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Leaders in year-round young learners

Who are the top performers for under-16s, asks Melanie Butler

There are 131 accredited UK language schools which now accept under-18s year-round, according to the British Council, but most just enrol the occasional closed group. Only 21 specialise exclusively in young learners, and a further 31 had young learners in the school during their last inspection and reported a significant number of under-16s enrolled outside the summer.

Why does this matter? Because the data shows there is no correlation between how good a school is at teaching over-16s and how well they do with younger learners. On average, a private language school for adults will be awarded four more strengths for its adult course than for its junior summer school operations.

Seven of the exclusively young learner schools, a third of the total, appear in our ranking below, meaning two thirds score below the industry average on inspection.

Our leaders come in three main categories: schools which started as summer operations, like UKLC; those belonging to the big name teaching and training operations IH and Bell; and those that have always specialised, like our top performer, Broadstairs English Centre.

Of the schools which also take adults, around 30 per cent made our ranking. They include centres, like Lewis School of English, with successful summer operations; a big name teaching and training operation, St Giles; and schools who have years of experience with taking young learners year-round, like the top performer in this ranking in terms of bonus points, Sidmouth International School.

Images courtesy of ST GILES INTERNATIONAL and Ron
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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