What is British Council accreditation and is it easy to become an accredited school?
The British Council is well known for running language courses and providing cultural relations across the world. Their accreditation scheme guarantees the quality of the accredited centres which include language schools, summer schools, home-tuition providers, independent school/colleges, further education colleges and universities. Accreditation UK is responsible for inspecting schools, colleges and universities in the UK and the educational opportunities that they provide for students.
Why is it important for language schools to be British Council Accredited?
British Council accreditation shows that all accredited schools, colleges and universities have been inspected by an independent external body and represent the best and most reliable educational opportunities in the UK for students looking for a language course. The inspection looks at many areas including how an institution is managed, the overall upkeep of the premises, the level of facilities and resources available and the academic management of teaching and student welfare. You can read our British council Inspection report here: https://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/isca_soe_full_.pdf . Inspectors provide support and advice which means schools stay informed about the latest developments in the industry including statutory updates in their sector
Accreditation UK monitors and improves standards of management, teaching, resources, welfare and care of under 18s in UK English language teaching (ELT).
Where can you find information about Accredited Centres?
Accredited status allows centres to feature on the Education UK website and the Accreditation UK A-Z list of accredited centres. They can also become English UK members and will feature on the EL Gazette’s ranking lists.
Once you have a selection of potential centres, you can look on the A-Z list for the full inspection report or you can read the summary statement for each centre to make comparisons.
We are really proud of our latest British Council Inspection report’s summary statements and you can ready them below
Things to consider when looking for an accredited centre include the following:
- Course type : British summer school for teenagers, General English, Official Cambridge exam centre etc.
- How many weeks is the course and how many hours does it include?
- How much is the course? Are there lots of extras added?
- Where is the school? Is it a big city like London, a small town, rural or near the sea)
- Do you want your accommodation to be arranged by the school or are you staying with friends or your parents?
- Do you want a leisure programme included? Do you have to pay extra for activities when you get to the school?
What does British Council accreditation guarantee for students?
Accreditation guarantees quality of the language school. All accredited centres must have the following to become accredited:
- Qualified teachers
- High quality teaching and educational opportunities
- Effective and responsive safeguarding policies and supervision of under 18s
- Safe premises, with properly-equipped classrooms and areas for relaxation
- Publicity materials which accurately reflect what is provided
- Emergency procedures, known to staff and students.
- If they have accommodation, including homestays, this will be regularly inspected and must meet Scheme standards.
Institutions which hold British Council accreditation are inspected regularly to check the quality of their training and learning provision which continually helps them to maintain their high standards.
What are the benefits for students?
If you are an international student looking to study English in the UK, choosing from a range of accredited courses will provide students and their families with a quality assurance set out by the Accreditation handbook: https://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/k062_uk_accreditation_handbook_2019_final_v2.pdf
If an accredited centre does not maintain the high quality standards set by British Council accreditation, students can complain to the Accrediting body. This provides students and their families’ additional assurance about the operation of their chosen institution.
Students benefit hugely from studying at independent education providers due to their smaller, more focused class size which are dedicated to specialist vocational programmes. At the Isca School of English we specialised in teaching teenagers and making sure that our courses are well written and allow for your progression from one year to the next.
How to read a British council Inspection report?
The reports are complicated and full of data about the school but the most important part when you are first looking at the report are the summary statements. They tell you a lot about the school and their passion as educational providers.
What are Summary Statements?
They are the part of the report that gives you the key information about each area of the school’s scheme.
I have put our inspection report summary statements in the final part of this blog post and highlighted the parts that I think make us the best British Summer school in the UK and that are important when you are looking for a language school.
This family-run school was established by the current principal’s grandparents in 1966 and has been offering English language courses from the same premises since then. In 2016, the principal (who had previously been the assistant principal) took over from her father, who is now the assistant principal. They are assisted by other members of the family, as well as by staff who have been recruited to help with administration and accounts.
Students are greeted at the gates each day by members of the family, who also join in the games of table-tennis, spend time socialising with the students in their breaks, cook and serve the twice-weekly barbeque and help taking children to the doctor or dealing with other medical or personal issues. The school operates for ten weeks over the summer, with students coming for periods of a week or more during this time. Approximately 30 per cent of students are returners. The majority are individual bookings, though there are small groups from Europe and South America who are integrated into the classes. No single nationality dominates and there are no closed groups. The inspection lasted two days. The inspectors had meetings with the principal, the assistant principal, the accommodation and welfare officer, the social staff, the group leaders and the DoS. Separate focus groups meetings were held with the teachers and the students. All the teachers timetabled during the inspection were observed. One inspector visited three homestays.
The British Council inspected and accredited Isca School of English in July 2017. The Accreditation Scheme assesses the standards of management, resources and premises, teaching, welfare, and care of under 18s and accredits organisations which meet the overall standard in each area inspected (see www.britishcouncil.org/education/accreditation for details). This private language school offers vacation courses for under 18s. Strengths were noted in the areas of staff management, student administration, quality assurance, premises and facilities, learning resources, academic management, course design, learner management, teaching, care of students, accommodation, leisure opportunities, and care of under 18s. The inspection report stated that the organisation met the standards of the Scheme.
The provision meets the section standard and exceeds it in some respects. The extensive experience and family ownership of the organisation work well for the benefit of both students and staff. Student administration is handled efficiently and effectively, communication is excellent, and managers proactively seek to improve and develop the provision offered. Publicity is clear and offers entirely realistic expectations. Staff management, Student administration and Quality assurance are areas of strength.
Resources and environment summary:
The provision meets the section standard and exceeds it in some respects. The premises are of a particularly high standard, offering staff and students a very spacious and attractive environment in which to work. Students’ work provides a lively and stimulating addition to the classrooms. Resources are well chosen and maintained and readily accessible. Premises and facilities and Learning resources are areas of strength.
Classroom observation summary:
The teaching observed met the requirements of the Scheme. The segments observed ranged from very good to satisfactory, with the majority being good or very good. Knowledge of the linguistic systems of English was sound, and all teachers were able to adapt their language to the students’ level. Lesson content was highly relevant to the needs and ages of the students, and led to relevant learning outcomes. In all lesson segments observed, techniques were varied and appropriate, and students were fully engaged. Appropriate feedback was generally provided to students, although opportunities for correction were often missed. Teachers’ sensitivity to individual and whole-class needs resulted in a positive learning atmosphere.
Teaching and learning summary:
The provision meets the section standard and exceeds it in some respects. The teaching and academic staff are appropriately qualified and teachers receive very good support to ensure their teaching meets the needs of their students. Programmes of study are engaging and challenging, appropriate for a summer programme for young learners. The teaching observed met the requirements of the Scheme. Academic management, Course design, Learner management and Teaching are areas of strength.
Welfare and student services summary:
The provision meets the section standard and exceeds it in some respects. The high levels of care and consideration provided by all members of the management team and staff ensure that the needs of the students for security, pastoral care, information and leisure activities are well met. Similar high standards apply to the provision and management of accommodation services. Care of students, Accommodation and Leisure opportunities are areas of strength.
Care of under 18s summary:
The provision meets the section standard and exceeds it in all respects. The provision for the safeguarding of the students is of a very high standard in all aspects of their stay. Formal policies and procedures are enhanced by a genuine commitment to looking after the students throughout their entire experience from arrival to departure. Care of under 18s is an area of strength.
I hope this post helps you choose a school and I hope to welcome you here to join one of our courses in summer 2021
Thank you for reading and stay safe