The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We call this work cultural relations.
We are on the ground in six continents and over 100 countries bringing international opportunity to life, every day. Each year we work with millions of people, connecting them with the United Kingdom, sharing our cultures and the UK’s most attractive assets: English, the Arts, Education and our ways of living and organising society. We have 80 years experience of doing this.
In line with our Royal Charter, we aim to bring high quality English materials to every learner or teacher who wants them around the world. We work with governments to transform whole education systems to increase opportunity and employability through English. We also deliver English teaching and train teachers by radio, web and broadcast in developing and post conflict countries.
In the Arts we work with the best of British and international artistic and creative talent to develop events and collaborations which link thousands of artists, organisations and audiences worldwide. In addition to staging shows and exhibitions, we partner with others on joint Arts projects and help develop creative leadership, professional networks and cultural educational programmes worldwide.
All over the world, people want greater educational opportunities to enhance their lives and employment prospects. We live in a globalised world so our focus in education is on bringing an international dimension to education in schools, technical colleges and universities, on raising educational standards by sharing the UK's expertise, and on encouraging the best international students to study in the UK.
The British Council’s high profile work in English, the Arts and Education & Society helps hundreds of millions of people worldwide to learn about and experience creativity and excellence from the UK. Millions of talented people of all ages – but particularly younger people – engage face-to-face and online with us learning English, developing new skills, experiencing life and study in the UK and earning UK qualifications.
Finally, thousands of policymakers, academics, researchers, artists, sportspeople, scientists, curators, creative entrepreneurs, head- and classroom teachers work through us with their counterparts in the UK to develop policy, professional standards and participation in English, the Arts, Education and civil society. In the process, they create new opportunities and possibilities for the UK and their own countries.
By teaching English, changing the way we see each other through the Arts, offering international education opportunities and sharing the UK’s ways of living and organising our society we create opportunity, trust, prosperity and security for the people of the UK and the many other countries we work in around the world.
Find out more about the work we do from our Annual Reports.
Image 1: Copyright Gabriela Maj, image 2: A. Dubbar, British Antarctic Survey, image 3: Copyright John Cooper, Ikon Partnership.
In this section
Facts about the British Council
The following information outlines facts about the British Council on key areas of our work and how we operate. These facts are divided into four areas.
How we work
Find out all you need to know about our corporate reports, documents and policies.
Over the last 30 years we have expanded our global network from 79 to over 100 countries. Discover some of the people who make up our organisation.
The British Council was founded in 1934. Since then, our organisation has expanded to over 200 offices in over 100 countries around the world.
Management and structure
Find out how the British Council is organised and managed.
Find our press releases and media contacts here. The Press Office is available for 24-hour media enquiries.
These British Council research reports and opinion pieces present our latest insights into important global questions and trends facing individuals, nations, businesses and communities.