Quarterly student statistics scheme data illustrates impact of the pandemic on UK ELT in 2021
14 March 2022

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Student weeks by age group and source country (top 10 markets) in 2021

Quarterly student statistics scheme data shows impact of the pandemic on UK ELT in 2021

Top-level insights from our QUIC 2021 student statistics show how sharply the Covid-19 pandemic affected our members and UK ELT. 

Regular benchmarking of performance is essential for monitoring the sector's recovery and emerging trends, as well as for the data scheme's own consistency and continued integrity. Therefore, as part of our commitment to supporting members, we delivered modified versions of QUIC in 2020 and 2021. 

The 2021 QUIC results show that for the 124 member centres reporting, overall student week volumes fell by more than 25%. A main factor, however, was the relative performance of the first quarter since, as the year progressed, the quarter-on-quarter position improved substantially. Overall, 42 source markets performed better than in 2020 but, across all quarters, there remained much greater volatility in the top 20 source country rankings. 

The effects of the pandemic continued to affect mode of delivery, with 89% of centres supplying some form of English language teaching online in 2021.

One of the most noticeable changes reported was the erosion of the junior segment. In pre-pandemic years, juniors accounted for more than 50% of all enrolments but they dropped to just 2% of student weeks in 2021, peaking at 3.9% in quarter three.  

This adult-junior shift, alongside the major changes in student volumes, drove changes in the relative importance of key sending markets. Previously strong European source markets, historically responsible for sending a substantial proportion of the UK's junior students, lost out to the top Middle Eastern source countries.  

Only QUIC participants receive the full quarterly reports, with market analysis, infographics, commentary, and sectoral, regional and provider type breakdowns.

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