Reopening: welcome back to UK ELT

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Last updated: Tuesday 28 July 2020    

Reopening: welcome back to UK ELT

Lockdown restrictions are gradually being eased in the UK, and English UK member centre are reopening on different dates. We are looking forward to welcoming students from across the world to learn English in the UK. And Exports Minister Graham Stuart has written an open letter to ELT students, urging them to come back to a warm welcome in UK classrooms and outlining Covid-19 safety measures.

To help members, agents and students understand how to prepare, and what to expect, we are providing guidance and support.


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How will UK ELT centres reopen safely?

ELT owners and directors will think carefully about how and when to reopen their English language centres for face-to-face teaching, making sure everyone is safe and has a great experience. And we are here to help.

We have published detailed Covid-19 secure guidance – covering all aspects of provision from classrooms, offices and accommodation to transport, activities and excursions – to help our member centres reopen safely.

Not all of our members centres will open at the same time. Each one will consider their students, partners, staff and community, and open at the right time for them. In a survey of 96 member centres conducted in July 2020, 63% responded that they were planning to open by the end of September 2020, with 35% choosing to wait until at least January 2021 before reopening.

Social distancing

Social distancing is in place in the UK. Everyone is required to keep their distance from people outside their household. For students, this means keeping their distance from other people at their ELT centre, in the classroom and in public spaces.

Desks and seats will probably be further apart in the classroom than usual and class sizes may be smaller. Students may be asked to use the same table each day and to avoid sharing stationery and equipment.

Measures to reduce risk

English UK member centres will use new measures to reduce risk. These may include: protective screens or virtual receptions; signs and floor markings showing social distance requirements; 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.

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. A successful 'bubble' approach will mean that ELT centres can limit the impact of possible Covid-19 outbreaks.

Social activities will be risk assessed and adapted

The ELT centre will plan student activities around the social-distancing rules in their area. They may use 'bubbles' to reduce risk. There may be fewer excursions or activities that require transport. If excursions are possible, face coverings may be required for some visitor attractions.

Speak to your language centre to find out how they are welcoming students back safely

If you want to book an English language course in the UK, you should ask your school what they are doing to keep students safe.

Make sure you know what to expect on route and on arrival in the UK. 

Plan your study trip to the UK:

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