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The British Council

The British Council is the United Kingdom's international organisation for educational and cultural relations. Its purpose is to enhance the reputation of Britain in the world.

With offices in 243 towns and cities in 110 different countries, The British Council encourages cultural, scientific, technological and educational co-operation between Britain and the rest of the world.

It has 225 libraries and information centres, and 135 teaching centres. In 1998/99 its 370,000 library members borrowed 9 million books and videos.

It organised 400 science seminars and over 2000 exchanges of researchers. It also supported 3000 arts events ranging from club nights in Hungary, to the Royal National Theatre in China.

The British Council receives funding from the British Government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and earns income from teaching English, conducting British examinations and managing development and training contracts.

Accreditation of English Language Schools

The British Council is the national accrediting body for English language schools in Britain, under the 'English in Britain' Accreditation Scheme. The scheme is managed jointly by The British Council and the two UK national associations:

  • ARELS, the Association of Recognised English Language Services, for private language schools, and

  • BASELT, the British Association of State English Language Teaching, for universitites and colleges.
The three organisations work together to set standards for English language teaching organisations in the UK, and to offer students coming to Britain a range of quality EFL courses to choose from.

All accredited organisations are required to undergo inspection at regular intervals, and spot checks may be made between inspections without warning. The inspections are done by two or more inspectors - experienced senior English language teaching professionals with additional expertise in management, teacher training (or) materials writing.

Accreditation is available only to establishments operating in the UK, and only when they have been operating for 2 years (3 years for seasonal organisations). The scheme examines all aspects of the organisation including:

  • Accuracy of publicity materials
  • Academic management - course design, monitoring of students progress, monitoring of teachers performance, examinations;
  • General management, administration;
  • Qualifications of teachers and academic managers;
  • Premises - maintenance, safety standards, hygiene, heating, furnishings;
  • Academic resources - classroom equipment, books, computers, language labs, study areas, reference materials;
  • Teaching standards - including planning, preparation & atmosphere of classes, use of resources, variety, feedback;
  • Welfare - helping students to adjust; care, advice and guidance on all aspects of students stay, first aid and emergency procedures, leisure programmes;
  • Accommodation standards, suitability of host families.
If a student has any queries or problems with an accredited English language course, the British Council or ARELS or BASELT will be happy to help - either in the United Kingdom or at any of the British Council offices around the world.

Click here for a list of all the schools in our UK database which are accredited by the British Council.

Further information from:

The British Council
10, Spring Gardens
London SW1A 2BN

Tel: +44 20-7930-8466
Fax: +44 20-7389-6347
Email: general.enquiries@britishcouncil.org

British Council website: http://www.britishcouncil.org/

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