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September 2017

Inspecting the reports

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You can see our UK Language Centre Rankings 2017 supplement here

Our rankings are designed to be fair and informative. But how are they compiled?

How do we rank schools?

The EL Gazette rankings are based on the British Council inspectors’ summary statements. The inspectors assess centres on fourteen areas – plus a fifteenth area, ‘Care of Under-18s’, for centres enrolling this age group.

The inspectors can award a strength in any of the areas, and these areas of strength are noted on the summary statement. In our example (see below) the school has been awarded strengths in five areas: Staff Management, Quality Assurance, Premises & Facilities, Teaching, and Care of Students.

The inspectors can also note areas with a need for improvement. In our example above, a need for improvement was noted in one area: Publicity. To arrive at our score, we first take the total number of strengths, in this case five. We then subtract the number of areas that need improvement, in this case one. That gives this school a Gazette ranking score of four out of fifteen, the exact average score for British Council schools.

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What is a need for improvement?

Every area assessed by the British Council is broken down into a group of mini-criteria. In the case of publicity there are nine criteria. The inspectors give one of three judgements for each criteria: ‘not met’, ‘met’ or ‘strength’.
In our example (below) the school did not meet expectations in three criteria. A school with two or more criteria that are not met will normally be given a need for improvement in the area. In our example, the school received a need for improvement in the area of publicity, which is noted on the summary statement (see above).

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What is an area of strength?

If a centre meets and exceeds expectations in any criterion under an area of inspection, the inspectors may award a point of strength.
If it meets all the criteria in an area and is given a point of strength in 50 per cent or more of applicable criteria, the centre then receives an area of strength, which will be listed on the summary statement.

The example on the right shows all the criteria in the area of quality assurance.

As we can see, the school is marked as ‘met’ in all criteria and as ‘strong’ in two of them.

Point M16 is marked N/a for non-applicable, which means a strength cannot be awarded. This means that strengths are applicable in only four criteria, and our school has been awarded a strength in 50 per cent of them. It is therefore awarded an area of strength in quality assurance, which is noted on the summary statement (see below).

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