UK ELT showed a mixed performance in both the state and private sectors in 2018, according to the annual student statistics report.
Universities and colleges performed strongly, with a rise in ELT student numbers of 10.5% and student weeks of 11%. However, 60% reported more student weeks and the remainder a decline.
English UK's 360 private sector ELT member centres welcomed 470,073 students – 1% more than in 2017 – with a 3% drop in student weeks says the report, published by English UK and Bonard.
"The downward trend in length of stay seems to be a challenge globally: the UK is not alone in facing it. Tackling this issue might be essential for language schools worldwide going forward," says Samuel Vetrak, CEO of Bonard, in his introduction.
He notes that growth is being driven by well under half of the 114 sending markets – 39 in the state sector and 42 in the private sector. "This underlines the need for UK ELT centres to be (or become) strategic and highly effective in their international student recruitment activities," he adds.
Sarah Cooper, chief executive of English UK, welcomed the report at its launch during the association's annual conference in London. "It's pleasing to see the strength and resilience of our industry in what has been a challenging period, with the continuing uncertainty over the UK's relationship with the EU.
"The data repays very careful reading, with rich and detailed insights which member centres can use to target their marketing and identify regions and countries where there is growth."
She added: "It also gives us much to reflect on in the student weeks trend – we will be looking at this carefully and encouraging members to consider this as part of their business development."
State sector ELT statistics
Private sector ELT statistics