On the move
Torquay International School in the UK is pleased to welcome Dean Jones as the new General Manager of the school. Mr Jones has worked in the industry for almost 20 years starting in China training teachers. He then moved to Japan and worked as an academic manager with responsibility for a region of 47 schools. After returning to the UK, Mr Jones spent almost eight years as General Manager of LAL Torbay in Paignton.
Zachary Johnson has taken on the role of Chief Executive Officer at Ielts USA. Mr Johnson has over 20 years of leadership and management experience, including senior roles in global education companies, most recently at Blackboard Inc. where he held various leadership positions across the UK and Europe, Asia Pacific and the USA over the past seven years. He will be responsible for increasing the number of institutions across the USA which recognise the test as proof of English language skills, and for working with the growing network of test centres in the country to increase opportunities to take the exam.
International House London in the UK is delighted to announce the appointment of Hortensia Mendy to the role of Sales Manager. Ms Mendy, who joined in May, will be managing agency and corporate partnerships in Spanish speaking South America. Bringing considerable experience in the sector, having worked in senior roles with both St Giles International and Study Group, Ms Mendy will be based in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Having stepped down as board member and chair of Ialc, Walter Denz recently joined the Eaquals executive committee as vice-chair. “I am very much looking forward to working for Eaquals. My own schools have profited a lot from Eaquals membership. Their expertise in language education is unparalleled. My main objectives as incoming vice-chair are to raise the profile of Eaquals in our industry, recruit new member schools and maximise the benefits our members are enjoying,” he said.
Dorothée Lamy has joined Ilac in Canada as Regional Marketing Manager. Focussing on student markets in France, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium, Ms Lamy will be responsible for business development, student and agent support and expanding agent networks in Europe. Ms Lamy has many years of experience in the international education industry, having previously worked in a sales and marketing role at Accent Français in France and in the education department at the French Embassy in China.
Q&A Educator association
This month, Tony Millns, Chief Executive of English UK, talks about the association’s recent communication with government.
Full name: English UK
Year established: 2004
Number of members: 454
Type of members: Private and state English language centres
Association’s main role: The advancement of English language teaching
Government recognition: yes
Code of practice: Yes, in relation to member centres
Complaints procedure: yes
Agent workshops/fam trips: yes
T: +44 2076087960
What has your association been up to in the last 12 months?
We have continued with our own very successful series of small fairs. We’ve also organised some promotional trips and taken part in other workshops and events in Turkey, Russia, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Brazil and Kurdistan. And we brought agents on an inward mission to Central England. We refreshed our flagship event, StudyWorld London. And with almost 900 attendees, it was our biggest yet. In addition, we take our role in professional development very seriously. We’ve run our regular conference for the ELT sector in the UK in management, marketing, business English and the annual conference. We’ve also run a huge range of more than 30 one-day training courses, as well as a diploma course for ELT managers and a certificate course for welfare officers. Recently we have also had a central role in re-forming the Joint Education Taskforce, the key body through which the English language sector talks to UKBA.
What challenges DO members FACE in regards to the ESVV?
There is a very volatile situation at the moment, but our statistics show that our members are very good at diversifying. Many have moved out of Tier 4 and are concentrating on Europe or using the SVV and ESVV very successfully. We’ve also noticed that adult numbers are down, but junior courses are booming up by 21 per cent. At our annual conference, UKBA’s Neil Hughes said that the main reason the Extended Student Visitor Visa (ESVV) had not been written into the Immigration Rules was that UKBA wanted to make sure the route was not abused. The ESVV was going to be included in an overall review, and while he couldn’t give any promises, he told us he was “quite content” with what was happening with the visa and that they were not seeing enormous evidence of abuse or displacement. Our own survey of members found a refusal rate of eight per cent, which compares very favourably with the 20 per cent threshold for HTS. So all that gives us hope, together with David Cameron’s speech of last year which suggested strongly that the government was interested in boosting tourism, in particular from areas such as China. It would clearly concern member centres if the ESVV were not made permanent. At present, it’s hard for members making use of this visa to plan ahead with confidence.
Please talk about your research on non-accredited language schools in the UK.
Our predecessor, Arels, put together a list of 560 non-accredited language schools in 2002. We wanted to get an idea of the scale of the problem, because our members were certain that these institutions were sources of blatant abuse of the student visa system. We’ve kept this list going, checking it again four years ago when we found most of them were still active and giving cause for concern. This year we made it a priority for our researcher to work her way through the list. She found that 45 per cent were no longer operating as language schools, 27 per cent were taking EU students only, and 22 had some form of accreditation, which is better than nothing. So, almost 95 per cent of those suspect colleges are no longer actively recruiting students in breach of immigration rules. The remainder, six per cent, failed a “mystery shopper” exercise carried out by our researcher. I’m pleased to say that it was English UK that raised the issue of bogus colleges as an immigration loophole and persisted in drawing this to the attention of ministers and UKBA.