Campaigning and lobbying

Campaigning for UK ELT

We campaign on behalf of the UK's English language teaching industry for policies that will help the sector to survive, compete and thrive. 

Our public affairs team, supported by an external relations advisory group of member centres works to create the best-possible operating environment for UK ELT.

Our current focus is industry recovery after the pandemic and getting members the support they need to keep businesses afloat in the meantime.

What do we need for industry recovery?

Our Kickstarting UK ELT policy paper and our Roadmap to market recovery explain the challenges our sector faces, what help we need of government and how we will lead the industry to recovery.

Working in partnership with stakeholders, the wider international education sector, and government, we can do a lot for ourselves. Other asks will require political support to achieve.


UK ELT roadmap to recovery after Covid 19

What Covid-related business support are we campaigning for?

Since March 2020 we have campaigned tirelessly for business rates relief to be extended to UK ELT, as originally outlined by the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he promised it would support all tourism, leisure and hospitality businesses. We have involved government officials and politicians, and have revived this campaign in the January 2021 lockdown. 

We have supported members in over 20 local council areas to successfully get discretionary business rates relief, and are still working on this.

We support our campaigning with robust evidence.

Our latest Covid-19 impact report published in March 2021 estimated that English UK member centres lost £590m in gross revenue overall in 2020. 91% of UK ELT jobs were affected, with 54% of the workforce released and an additional 18% of staff furloughed.

We collect data from our members quarterly and annually to monitor the state of the industry. The UK's ELT industry attracts 550,000 students to the UK every year. They add £1.4bn to the UK economy annually, creating 35,000 jobs. Find more facts on the value of UK ELT.

How do we campaign?

We use a variety of approaches, including:

  • Direct contacts with government officials
  • Direct contact with influential MPs
  • Membership of official panels, such as ESAG
  • Organising letter-writing campaigns to MPs and others, with member support
  • Working with our public affairs advisors to get issues raised and attempt to change legislation via carefully targeted MPs and members of the House of Lords.

What successes have we had?

We are delighted with changes to the visa system which came into law in October 2020, and for which we had been campaigning for many months. These include the new flexible six-month visitor visa, which allows people to enter the UK and study or travel as they wish, and changes permitting students to apply for follow-on visas without leaving the UK.

ID card travel was extended from the end of the Brexit transition period to the end of September 2021 after our campaign to allow EU minors to continue passport-free travel became an amendment to the immigration bill in the House of Lords. 

How can members get involved?

We really value member support in our campaigning, and MPs will always pay attention to the views of their constituents over that of a trade association. Visit our member campaigning resources page to access our campaigning toolkit, public affairs strategy and campaigning letter templates.

We also work closely with our external relations advisory group of members who represent English language teaching centres from all over the UK. Contact to tell us what you've been doing or to request support.