The Accreditation UK scheme is managed by the British Council in partnership with English UK. It is one of the world's toughest inspection regimes for English language providers.
All accredited centres can enrol students on a short term study visa (for English courses up to 11 months).
Students who want to study English in the UK for longer than 11 months must find a centre that is on the Tier 4 Register of Sponsors. Many English UK members are also on this register.
For student visa advice, visit the UKCISA website.
Accreditation UK inspection criteria
To pass the inspections, English language centres must meet or exceed the agreed quality standards in five areas:
- premises and resourses
- teaching and learning
- welfare and student services
- safeguarding under 18s
Each centre has an initial inspection to gain accreditation, then 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.
Care of under 18s: what agents need to know
Students under the age of 18 are defined as children by UK legislation and there are certain measures to take in order to protect them from the moment they arrive and throughout their stay in the UK.
These measures apply to all under 18s, whether or not they count as adults in their home country or the type of course they are on. Sometimes slightly different arrangements can be made for 16 and 17 year olds when the booking is made.
In all cases, parents must be informed of the arrangements and they must provide their written consent to these.
See more details about the Accreditation UK scheme on the British Council website.