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UK Minister writes to EFL students

A letter of 23 July, addressed to “International English Language Students”, signed by UK Minister of Exports Graham Stuart MP, is disseminating via members of accredited language schools association English UK among their partners abroad – and via the social media of UK embassies and trade commissions.

Graham Stuart’s letter begins “I am writing to tell you about the reopening of our world-class English Language Training (ELT) sector”. The letter describes how “things are changing… our English language teaching sector is reopening…” It adds, “our schools and staff and host families have been preparing for the return of students, focussing on their safety needs.”

It’s aimed not so much at students as agents and other overseas partners of the UK ELT industry. Jodie Gray, interim CEO of English UK, told the Gazette the idea for the letter emerged from a recent meeting of the Education Sector Advisory Group (DIT, Department for Education, plus other government departments), which Graham Stuart chairs.

The meeting was an update on reopening, as most obstacles to students arriving are removed, in England at least. These included “air bridges” allowing students from 60 countries to resume travel to the UK, as well as 2m social distancing reducing to “1 metre plus” – plus precautions such as face masks.

According to Gray, the biggest obstacle to the market recovering is confidence, especially overseas. It was hoped a word of welcome from the Minister would help.

Image courtesy of HM DIT
Matt Salusbury
Matt Salusbury
MATT SALUSBURY, news editor and journalist, has worked for EL Gazette since 2007. He is also joint Chair of the London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists and co-edits its newsletter, the Freelance. He taught English language for 15 years in the Netherlands, in Turkey, in a North London further education college and now as an English for Academic Purposes tutor, most recently at the London School of Economics. He is a native English speaker and is also fluent in Dutch.
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