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How Covid tweaked the rankings

Did the pandemic do much to how well language schools perform? Melanie Butler takes a look

The rankings this year are based on all the British Council reports as of 15 September 2022. They do not look very different from last year.

This is because, despite Covid, only one centre has closed down, Eurocentres Cambridge (Eurocentres in Bournemouth and Brighton have come under new ownership and are awaiting re-inspection under their new name). However, two universities, Brighton and Leeds, and one FE college, South Thames, have left the scheme. In addition, as we explain on page 18, four Centres of Excellence are not re-opening until next year.

The way we calculate the rankings has changed slightly: this year we are relying on the full reports published by the British Council when calculating the scores, as well as the last summary statement. This is because many centres have opted to undergo Compliance Inspections. These are noted on the rankings with an asterisk (*) by the centre’s name. Compliance Inspections do not award strengths and they do not include Summary Statements, but they do note new Needs for Improvement.

To calculate the points for each centre we take the following steps:

  1. Take the total areas of strength awarded on the last full report published.
  2. Deduct the number of Needs for Improvement on the full report.
  3. Deduct any further Needs for Improvement noted on a Compliance Inspection.
  4. Add four to the result (to account for the full range of scores accepted for accreditation which include 0 to -3).
  5. Divide the sum by the number of areas inspected, typically 15 or 16.
  6. Report the score as a number out of 10 (see column immediately before the school name).

So, in short, a centre’s score can go down after a Compliance Inspection, but it cannot go up. However, it is rare for a Centre of Excellence to have any Needs for Improvement noted. This year only two out of 106 ranking centres had any.

As of 15 September 2022, only one ranking centre had received any Needs for Improvement on a Compliance Inspection but, unfortunately, it has led to that centre falling out of the rankings.

The secret to being a Centre of Excellence has always been the same: first, avoid any Needs for Improvement.

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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