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Flower of Scotland

Edinburgh is booming but there is still a lot of Scotland that remains to be discovered

There are only 25 accredited language centres in Scotland, the same number as accredited private language schools in London. This is perhaps not all that surprising, given that the population of Scotland is only 5.2 million compared to 8.63 million in Britain’s capital.

Yet there is no doubt that Scotland is on the march as an EFL destination, growing by 12.5 per cent in 2017, according to recent figures released by language centre association English UK. Only London equalled that growth rate.

We shouldn’t be surprised at the growth. The capital, Edinburgh, home to 60 per cent of all the country’s British Council accredited centres, is among the most beautiful capital cities in Europe – and probably the only one with a mountain in the middle and a festival season that runs for the whole month of August.

And the statistics show that international students love Scotland.

Scottish universities are among the most popular with international students and top the charts with EU students, who make up 9 per cent of total enrolments. Dundee is the only Scottish university which has chosen to be accredited by the British Council, though five more are inspected by the EAP specialist scheme Baleap.

Outside of Edinburgh, though, there is plenty of room for expansion. The second largest city in the UK, Glasgow, has only five British Council accredited centres: one language school, two state colleges, the head office of a summer school operation and a university pathway programme run jointly with INTO.

Apart from the university, Dundee has one state college catering for language students in what is one of Scotland’s favourite student cities – and one of the cheapest places in the UK to live. Perth, long known as the Fair City, has just one state college, while the Granite City of Aberdeen has one International House school – which judging on the inspection results from the British Council, is the best language centre in Scotland.


Top six in Scotland*

1. International House Aberdeen
2. ECS Scotland
3=. British Study Centres Edinburgh, Kaplan International Edinburgh Centre of English Studies Ltd, Edinburgh
6. University of Dundee

*Based on British Council inspection results.