August 2005 issue

Travel News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Special Report
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Course Guide
Regional Focus

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UK feedback

The results of this year's Feedback survey on the private language teaching sector in the UK show a good nationality mix in the classroom and high rates of agency usage for school enrollment.

UK feedback at a glance
Total number of students: female 89, male 63 (unknown 5) 157

Average age in years: 24.9

Average length of programme in weeks: 18.5

Average number of students per class: 9.4

Average number of hours of lang. tuition per week: 20.4

% of students who found their course through an agent: 50

% of students who booked through an agent or adviser: 62

% of students who had been on another language programme: 22

% of students who would recommend their school: 86

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
Asia (38%)
W Europe (25%)
C & E Europe (12%)
C & L America (14%)
Africa (1%)
Middle East (14%)
Unknown (3%)
1.Korean (15%)
2.Swiss (9%)
2.Chinese (9%)
4.Japanese (11%)
5.Colombian (6%)
5.Brazilian (6%)
7.Saudi (5%)
8.Spanish (4%)
8.Taiwanese (4%)
8.Turkish (4%)

In my class there are... How will you use your English in the future?
Too many students (5%)
Too many students who speak my language (12%)
Too many students from one other country (10%)
None of these (71%)
Unknown (2%)
For college study in the UK (28%)
For college study in another English speaking country (10%)
For college study at home (12%)
For current or future work (47%)
For pleasure only (3%)

How did you find your programme? Standard of the teaching
It was recommended by an agent (50%)
It was recommended by a friend/relative (32%)
I found it on the Internet (13%)
I saw it advertised (4%)
No reply (1%)
Excellent (456%)
Good (37%)
Satisfactory (5%)
Unsatisfactory (1%)
Unknown (1%)

Standard of your academic programme Standard of your accommodation
Excellent (27%)
Good (51%)
Satisfactory (11%)
Poor (4%)
Unsatisfactory (1%)
Unknown (6%)
Excellent (32%)
Good (39%)
Satisfactory (16%)
Poor (5%)
Unsatisfactory (2%)
Unknown (6%)

Standard of your social programme? What is your accomodation while in the UK?
Excellent (22%)
Good (42%)
Satisfactory (25%)
Poor (7%)
Unknown (4%)
Host famuly (64%)
Residential/single room (15%)
Residential/dormitory (4%)
Other (16%)
No reply (1%)

Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study?
Yes (87%)
No (10%)
Unknown (3%)

Yes (52%)
No (43%)
Unknown (5%)

Yes (38%)
No (56%)
Unknown (6%)

Student nationality
The student mix at private language schools in the UK showed a greater spread when compared with the UK tertiary sector (see Language Travel Magazine, April 2005, pages 16-17). In the earlier survey, 65 per cent of students were from Asia while in this survey, the figure was just 38 per cent, and there were also sizeable groups from Western Europe, Central & Eastern Europe and Latin America. Overall, 35 different nationalities were represented across the schools in our survey.

Student motivation
As in our previous years' surveys on the UK private language sector, the most common motivation for students learning English was for current or future work purposes. Just 28 per cent of students were expecting to go on to further education in the UK, in contrast to the results of our public sector survey when 67 per cent of students said this was their motivation for study. Overall, 21 per cent of respondents gave more than one reason for their language travel trip, showing how today's students expect their language abilities to play a role in a number of areas of their personal and work lives. The average student age increased slightly on last year to just under 25 years and ranged from between 16 and 51 years. The majority of students were studying in the UK for a fairly long period of time, with 73 per cent of respondents enrolling on courses for over six weeks and 10 per cent staying for more than 40 weeks.

Student enrolment
Agent usage to find and book a language course was high among students in the private sector, being the principle method of finding a language school for 50 per cent of respondents. Specific reasons given by students as to how they chose where to study included the location of the school (particularly popular for students studying in schools in or around London or the south coast), the accommodation provision, the standard of the school website and brochure, and how friendly the staff were during the first enquiry.

Standard of the schools
School standards across the board were quite high, with 86 per cent of students saying that they would recommend their school to others. The social programme and accommodation standards received the lowest satisfaction rates among students with seven per cent and six per cent of students respectively saying that these were poor or unsatisfactory. Overall, 64 per cent of students were staying with host families, 19 per cent were in residential accommodation and 16 per cent had made their own arrangements. Of the 12 per cent of students who said that there were too many students who spoke their own language in their class, all were from Korea, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia or a Spanish-speaking country.

Living in the UK
With the strength of the UK pound, it is no surprise to learn that 83 per cent of respondents found the UK to be more expensive than their home country. The average cost of a one-week course including accommodation was UK£273 (US$497). Speaking to the local people was also found to be quite difficult by students - overall, 50 per cent of respondents found it either quite hard or very hard to practise their English skills with local people.

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey: Bell Language School, Saffron Walden; Bell Language School, Norwich; Embassy CES, Brighton; Embassy CES, Cambridge; Embassy CES, Hastings; Embassy CES, London; Embassy CES, Oxford; Frances King School of English, London; Gornall School of English, Oxford; Harrogate Tutorial College, Harrogate; International House, Torquay; OISE, Bristol; Regent, Cambridge; Regent, Edinburgh; Torquay International School, Torquay; Shane School of English, London; Waterloo School of English, London; Wimbledon School of English, London.

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