Complaints procedure

English UK is keen that any complaints against its member centres by students are resolved swiftly and properly. There is an internal and external complaints procedure in place for all centres, whether state or privately-owned, and we require that all students are made aware of this.

As a minimum requirement, information about the procedures should be included in brochures, on websites, and posters displayed in student areas.

If a student has a complaint about their study centre, it is important that they start by outlining the problem to a member of staff there, and then follow the internal procedure. If the student is still not satisfied, he or she can then move on to the external complaints procedure.

Complaints procedures for students in privately-owned centres

Complaints against English UK members by students are rare, but we want them to be handled thoroughly, promptly and impartially.

Before we consider a complaint, the student must have exhausted the procedure at the member centre without a satisfactory outcome. Students should start by discussing the complaint with a suitable senior member of staff, such as the director of studies for academic problems or the welfare officer for non-academic issues.

Centres should make it clear to students how to complain: we suggest a poster with the following wording be placed in student areas.

English UK is the world's leading language teaching association and your guarantee of high quality and good service. Students can appeal to English UK if they are dissatisfied with the way a centre deals with a complaint. See our information for students for more details.

Any complaint made to English UK will initially be referred to the Membership Manager or the Chief Executive and we will attempt to mediate in the first instance. If this does not work, the complaint is then referred to our independent Ombudsman, whose ruling is binding on member centres.

It is important to remember that:

  • The student must have exhausted the centre's internal complaints procedure
  • External complaints are time-limited: under English UK rules, they must be made within six months of the start of the course or when the problem occurred
  • The complaint must be made in writing, in case it has to be referred to the independent Ombudsman
  • We can only investigate complaints covered by the centre's accreditation with English UK: ie, those of students on English language courses. Those on CELTA teacher-training courses, for instance, are not covered.

An information sheet on the complaints procedure and an A3 poster are available to members. Email info@englishuk.com for a copy of the poster.

The complaints procedure can be downloaded here.

Complaints procedure: universities and higher education institutions

Students should start by discussing their complaint with the course tutor, and then follow the internal complaints procedure. If this does not lead to a satisfactory resolution, the student can invoke an external complaints procedure.

This is administered by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education. Visit www.oiahe.org.uk or email enquiries@oiahe.org.uk for more information.

Complaints procedure: further education colleges

Students should start with the college's internal complaints process. If the problem is still not resolved, and it concerns an English language course leading to an external qualification, the student should complain to the exam board or qualifications awarding body involved.

If the complaint is not about an academic matter, it should be dealt with by the college. In really serious cases, the Skills Funding Agency may be able to consider the matter. Visit www.skillsfundingagency.bis.gov.uk for further details.