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Home2023 IssuesIn case you missed it: the UK language centre rankings 2023-24

In case you missed it: the UK language centre rankings 2023-24

It’s that time of year again! Melanie Butler walks us through what to expect in this year’s UK language centre rankings!

Now the devastation of the COVID storm seems to have finally abated, the last 12 months find UK ELT in calmer waters. However, the flood of private language school closures seems to carry on.

Since the last EL Gazette ranking, twelve private language schools and six summer schools have left the scheme. Additionally, six state Further Education Colleges, four boarding schools and two universities have opted out; a hugely disproportionate number! Among EL Gazette Centres of Excellence, we have lost only two. The rate of attrition at the top end of the business remains low.

There are signs of growth: of the 25 new entrants to Accreditation UK, 12 have come on board in the last academic year. Perhaps the most eye-catching entrant is a brand new international chain, English Path, which has opened four new centres in the UK alone.

There has been a drop-off in new entries to the Centres of Excellence this year, with Into Manchester, Celtic English Academy in Cardiff, and Language in Action all coming through with flying colours. Meanwhile, only a handful of existing Centres of Excellence have risen up the rank, most notably Chichester College, one of only two FE colleges ever to hit the top 10% in the Gazette rankings and the only one judged ‘Outstanding’ by England’s much-feared state inspection authority, Ofsted.

If there are fewer centres moving up the ranks this year, there are more dropping out of the top 25% of schools. Of the providers featured in our supplement last year, thirteen – around 10% of the total – have failed to make the cut-off score on re-inspection. All but one of the fallers belonged to chains. To see the impact on each chain’s performance overall, look to our analysis here.

Stranger still, of those ten, all but one opted for a Full Inspection rather than a Compliance one. To find out how this might make a difference, click here.

Happy reading!


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: How we calculate the rankings

THE RANKINGS: The final list, plus key

FALLING THROUGH THE CRACKS: Why have so many schools dropped this year?

THE NEW KIDS: This year’s new entrants

BREAKING THE CHAIN: Chains and franchises: how did they fare?

This article was originally published September 2023. All information is correct as of 12 September 2023. All British Council accredited centres can be found here.

Image courtesy of Library
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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