Information for agents on Covid-19 measures in the UK
19 March 2020

Information for agents on Covid-19 measures in the UK

Everyone in our industry is facing unprecedented challenges during the Covid-19 crisis. We want to restate our message of support and sympathy to all those affected by the pandemic, and update you on the current measures in place in the UK.

Current situation in the UK

Publicly-funded education institutions across the UK are to close on Friday 20 March 2020 until further notice in order to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

English UK is strongly recommending that all UK English language teaching (ELT) centres should also close at the end of the day on Friday 20 March in line with publicly funded education institutions.

This is a public health emergency: we believe it is vital that our sector follows national advice as our priority must always be our duty of care to students, staff and the wider community.

View further information for English UK members on caring for students who are currently studying in centres during this time. We will continue to support our members and help everyone to weather this storm.

On Monday 16 March 2020 the UK Government announced new measures to delay the spread of Covid-19. They have advised everyone in the UK to stop non-essential contact with other people and avoid all unnecessary travel:

  • No non-essential travel
  • Work from home if possible
  • Avoid social venues like pubs, clubs and theatres
  • Anyone living with someone who has a cough or a temperature should stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days

We are monitoring the situation closely and will support ELT centres in re-opening and welcoming students from around the world as soon as it is the right time to do so.

Opportunities to move learning online

We have been supporting our members as best we can through webinars and best-practice advice, including guidance on moving course delivery online. We know some providers have already moved some of their teaching online. 

With many people around the world unable to access face-to-face teaching, we hope English UK members can continue to support individual students and school groups with their English language learning needs through these alternative methods of delivery. 

Student wellbeing

If you have students who are still in the UK, it is important to consider the psychological impact and potential mental health risk the current situation could cause them. We encourage you to keep in contact with your students and raise any concerns with your language centre contacts who will be able to speak to the safeguarding lead.

Visa extensions for students who are unable to leave the UK

UKVI have already confirmed that Chinese nationals who cannot return to China have been given an automatic visa extension to 31 March 2020. We have asked UKVI to urgently confirm that students of other nationalities will also receive an extension. We also expect the date of extension to be extended. 

Events and conferences

We do not intend to deliver any face-to-face training or conferences before May 2020. All delegates registered for an event that needs to be rescheduled will be automatically transferred to the new date and informed of the change.

We continue to plan for training and events from September onwards to take place, this includes StudyWorld 2020 in September, the China Roadshow in November and our Asia Pacific events in Vietnam and Thailand also in November. We are working closely with all our venues and event partners, all of whom have implemented additional policies to protect attendees and we continue to monitor the situation.

We will continue to assess each event individually and will follow advice from the UK Government, Public Health England, World Health Organisation and other authorities and governments to inform and steer our decision making and planning.

It is our hope that StudyWorld 2020 will form a critical part of the rebuilding phase in international education as we move beyond the worse of the impact of Covid-19.

Further support from English UK

We are thinking of you and your colleagues, and your friends and family, at this incredibly difficult time and we are available to answer any questions you may have.

Finally, we know that our members look forward to welcoming students from all over the world when it is safe to travel. We know that our industry will bounce back in the future, and we will be here to support all stakeholders in its recovery.

Louise Gow
Agent Communications Manager, English UK

Jodie Gray
Interim Chief Executive, English UK

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