Campaigning and lobbying

English UK public affairs team and board members meeting government representatives

 Last updated: 10:35 on Thursday 21 May 2020

Campaigning and lobbying 

The UK ELT sector is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. As the representatives of the English language teaching sector in the UK, we are speaking up and lobbying for support and recognition for our member centres and the UK ELT industry.

The UK is a world leader in English language teaching and brings £1.4bn to our country's economy. And we are working hard to make sure the voice of our industry is heard. read more statistics +

The English UK public affairs team is focused on getting our members through the Covid-19 crisis as well as working on longer-term issues to ensure the survivial of our industry. We are lobbying the UK Government to/for:

Please support our lobbying efforts for UK ELT by using our template letter to write to your MP: Impact of Covid-19 on UK ELT: template letter to MPs for English UK member centres.

Our lobbying of the Saudi Cultural Bureau has led to their agreement that online courses are eligible for scholarship funding.


Extend business rates holiday and associated grants to UK ELT

Last updated: 08:40 on Saturday 2 May 2020

Securing the inclusion of the UK ELT sector in the Coronavirus Business Rates Relief (BRR) scheme is our current lobbying priority. We continue to raise the issue at the highest level and have no intention of giving up the fight any time soon.

Since meeting Trade Minister Conor Burns in Bournemouth at the end of March, we have worked closely with him and the Department for International Trade to get the Treasury to specifically include ELT centres in the advice. We have also contacted both the Chancellor and the Business Secretary.

On Friday 1 May 2020 we issued a statement on our joint letter to the Chancellor, a letter from eight tourism, English language teaching and transport trade assocations as well as the Local Government Association. The letter asks Chancellor Rishi Sunak to urgently change civil servants' interpretation of his Coronavirus Business Rates Relief Scheme, launched to support the UK's hospitality and leisure industries.

We thought we had achieved a partial victory in getting the Local Government Association to advise councils that we should be included in the list of tourism businesses qualifying for the relief, but that advice was changed after a few days - apparently after pushback from local councils and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

We are now putting pressure on the Housing and Tourism Ministers to amend BRR guidance but are acutely aware that MPs pay most attention to their own constituents.

For that reason, we have created a new template letter which we urge you to send to your MP – signed by several centres if that is easier – asking them to lobby on this. It is particularly important to do this if your MP is a Conservative. Thank you to all everyone who has contacted their MPs already.

Write to your local MP about Business Rates Relief

Please strengthen our campaign for UK ELT by writing to your MP:

Write to your local councillors about Business Rates Relief

English UK and ELT centres have previously campaigned on national issues, such as visa policy, which means there has been little need to contact local councillors until now.

Until a national solution is found to the Business Rates Relief issue, we encourage all our member language centres to campaign for their local council to waive payments for ELT centres – and the way to do that is to enlist your ward councillor.

If you are in a unitary authority, including cities and many large towns, there is only one layer of government in your area. If you are in a smaller town you may need to contact both town and county councillors in your ward. It's worth contacting both councillors in your language centres' ward and the one covering your home address.

Contacting councillors is much like contacting MPs and devolved administration representatives – you can do it via email and make similar points, tailored to a local context. It's a good idea to look at advice in the rest of our campaigning toolkit if you want to know more.

Like MPs, councillors are keen to help the people they represent and keen to be seen to do this. It can be a good idea to talk about contacting the local paper or radio station about they help they're giving and offer to write something for their ward newsletter if they are particularly helpful.

Remember to share the results of your campaigning with us and include us in any social media! (@englishukonline on Facebook, @englishuk on Twitter and @englishuk on Linked In)

Councils reported to be providing some form of Business Rates Relief to English UK member centres

Last updated: 17:40 on Friday 22 May 2020 (Cheshire West and Chester Council added)

  • Bath and North East Somerset Council
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council
  • Brighton & Hove City Council
  • Cambridge City Council
  • Canterbury City Council
  • Cardiff Council (Cyngor Caerdydd)
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Ealing Council
  • Folkestone and Hythe District Council
  • Harrow Council
  • Lewes and Eastbourne Councils
  • Torbay Council
  • Warwick District Council
  • City of York Council

Ongoing financial support for UK ELT once immediate Covid-19 lockdown ends

Last updated: 11:00 on Wednesday 15 April 2020

While some of the UK Government's current emergency initiatives have helped English UK members and UK ELT centres stay afloat, our industry needs more support both now and over the coming months as a result of Covid-19.

In a meeting with English UK Interim Chief Executive Jodie Gray and Chair Steve Phillips, Trade Minister Conor Burns stressed that the sector was vital for the UK's soft power, trade and relationships and the Government wanted it to "not only survive but thrive".

The discussion focused on issues including a recovery package for the ELT sector and marketing efforts, and issues around immigration and progression routes. We are campaigning for the extension of existing measures and additional support to keep going until they can reopen fully in 2021.


Maintain Erasmus+ relationships and funding

Last updated: 11:00 on Wednesday 15 April 2020

While the Government negotiates with the EU, we need it to maintain the Erasmus+ relationships and funding. A significant proportion of ELT students and ELT teachers taking training courses are supported by the EU Erasmus+ scheme. Losing this business could close many ELT centres.


Support UK ELT's needs in post 2020 immigration regulations

Last updated: 11:00 on Wednesday 15 April 2020

We are continuing to lobby on the Immigration Bill to try and get concessions for the industry around student visas, group travel and seasonal ELT staff. It is currently planned for the Bill to return to Parliament later in April, although it seems highly likely that this timetable will slip.

In the letter we highlight how plans to remove ID-card travel and not provide a seasonal worker route for ELT are particularly damaging. Instead we ask for:

  • Passport-free travel documents for group travel for students aged 18 and under. EU nationals – particularly teenagers - often do not have passports as they can travel widely on ID cards. Over half of ELT students are 18 and under, and most come for short summer courses of under a fortnight as part of a group. The extra costs of getting a passport for one short holiday risks further damaging this valuable market.
  • A light-touch, flexible, short-term study visa for up to a year with no time restrictions for all ELT students. Current restrictions can prevent students from taking follow-on courses at UK further and higher education institutions during their unexpired visa period. Longer term students are critical to the UK ELT sector's post Covid-19 recovery.
  • All those already studying in the UK to be able to apply for a new visa for further study without leaving the country. Regulations currently insist that students already in the UK must depart to apply for a new visa to continue their education. We want these students to remain in the UK system and make it as easy to apply for follow-on visas as our competitors do in the USA, Canada, Australia, Malta, Ireland and New Zealand. This will help the UK's ELT sector attract students who may otherwise choose other study destinations.
  • All ELT providers to be accredited and recognise Accreditation UK on all visa routes. We believe all students deserve the highest standards of teaching, management and careso we want all ELT centres to be accredited, and for Accreditation UK to be recognised on all visa routes.
  • Restoration of work rights of up to 20 hours a week for adult students on ELT courses with accredited providers. ELT students would have parity with university students the UK would be aligned with competitor nations, helping the UK attract longer-term students from around the world.
  • Make sure ELT can get the qualified seasonal staff it needs for summer and Easter peaks by reconsidering the pro-rata block in the points-based system, allowing temporary workers or creating a youth mobility scheme. ELT is a seasonal industry and relies on qualified staff at peak periods who have come from the EU.


Online courses eligible for Saudi scholarships

Last updated: 11:00 on Wednesday 15 April 2020

After lobbying by English UK, the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau has agreed that financial guarantees will be issued to courses meeting certain conditions. These include live classes to a scheduled timetable, which must be similar to face-to-face timetables. read more +