English UK chief executive to speak at Labour and Conservative party conferences
19 September 2017

Labour and Conservative members and MPs will get the chance to hear the viewpoint of the UK English language industry at fringe events at their party conferences this autumn.

Sarah Cooper, chief executive of English UK, has been asked to join a panel discussion being organised for both conferences by the think-tank Policy Exchange. The sessions focus on exporting the English language and strengthening Britain's global position.

"This is a great opportunity to put our message across to MPs and party members as they get together to consider policy, the upcoming Parliamentary session, and decisions around Brexit, and I'm determined to make the most of it," she said.

"I will be driving home the fundamental importance of English language teaching as both a pipeline to UK universities and an important destination and export in its own right. I'll also be reminding MPs that the British public do not regard students as migrants, and that the Government's own figures show that the overwhelming majority of students go home at the end of their visas.

"As an industry, we need a light-touch visa regime and a supportive business environment: I'll be telling party members and MPs why it's vital that students can continue coming from the EU without passports after Brexit, and why we want students taken out of the net migration figures."

The panel will tackle questions including whether the English language has ever been a more valuable asset in global engagement, for both the UK and the rest of the world, and whether the UK can maintain its position as a leading exporter of the English language post-Brexit.

Ms Cooper, Dr Christopher McCormick, Dr Christopher McCormick, executive vice president of academic affairs at EF Education First, and panel organiser John Blake, head of education and social reform at right-of-centre think-tank Policy Exchange, will appear at both events. At the Labour Party event in Brighton on Monday 25 September they will be joined by Lucy Powell, former Shadow Secretary of State for Education.

The other two panellists at the Conservative event in Manchester on Sunday 1 October will be Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening and David Willetts, former Minister for Universities and Science, and now executive chair of the Resolution Foundation.

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