May 2006 issue

Travel News
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Radical change to UK visa system

Accreditation of UK education institutions is an integral part of a new points-based visa system for the UK, which is being introduced in stages. Education institutions bringing international students into the UK will be required to take on the responsibility for assuring that the students are bona fide in their intentions themselves. In return for taking on a greater burden of responsibility, education institutions and other UK businesses are being rewarded with a clearer visa system that should help build enrolments.

The Regulatory Impact Assessment released by the government notes, "There are two key obligations that educational establishments will have under the new system: registering as a sponsor and accreditation; and reporting non-enrolment and non-attendance."

The new immigration system, which was identified as a plan last year (see Language Travel Magazine, October 2005, page 6) was unveiled in March by the UK's Home Secretary, Charles Clarke. Prime Minister, Tony Blair, spoke to Indian students about the new system via video-conference on the same day. He said the new scheme would make it "easier and fairer" for students.

In due course, Entry Clearance Officers involved in the immigration process will simply assess that the candidate has enough points to merit a visa offer – similar to the system in Australia. The government acknowledged that in the current visa system, "There is scope for inconsistency and incorrect decisions". It also admitted that up to UK£8 million (US$13.9 million) was spent on unsuccessful visa applications in 2004 and 2005.

The new system, with five ‘tiers' or categories for entry, also incorporates self-assessment so that applicants can determine for themselves if they meet the criteria required for a successful visa application. Work is "ongoing", said Clarke, to ensure the system is put in place. He added, "Managed migration is in the interest of the UK… the government's policy is to deliver a firm but fair, simpler, more transparent and more rigorous system, which will benefit our economy and protect our borders."

Exactly how the government will ascertain that an education institution has accredited status is yet to be decided, although the current Register of Education Providers will be superceded by more stringent accreditation requirements. A current problem highlighted by members of the Joint Education Taskforce (JET) during consultation – that tying visa issuance to one institution negates the possibility of students studying at two separate institutions – is also "under active consideration", according to Tony Millns, Chief Executive of English UK and a member of JET.

He said, "We are pleased with the way that the government, through JET, has involved the education sector and English UK as the representative body for English language teaching in the design of the new system and we look forward to contributing to further improvements in the UK's entry clearance process and policy. Much more responsibility will be placed on centres to ensure that they recruit only genuine students. In return, visa issuing for those [obliging centres] should become near-automatic."

Salisbury School bought out in UK

Takeovers have been fairly frequent in the UK of late, as in many cases, school directors from the first wave of ELT schools to be established retire and sell. The latest school to be taken over is Salisbury School of English in Salisbury, which has been sold to the Wels Group of International House (IH) schools, owned by Martin Lemon.
Mike Wills, Managing Director of Salisbury School of English, said, "After running the school since its foundation for over 26 years, [partner] Barbro Wills and I are looking forward to a quieter life. I am delighted that the school's future is now in the safe hands of Wels."

The IH-Wels Group already has IH schools in the UK, Australia and USA, and runs residential programmes in Malta. The UK schools are based in the southwest of England in Torquay and Bath, with Salisbury complementing the west country focus.

"This is a great addition to our group of schools. A handsome school in a beautiful city with a well established year-round reputation, and a summer junior programme at the nearby Godolphin School among the best in the UK," said Lemon.

Also announced this year have been the takeovers of Scanbrit School of English and SES Folkestone by OISE (see Language Travel Magazine, April 2006, page 7).

Language Travel Magazine to launch industry awards

Awards rewarding the best in the business are to be launched by Language Travel Magazine this year. The inaugural LTM Star Awards will be hosted in London on August 27, with education institutions and agencies able to vote to determine which companies, within certain categories, win an award for best overall business performance in 2005.
It will be the first time that an awards ceremony dedicated to honouring the best in the global language travel industry has been hosted, with the winners voted for by peers around the world. Voting forms can be found at www.hothousemedia.com/ltm/star.htm and the voting deadline is June 16. Editor of Language Travel Magazine, Amy Baker, said, "We are delighted to be hosting these awards and urge all our readers to go online and vote for their preferred partners in certain countries or regions. It is time to reward the dedication and professionalism seen in our industry."

A shortlist of candidates to win each prize will be unveiled later in the year. The awards gala dinner is open to all, details of the prices for evening attendance can also be found at the voting website.

NZ's efforts for students

Initiatives designed to welcome international students to regions of New Zealand and improve road safety awareness have been introduced this year, as New Zealand seeks to confirm its reputation as a welcoming and safe study destination.

