Information for agents

English UK statement following the announcement of a national lockdown on 4 January 2020 600 230

Last reviewed: 19 March 2021

Covid-19 | English UK's information for agents

Everyone in our industry is facing unprecedented challenges during the Covid-19 crisis. We want to send a message of support to all those affected by the pandemic, and keep you updated on the situation in the UK.

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Covid-19: the latest situation in the UK affecting English UK members

On 22 February 2021, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced how the current lockdown in England will be eased, starting with the return to face-to-face education from 8 March 2021.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the timetables are slightly different but the overall message remains similar.

On 12 April, the government's Global Travel Taskforce will report its recommendations aimed at facilitating a return to international travel.

English UK member centres will assess their individual circumstances and review their risk assessments when they plan for when and how to return to face-to-face learning. This will not be the same date for all centres.

English UK member centres will operate safe learning and working environments for students and staff in accordance with Covid-19 secure guidance, which English UK will update in line with published government guidance.

Member centres are continuing to offer remote or hybrid learning to support students who are self-isolating or who are unable to study in a classroom setting.

We are calling on the UK government to work with the UK ELT and wider tourism industries to develop a plan to reopen travel that both protects public health and allows ELT businesses to recover.

Agents should contact their teaching centre with any specific questions about their reopening plans.


Covid-19 safety measures for ELT centres

English UK members have access to English UK's detailed Covid-19 secure guidance for ELT centres. It explains the changes that UK ELT centres need to make to their operations in order to comply with UK government guidance on Covid-19 control measures. 

Since each UK ELT centre has a unique context, they will have different risk assessments and requirements. For details of the measures taken by each centre, agents should ask to see each of their partner's risk assessments. 

What can students expect?

Social distancing is in place in the UK until at least June. For students, this means keeping their distance from others at their ELT centre and in public spaces.

English UK member centres will use measures to reduce risk. These may include:

  • Protective screens or virtual receptions
  • Signs and floor markings reminding students to keep their distance
  • Asking students to arrive, leave and have lunch at different times
  • One-way systems for stairs/ corridors
  • Much more frequent cleaning
  • Hand sanitiser available in the centre.

Students may need to socially distance in the classroom:

  • Desks and seats will probably be further apart in the classroom and class sizes may be smaller
  • Students may be asked to use the same table each day
  • They may be asked to wear a face mask when indoors.

Reducing risk with 'bubbles':

  • Students who study together may be asked to stay together for breaks, lunches and activities.
  • There may be fewer teacher changes and less flexibility about moving groups or classes.
Social activities will be risk assessed and adapted:
  • The ELT centre will plan student activities around the social-distancing rules
  • They may use 'bubbles' to reduce risk.

 Teenagers linking hands in heart shape

Student emergency support during the Covid-19 pandemic

During the Covid-19 pandemic, English UK continues to support students. We will help students whose courses unexpectedly stopped in the event that a British Council accredited English language teaching centre ceases trading, by finding them an alternative course, free-of-charge.