British Council 

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We were founded in 1934 and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1940.

We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with more than 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, the English language, education and civil society. Last year, we reached more than 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall, including online, through broadcasts and publications. 

Our status

We are:

  • registered charity no 209131 (England and Wales) and SC037733 (Scotland)
  • an executive non-departmental public body. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is our sponsoring department
  • a public corporation.

Our Patron is HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Prince of Wales is our Vice-Patron.

Read more about our work in our annual reports or a longer narrative by Sir Ciarán Devane (PDF 763KB), our Chief Executive.