Saturday, May 25, 2024

Top 100 for 2021

Melanie Butler explains how we calculate our rankings

The Top 100 UK language centres ranking only covers providers inspected by the British Council. More than one centre can have the same score: as you can see from the table opposite, the six centres in blue at the top all have a perfect score of 10. Schools are listed alphabetically, so ELC Bristol is listed above LSI Portsmouth even though they have the same score.

Because groups of centres have equal scores, our Top 100 actually has 112 entries. All of their scores are 6.84 or above out of 10.

Scores are based on the number of areas of strength awarded by inspectors. These are shown on the summary statement on the first page of each inspection report. These reports can be found at

The Council inspects 15 areas listed on the right-hand side of the table opposite. Each area can be awarded an ‘area of strength’, marked on our table with a pink or blue square, or given a ‘need for improvement’ marked on our table with an orange square. White squares signal that a centre has simply met the standard for the area.

To calculate the raw score we add up the areas of strength a provider is awarded on the summary statement and deduct a point for every need for improvement. Then we divide that by the number of areas inspected.

The first problem is that one area of inspection is ‘safeguarding under 18s’. However, some centres don’t enrol under 18s, as is the case with business and professional English specialists like the London School of English and universities like Manchester. Look at their results under safeguarding and you see a grey square for ‘Not applicable’.

To complicate matters further, a number of school inspections with a score of 0 or even -1 on spreadsheet calculations give weird results, so we award every centre a range modifier of four points for passing the inspection.

So, to calculate the score for any centre there are five steps:

Step 1 Add up the areas of strength on the centre’s summary statement.

Step 2 Deduct the number of areas marked as having a need for improvement.

Step 3 Add four to the result.

Step 4 Divide that total by the number of areas inspected.

Step 5 Report the number as a score out of 10.

To be in the top 1% a school needs to achieve a perfect 10. Take a bow Wimbledon School of English, Summer Boarding Courses, LSI Portsmouth, London School of English, The English Language Centre Brighton and ELC Bristol.

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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