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The new British empire


Setting up a branch abroad used to be an activity for only the bravest, boldest and best resourced independent schools in the UK, Irena Barker writes. 

Harrow School, alma mater of Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch and prime minister Winston Churchill, was the first to plant its flag in foreign lands – opening a campus in Bangkok, Thailand in 1998. It now has a ‘chain’ of four international schools in East Asia.

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China climbs amid the minus signs

Claudia Civinini analyses the latest gloomy (and not-so-gloomy) student number figures for UK English language schools

The weak pound has not saved the UK ELT industry from its third consecutive year of decline, figures from English UK show.
Increased competition between host countries, political uncertainty in Europe, Brexit and obstructive visa policies may have all conspired to cause the decline in 2016, the new report suggests.

Both student numbers and student weeks show a minus sign for private and state providers, and the same is true for staple source markets such as Italy and Spain.

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In for the Clil


A snapshot survey reveals teacher training providers in the UK and Ireland are benefiting from a growing number ofcountries jumping on the Clil bandwagon.

When the French need to invent a name for something, you know it’s a success. Content and language integrated learning, commonly known as Clil – or Emile by the French – has been taking European primary and secondary schools by storm. Many countries now require secondary schools to teach some subjects in a foreign language (the most common is English) and similar projects are also run at primary level.

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A continent of polyglots

Melanie Butler takes a closer look at the latest Eurydice data, which gives a detailed picture of school-based language learning in Europe

Primary languages boom


Figure 1: Starting ages at which the first and second foreign languages are compulsory subjects for all students, 2015/16

In Europe, language learning is seen as a basic skill, like reading or maths. Only two countries, Scotland and Ireland, do not make foreign languages compulsory in schools.

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Not-so-easy listening?

Why is there so much variation in the performance of East Asian countries in the skills tested by Ielts?

And do the Chinese need to give up their attachment to traditional teaching in L1 in order to excel? Melanie Butler investigates

Jocelyn Wang, head of teacher development at China’s largest language school chain, New Oriental, recently gave a heartfelt defence of the Chinese system of English language training. At this year’s Iatefl conference, she showed video clips of expert Chinese teachers delivering lectures mostly in Mandarin while the students sat in rapt attention, occasionally taking notes.

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