“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,” EUK chief executive Sarah Cooper said. While figures on 2017 performance signalled a 14% growth after three years of decline, the statistics for 2018 show a growth shy of 2% and an average drop of 0.9% in student weeks – partially caused by the loss of 15 members. […]

The private sector saw strong growth from Saudi Arabia, Chile and Argentina, but suffered a substantial loss from its first source market, Italy.

“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,” BONARD CEO Samuel Vetrak commented.

“This underlines the need for UK ELT centres to be (or become) strategic and highly effective in their international student recruitment activities.”

Universities and colleges, on the other hand, showed a strong performance, in contrast to last year’s losses, with a 10.5% rise in student numbers and 11% in student weeks, with a total course duration jumping from 8.8 to 9.2 weeks – although only 60% of members reported growth in student weeks.

China, Romania and Poland were the fastest-growing markets for state sector members.

“[The data] 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,” Cooper added.

She said the association would be looking for longer-term trends in the performance of the state and private sectors. […]


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