A range of major issues, including fulfilling the government's Prevent requirements and the changing nature of UK ELT as an industry, as well as English UK's strategic plan, public affairs work and major international campaigns, were discussed at the English UK Member Roadshow Scotland, held at the Edinburgh Language centre on Friday 19 February.
Complying with Prevent
One key topic was how to incorporate the government's Prevent strategy into your centre in a subtle, constructive way. Huan Japes, deputy chief executive of professional services, explained that Prevent is not about promoting British values - democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, respect and tolerance - but about exemplifying them through the school.
Janet Galbraith agreed, explaining how at the Centre of English Studies "it made us think about how to help people acclimatise to Scotland; how to change our induction to welcome people to the UK." From that perspective it wasn't box-ticking but how a school could exemplify good behaviour.
English UK have organised prevent duty training days that can shed more light on what Prevent is and isn't, Huan added, and information on how to counter all types of extremism can be found the Education and Training Foundation website.
ELT: a structural shift, not a crisis
ELT is a maturing and highly competitive market, and there are challenges beyond our control. But, as Head of Market Development Jodie Gray discussed with members in Edinburgh, there are opportunities too.
It's all about thinking strategically, being flexible and looking at new kinds of delivery, Jodie explained. In Korea, students always look at school websites even if they book through an agent; in China you need to be flexible and offer something extraordinary. The British Council in China have noticed that the US ELT market is really quick to respond with new products.
"With last year's stats, people were using words like 'crisis' and 'shrinking', I don't think that's useful," Jodie continued. "They encourage schools to look inward, at what they've always done and wait for the storm to pass. But it isn't a passing storm: the world is changing and we need to ask 'How can I adapt for the future?'"
The group then discussed English UK's new prioritisation of markets, plans to improve statistics for members, and strategic review of distribution channels: all part of English UK's strategic plan to help UK ELT thrive and adapt to structural change in the global ELT industry.
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