Saturday, May 25, 2024

A parent’s guide to the best

How to read our rankings and what it all means, as explained by Melanie Butler

Summer is when the majority of students travelling to learn English abroad are under the age of 18. So, when ranking summer schools, it’s important to pay particular attention to the areas that parents worry about. After all, they’re almost always the ones paying for the trip.

Are my children safe? Are my children having a good time? Are my children learning any English? Out of the 15 areas inspected by the British Council, we focus on the six areas which we felt were most important to parents.

Next, we checked our database for all the schools that ran summer courses for under-16s, because that’s the age group for which the rules on safeguarding, as the protection of children is called in the UK, are the strictest. We took out any school that didn’t have any under-16s enrolled when it was inspected, because teaching and safeguarding can only really be judged when they’re taking place.

We also took out any provider who was judged as needing improvement in one of the key six areas.

We ended up with just over 50 summer course providers who scored strengths in at least three of the areas we’re highlighting in our ranking and we’ve grouped them according to their scores, with those who have six out of six at the top and those with three out of six at the end.

Within each box we put providers in order of their ranking across all 15 areas inspected. For example, Summer Boarding Schools is in the top 1% of schools inspected in 15 areas overall, so it’s placed just ahead of Broadstairs and Discovery, both of which are in the top 3% overall. As you’ll see, though, all three score in the top 10% in our young learners ranking.

What do we learn? Well, unsurprisingly, schools that score very highly in our ranking of all schools score well for young learners, but some course providers which have an average score of between four and six areas of strength out of the full 15 inspected do very well in the areas critical to young learners. That includes boarding schools like Rossal and Padworth, and activity course specialists like PGL and Kingswood.

Image courtesy of PHOTO SHUTTERSTOCK
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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