased at ELC York. However, Carla Vital at the school notes that the removal of language level exemption for those applying to be an adult student under Tier 4 did make a dent in 2011 sales. She says, “Previously sponsored students didn’t have to present proof of their English level to study in the UK even when applying for a Tier 4/General Student Visa. Now they have to prove they are ready to begin Upper-Intermediate level (B2) in order to apply for a General Student Visa. This has affected business negatively, as it has added further restrictions for long-term students.”

Increased brand recognition and new agent partners provided a return on business in 2011 for the Heart of England Language School in Leamington Spa. However, Director of Studies, Louisa Enock, is anxious of more policy change. “I feel very threatened by the uncertainty created by the UKBA and its regulations for visa requirements,” she relates. Provided the school does not lose the ability to work with non-EU students, however, Enock anticipates a buoyant season. Summer, in particular, will be “extremely busy” for the school, she notes.

Another trend cited in our previous report on the UK’s EFL sector was a loss in Saudi market share. In 2010, the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau decreed that a cap be placed on the number of Saudi students studying in the UK after intake spiked.Providers continued to feel the effects of this policy change well into 2011. “Saudi was a significant falling market,” affirms Sarah Gallagher at Lila* in Liverpool. “As a result of the re-direction of scholarship students we lost 239 weeks in comparison with 2010’s 677 weeks.” However, “There is news in the sector that from mid-2012 scholarship students from this area will start being redirected to the UK,” she advises.

Iraqi, Chinese, Iranian, Thai, Costa Rican and Russian proved emergent nationalities in 2011. Bell Cambridge welcomed a good cohort of students from Brazil and Russia, affirms the school’s Tom Ringer, and he attributes this surge to a number of factors, most notably the favourable socioeconomic climate of the BRIC nations.

Meanwhile, language and overseas training is proving a way out of recession for some EU nationalities, a trend affirmed by Illaria Ticchioni at the English Studio in London. She notes that Spanish and Italian bookings were up in 2011 owing perhaps to an unfavourable job market in both countries.

The exploration of new source markets appears to be firmly on the agenda for many providers. Karen Page at ELC Manchester Academy of English, signals that the school hopes to concentrate on Central Eastern Europe and Latin American student markets in 2012, while Roussounis at Stafford House confirms South America, Turkey and Western Europe as potential target markets.

Average length of stay across surveyed schools was nine weeks, which varies considerably from the five week figure recorded in 2010 (see STM, November 2011, page 72). However, school respondents noted that students were on courses of varying length, from two weeks up to a year, thus inflating the overall average.

Course kick-start

“Bell Cambridge extended its range of products in response to market demand and this increasing choice of programme is a contributing factor to the rise in student numbers,” affirms the school’s Tom Ringer. Indeed, the school added three new programmes to its young learner portfolio in 2011; Young Business Leaders, Young Achievers and Olympic Focus English – which aims to develop English skills through Olympic-focused activities.
“In 2011 we launched the Cambridge TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test) programme,” notes Karen Page at ELC Manchester Academy of English – part of the EAC group. “From feedback, the course was redesigned to include a British culture component. This course was well received.”
According to Sarah Gallagher at Lila* in Liverpool, the school launched three new programmes in 2011; Academic Year – a 36-week course consisting of 15 hours a week of General English and six hours a week of Academic English, plus two Cambridge examination courses. While the latter programmes were well received, the Academic skills course was slow to pick up, says Gallagher. “However it is attracting bookings in 2012,” she adds.
And UK providers intend to carry on adding to their stable of products in 2012. Designed to maximise language development and student enjoyment, A2Z School of English in Manchester plans to launch a two-week English plus football programme this summer and, to celebrate the city’s musical roots, a summer School of Rock. The latter programme will combine language learning with afternoon workshops in songwriting, the history of pop music, studio recording and includes attendance at gigs.
Meanwhile, adult and younger learners keen to get to grips with the English language and interactive media can soon sign up for a two-week summer course at the Plymouth branch of Meridian School of English – part of the Tellus Group.

UK student feedback at a glance

Total number of students: (female 69, male 59, unknown 1) 129
Average age in years: 25
Average number of students in class: 8
Participating schools: St Giles, Eastbourne & London; BLC, Bristol; ABC Languages, Cambridge; IH Aberdeen, Aberdeen; Lila*, Liverpool; A2Z School of English, Manchester; Malvern House, London; Lewis School of English, Southampton; Torquay International School, Torquay; Crest School of English, London; EC, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge & London; ELC Manchester Academy of English, Manchester; ELC Edinburgh, Edinburgh; ELC London - Hampstead School of English, London; ELC York, York; Meridian School of English, Plymouth.

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The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Study Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.






English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
CERAN Lingua International  
Study Gold Coast  
English in Chester  

Sara's New York Homestay LLC  

Access Macquarie Limited  
Bond University  
English Australia  
ILSC Australia  
Impact English College  
International House Sydney
Language Studies International  
Study Gold Coast  
University of Newcastle Language Centre  
University of New South Wales  

CERAN Lingua International  

Bics (Business & Intl Communication School)  
GTMI Global Tailor Made Idiomas  

ILSC Education Group  

iMandarin Language Training Institute  
Mandarin House  

Tandem Santiago  
Latin Immersion  

Cambridge Education Group  
Camp Beaumont  
CES - Centre of English Studies  
Country Cousins  
Explore English Language Ltd  
Heart of England Language School  
International House London  
Kaplan International Colleges  
Living Learning English  
London School of Business & Finance  
London School of English  
Malvern House College London  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
St Giles International  
University of East Anglia  
University of Essex - International Academy  

Alphe Conferences  
Quality English  

Camidge Esol  
City and Guildsanch Office in Europe  
TOEFL Educational Testing Service  

Home Language International  

Dr. Walter GmbH  
Gibbs Denley  

A Door To Italy  
Italian in Tuscany  
Italiano Porticando  
Lingua S  
Piccola Universita Italiana  
Scuola Verde L'Olmo (Academy Olmo)  

EC English Language Centre  
ETI Malta  

Universidad de Guadalajara  

EAC Language Centres and Activity Camps  

STM Star Awards  

Xul Comunicacin Social  

EF International Language Centers  

Malta Tourism Authority  
Study Gold Coast  

Brown University  
Centenary College  
ELS Language Centers  
St Giles International
Zoni Language Centers  

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