Civic welcomes were extended to international students in areas such as Christchurch, Auckland, Palmerston North, Timaru and Whangerei in March, with addresses from the local mayor, a Maori welcome and gift bags for students typical of many of the events organised. In some cases, senior students addressed the newly enrolled students attending about what they could expect from their stay while in New Zealand.

Robert Stevens, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand, said, "International students are a vital part of our education system and our economy. I am delighted that our regions and communities are making great efforts to welcome these students."

Meanwhile, New Zealand's Road Safety Trust has funded the development of an educational kit entitled On the Road, which features video clips, board game and flash cards. The kits are intended to be integrated into the teaching curriculum at English language schools and are being distributed freely.

On the Road was the brainchild of English language teacher, Etain McDonnell, who was aware of a number of overseas students being involved in accidents. "Overseas students are unfamiliar with our road rules and driving conditions," she said. "Schools run orientation programmes for new students but the information doesn't always sink in. We hope that by creating lessons with road safety themes, the students will learn survival strategies at the same time as they learn English."

ELT but not as we know it

English Next, the latest research into the future of the English language, written by David Graddol and published by the British Council, suggests that English will cease to be ‘owned' by native English speakers and international student mobility will decline as English language teaching (ELT) provision and fluency in non-native countries improves.

Agencies can buy the SIM cards and sell them on to their UK-bound clients, who use them in their own mobile phones once in the UK to eliminate tariffs for receiving a call. They also benefit from a low rate for making calls overseas.

GSM International is the brainchild of Marco Travaglia of Business Class Education. He explained that he got the idea for the company because of his experience with foreign students, who would normally buy a local SIM card for their mobile phones once in the UK, instead of using international phone cards. "I thought, 'why not get the schools to offer this and make it a profitable service'," he said.

Language schools or agencies buy SIM cards from GSM International, which is working in partnership with a leading UK mobile phone retailer, and mark up prices to receive a "commission" for offering the service to their clients. "Our agents currently make up to 40 or even 50 per cent commission," related Travaglia.

The service will shortly be expanded to other countries too. "We will soon be providing "country specific" SIM cards for other popular language destinations such as Italy, Spain, France, the USA and Canada," said Travaglia.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

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




Education New
       Zealand Trust
English Australia
English UK
Quality English

CEC Network
      Languages and
      Education UK Fair
LTM Star Awards

GSM International

Malta Tourism

English Australia

Access International
      English Language
Archer Education
CEC Network
Hansa Language
      Centre of Toronto
Pacific Language

Anglolang Academy
      of English
Aspect (Australia,
      Canada, England,
      France, Germany,
      Ireland, Malta,
      New Zealand,
      Scotland, South
      Africa, Spain, USA)
Beet Language
Bell International
      (Malta, UK)
      of English
Churchill House
Cicero Languages
Eastbourne School
      of English
Eckersley School of
English Language
      Centre, Brighton &
English UK
Excel English
      Language School
Frances King School
      of English
Lake School of
London School of
Malvern House
LAL Language and
      Leisure (England,
      Malta, South Africa,
Langbourne College
Oxford Intensive
      School of English
      (Australia, England,
      France, Germany,
      Spain, USA)
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's
Regency College
St Giles Colleges
      (UK, USA)
Study Group
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa,
      Spain, USA)
Wimbledon School
      of English
Work Experience UK

Accent Français

Prolog- International
      House Berlin

Cork English College
Cork Language
      Centre International
Linguaviva Centre

EC - English
      Language Centres
      (England, Malta)
English Language
Lingua Time
Malta Tourism

Auckland English
Education New
      Zealand Trust
Rotorua English
      Language Academy

York School

Liden & Denz
      Language Centre

Cape Studies -
      Pacific Gateway
      Study Group
Eurocentres Cape
Geos Cape Town
      Language Centre
Good Hope Studies
inlingua Language
      Training Centre
      Cape Town
Interlink School of
International House -
Jeffrey's Bay
      Language Centre
LAL Cape Town
LAL Durban
Shane Global
      Language Centres -
      Cape Town

Colegio de Español
      La Janda -
      International House
Escuela de Español
      la Brisa S.L.
Escuela de Idiomas
Escuela Internacional
International House
      Sevilla - CLIC
Kingsbrook -
      Spanish for
Kings College
      (England, Spain)
Malaca Instituto -
      Club Hispánico SL
OLE - Español en
Tandem Escuela
      Internacional Madrid

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Ecuador,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Russia,
      Scotland, Spain,

American Language
Kaplan Educational
      Centers (Canada,
      England, USA)
University of
      California Riverside
Zoni Language


      Community College

Bell International
Queen Ethelburga's

Oak International