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Closures keep coming as UK ELT reopens

In mid-August, Thompkins Education Group announced that all five of its TEG English centres, including the recently opened Birmingham centre, had ceased trading. Another chain, British Study Centres has gone into administration, but most of its centres are expected to be rescued and three, London, Manchester and York, are currently operational.

So, is the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on chain schools still the story? It is too soon to tell. Berlitz Edinburgh has ceased offering face-to-face English, but the other three UK franchises are open, though operating largely online.

Oxford House College (OHC), Oxford has been closed down. Oxford English Centre, owned by the same Australian company, is still trading but not yet sure when it will open. OHC Central London is re-opening on 7 September. Plans for its other two UK centres have not been finalised, the Gazette was told.

With so many UK language centres currently shut, it is hard to establish which have actually closed down. Since January, a total of 24 accredited centres are no longer listed on the British Council website. However, only 17 are language centres for whom accreditation is vital and two of those, Northumbria School of English and Mercator, have left the BC scheme but are reportedly considering other options.

Leaving aside LTC Eastbourne, which has been merged with a neighbour, the Gazette has established that ten language schools and one boarding school, King’s College St. Michaels (see opposite page), have ceased trading and been removed from the list.

The TEG schools are still listed on the Council website, which has not been updated since July. The website of one other BC-listed school, Totnes European, has disappeared, as has its entry on English UK course finder. As with many schools, it remains unclear if it has ceased trading or if it, too, is simply considering its options.

These British Council- accredited centres have ceased trading:

  • Berlitz Edinburgh
  • BLC Bristol
  • English Studio
  • Globe Exeter
  • Insight Greenwich
  • Kings College St Michaels
  • Kheiron Schools of English Oxford
  • London School of English Canterbury
  • Oscars Summer School
  • Oxford House College Oxford
  • St Albans School of English
  • TEG Bristol
  • TEG Cardiff
  • TEG Southampton
  • TEG Portsmouth
  • TEG Birmingham (unaccredited)
Image courtesy of OXFORD HOUSE COLLEGE
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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