Looking back and looking forward, an update from our Chief Executive
14 December 2018

Intelligence and innovation are the two key drivers of our mission to lead the UK ELT industry to success. This year has seen rich activity in both areas, with exciting developments still to come in 2019. A significant development, which affects all areas of our work is the focus on enhancing our relationship with and between our various national, regional and special interest groups. We were delighted to welcome English UK South to the fold in November and look forward to working ever more closely with all of you to maximise the benefit of this rich network to all members.

Our QUIC programme expanded in its second year to deliver compelling quarterly data to a third of our members, adding year on year comparison for the first time. We also conducted our data pilot project in the North and showed just what might be possible for the industry. We are incredibly excited about the potential this has, not just for our members, but for the wider global ELT industry as this would be a truly pioneering venture. The Board has approved our next steps on this, so watch this space… we will be talking about this with you in our spring roadshow programme around the country.

We have two new advisory groups of members to help guide the strategic direction of accreditation and professional development respectively. One of our core objectives is to ensure that UK ELT accreditation is fit for purpose: a number of working party meetings have taken place to explore how we can improve the scheme, to reflect the diversity of provision and allow providers to differentiate while retaining the core robustness of the process. They are also looking at ways in which different delivery models can be included, and in particular how the process can be more user friendly and streamlined, including digitisation. There is much more work to be done, and this will naturally involve extensive member consultation during 2019, preceded by more working parties in the early part of the year. Do let me know if you would like to be involved!

Professional development is a core part of our activity on your behalf, and we hope to add fresh vigour and a more strategic approach to this. Our new group looks set to do just that, as we extend our programmes in conjunction with your regional or national groups around the country to reach all aspects of member operations.

Our promotion of UK ELT continues to evolve and improve. The new UK focused StudyWorld is embedding itself firmly and we are already excited about further improvements for 2019, led by our new Commercial Director, Tim Barker. We returned to China for our ninth China Roadshow, followed closely by our Asia Pacific workshops in Osaka and Bangkok. We held a very successful networking reception at the ASEPROCE workshop in Madrid and 16 of our members benefited from DIT funding for an Education is GREAT village at ICEF Berlin. Next year we are repeating this at ICEF Dubai and Mexico/Colombia.

Public Affairs, not surprisingly, has dominated much of our time this year, and we have created multiple opportunities to make our message heard and understood, supported by many of you around the country. Thank you for all the work you have done with your local MPs and media to spread the word about the value of ELT. Recent highlights have been some of the ministerial (and shadow) meetings at the party conferences and thereafter, the very encouraging APPGIS report (following the disappointing MAC report) as well as the vocal support we have received from key stakeholders in the wider education industry. Although we are still waiting for the publication of the immigration white paper, and the devil of the detail, we are encouraged by positive noises from several government departments, and emerging support for growth in international education. I will not attempt to add anything to commentary on more recent events…

It has been a full year, and I would like to thank the English UK team for all the hard work they have put in to achieving our objectives, as well as the members of all our support and advisory groups, not least our Main Board Trustees for their continuing advice and support. Next year looks to be even fuller and more exciting as we work to lead this industry to success.

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all, and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our spring roadshows and our annual conference in May!

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