English language centres in Scotland have joined forces to become English UK Scotland.
The 17 centres were all members of SELTIC, the independent Scottish consortium of accredited English language centres. They applied to become the first national group of English UK because of the marketing and business benefits that are part of belonging to a large and well-established organisation.
Rupert Lezemore, Chairman of English UK Scotland, said: "Most of us were members of English UK and we could see the benefits of being under their umbrella. It was a very simple decision really: we thought it would be better to be part of a bigger group rather than independent.
"From the marketing point of view English UK is much more of an internationally recognised name, and that will be very helpful. This makes very clear what we do," he said.
One of the new grouping's functions is to work together to lobby for the industry in Scotland. English UK Scotland members are also planning joint events, including cross-school training, which is more difficult for centres to do in isolation. "We're planning speakers and so on for staff training. We're building a real community," said Mr Lezemore. Member centres are in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and Aberdeen.
The English UK grouping will be able to build on the way that SELTIC members used to work together. Its centres would bid together for large contracts and co-operate to accommodate students' needs.
Mr Lezemore said that the SELTIC name, though accurate, had become less helpful as more would-be students searched for language schools on the internet. He added that English UK Scotland members now made up the majority of British Council-accredited centres in the country.
The Scottish group formally became part of English UK after a board meeting in April. Work is now underway to create a dedicated new website making full use of English UK and English UK Scotland branding.
English UK Scotland joins existing special interest groups including those for Business English, Work Experience, Young Learners and the regional groups for the North, Central England and the South West.