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How Safe Is Your School?

p22 Pic courtesy Martin Cooper

by Melanie Butler
One of the biggest concerns for the students and their families when choosing a language course is safety. Contrary to popular belief, the UK is actually an extremely safe country. For adult students, the main safety concern is crime. It is very difficult to compare violent crime across countries because the crimes are defined differently: in Sweden, for example, all prostitution is counted as rape. In England and Wales a crime against a person, rather than against their property, is a violent crime even if no physical violence was involved.

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It’s The Relationship, Stupid!

Accent Main Photo
by Mark Waistell, Accent International

On the wall of my office is a faded quotation from the legendary drama teacher and academic Dorothy Heathcote which says: “….a race of teachers who are unafraid to make relationships with classes; who are unafraid to admit that they do not know; who never stop seeking to learn more about the dynamics of teaching…. and who work to suit the needs of their classes at any time in order to keep learning meaningful….”.

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How I Learned To Love The Rankings



Claudia Civinini explains the scoring system for language centre inspections

THERE WERE two things I needed to learn to love quickly when I started working at EL Gazette: British Council (BC) inspection reports, and the rankings for language centres. There are not many things I love more than a good story. The BC reports with all their entertaining euphemisms can be pleasant to read, especially their sarcastic use of the word ‘some’ in their dry descriptions of schools’ performance.

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Delving deeper into the data


HISTORICALLY, THE EL Gazette Rankings have been based on strengths awarded in the British Council Inspectors summary statements. These report strengths and needs for improvement in fourteen or fifteen different areas depending whether a centre enrols under 18s. In the full reports on these schools, rather than in the summary statements, sub-strengths are noted for over 100 different criteria. If we calculated the scores on each criteria, would that make any difference to the rankings?

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Tracking ELLs achievement


Claudia Civinini looks at ELL outcomes in primary schools in England
According to 2016 figures from the Department of Education, 18 per cent of 11 year-olds in England did not have English as their first language (L1). How are they doing and where are they achieving their potential? The achievement gap between English as an additional language (EAL) speakers and native-English-speakers is narrow. Gender and, more especially, socio-economic status and special education needs show a stronger effect. On average, 53 per cent of all pupils achieved the required standard in reading, writing and maths – the achievement for EALs was 50 per cent.

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