English UK publishes roadmap for UK ELT's recovery after Covid-19
English UK has today published a 14-step position paper outlining the government support required to kickstart the industry's recovery after Covid-19.
The industry's needs fall into three main categories: short and medium-term business support, a supportive immigration system, and marketing promotion on a national scale.
Teaching English to the world: how the government can help kickstart UK ELT after Covid-19 outlines for the first time the scale of the damage done to the industry from the coronavirus. Research done for the paper reveals: "Our members have furloughed or released almost 84% of their staff since March and are expecting to teach just 18% of normal student numbers in the first three quarters of 2020 - a direct loss of at least £514m for 2020."
English UK is sending the paper to senior politicians and party leaders as part of its ongoing campaign to establish extensive practical and financial support for the industry.
Jodie Gray, English UK's interim chief executive, said: "Since March, English UK has been fighting for our industry's survival, lobbying on several different fronts for business rates relief and support with immigration rules. Now we are unifying those campaigns, urging the Government to work with us in several different ways to kickstart our great industry so that it can achieve its potential once more."
The paper's executive summary says:
"Teaching English usually needs little help from the government but instead supports the UK economy.
550,000 students bring in £1.4bn annually, creating 35,000 jobs. What's more, English language teaching underpins our £20bn international education sector. But the 400 English language teaching centres that are members of English UK expect to lose over 80% of this year's business to Covid-19.
They are particularly worried about the huge impact of Covid-19 on market confidence: many potential international students are not inclined to travel. Added to this, is concern about the end of free movement in January, when a limited Covid-19 recovery may only have just begun. 75% of English UK members estimate that they will only see 40-60% market recovery in 2021."
What help is UK ELT asking for?
Short and medium-term business support for ELT centres
- Extend the business rates holiday and associated grants, already offered to the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, to specifically include the ELT sector. We estimate this would cost no more than £18m
- Provide ongoing support for ELT, including extended furlough for staff until March 2021. ELT is a seasonal industry and for many teaching centres, missing the important Easter and summer peaks will mean little or no income until spring 2021.
Tailored visas and immigration
- Extend visa validity periods for those unable to travel during the pandemic and if up-to-date information is required for such students, the original fee to cover the application
- Keep ID-card travel for under-18 EU/EEA/ Swiss group travel
- Enable students already studying to apply for a new visa for further study without leaving the country
- Require all UK English language providers to be accredited and recognise Accreditation UK on all visa routes
- Restore work rights of up to 20 hours a week for adult students on ELT courses with accredited providers, in line with our major English language competitor nations
- Reconsider the pro-rata block in the points-based system, allowing temporary workers or creating a youth mobility scheme. This would help ELT schools to get the qualified seasonal staff they need for summer and Easter peaks.
Marketing on a national scale
- Drive and measure success by the inclusion of a growth target for UK ELT in the International Education Strategy
- Increase financial support available for education exporters and loosen eligibility criteria for programmes to support ELT organisations to attend key events and visit overseas partners, ensuring the continuing visibility of Brand UK in the recovery phase as competitors battle for our students
- Make GREAT funding available in key source markets for UK ELT and other international education sectors
- Increase available financial support for education exporters
- Offer innovation and enterprise grants to UK ELT
- Maintain Erasmus+ relationships and funding while the government negotiates with the EU. Losing this business could close many UK ELT centres.
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