Accreditation UK is the quality assurance scheme for the English language teaching industry in the UK and is managed by the British Council with English UK. It has been running since 1957.
Accreditation under the scheme shows that a centre has achieved professional standards in its internal management, teaching, resources, environment and student care. It is one of the world's toughest EL inspection regimes and led the way for raising standards.
English UK members must be accredited under this scheme. For students and study abroad agents, this means that you can choose any of our centres with confidence: quality is assured.
When English UK was formed in 2004 and we insisted that our members had to pass Accreditation UK inspections, this was far more rigorous than the government's own visa requirements.
Currently Accreditation UK is the only accreditation required for English Language centres which only issue student visitor and extended student visitor visas of up to 11 months.However, although Accreditation UK was the first accrediting body for the English language teaching industry to be approved by the UK Border Agency, revised regulations mean that centres sponsoring students for full visas under Tier 4 of the points-based visa system must now be accredited by an separate educational oversight body such as the Independent Schools Inspectorate.
New requirements for the care of students aged under 18 are being introduced in English UK member centres.
The changes mean that our language schools must be very explicit about their child protection policy and check that everyone working with under-18s is suitable. There are also new requirements on transfers and leisure time, particularly for younger students.
The changes are being driven by the Accreditation UK inspection framework, which has been updated to meet (and sometimes exceed) the law in this country, and best practice in looking after under-18s. The new regulations are being introduced during the next year to give centres time to adapt.
Most of the requirements apply to all students under 18, whether or not they count as adults in their home country or what type of course they are on. Sometimes slightly different arrangements can be made for 16 and 17 year olds when the booking is made.
Click here to download the full summary on what agents need to know.
This is only a summary of the new guidance for centres. The full document is available here.
To pass the initial inspection, language centres must meet high standards. There are 119 inspection criteria in four main areas, which are:
There are further criteria for students aged under 16.
Each centre has an initial inspection, a full re-inspection every four years, a spot check in the first year and additional checks at random.
Inspectors will observe classes, visit accommodation, look at the premises, the resources and the records, interview staff from every area and talk to teachers and students. They will be looking for clear English or translations to be used in information about the centre and its courses. This information must accurately reflect what is provided.
Accommodation should be regularly inspected by the centre every 2 years and be comfortable, clean and in good repair, with adequate space, heat and light. Baths or showers must be available every day, bedding and towels changed weekly and students must have access to laundry facilities.
In homestays, the student must be treated as a member of the household. Private homes will have a host who lives on-site, and English will be spoken.
Centres that are accredited under the Accreditation UK scheme may use the following marque:
Click here for more detailed information on the Accreditation UK scheme.