Wednesday 10 February 2021


The British Council has launched a worldwide call for applications for the 2021 ELTons Awards for Innovation in English Language Teaching. For nearly two decades, the ELTons have celebrated the best in English language teaching and learning, including original courses, publications, projects and apps. 

For the first time in its history, the ELTons will introduce a special commendation for finalists who demonstrate particularly strong awareness of environmental and climate change issues both locally and globally. The move is part of a wider campaign by the British Council to bring young people together to tackle climate change in the run up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in the UK in November 2021. 

The ELTons continue the work of the British Council in creating global opportunities across arts and culture, education and the English language. In 2020, entries came from 35 countries across six continents, with several projects addressing global challenges like climate change and educational equality. Last year also saw the introduction of the ELTons Judges’ Commendation for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) which celebrates finalists whose resources bridge educational inequality, reflect diversity and promote the inclusion of typically underrepresented groups.

There are five award categories in total:

  • Digital innovation – Use of digital technology or media to benefit English language learning;
  • Local innovation – Resources or projects innovating to meet specific local needs, within local, national or regional contexts around the world;
  • Excellence in course innovation – Courses using a unique variety of content, formats or media to help learners achieve higher levels of English language proficiency;
  • Innovation in teacher resources – Resources supporting English language teaching professionals, whether through teacher training, education, or professional development;
  • Innovation in learner resources – Services, activities, materials or works using innovative means to improve English language learners’ proficiency in vocabulary, grammar, fluency, receptive and productive skills, or vital language skills for study or work.

In a survey of ELTons winners and finalists from the past decade, 88 per cent reported increased visibility for their work and brands through the Awards. More than half used the Awards to generate new business and to expand their networks.

Mark Robson, Director of English and Exams at the British Council, said:

“As the ELTons moves into its 19th year of celebrating innovation in English language teaching and learning, we are delighted to give special recognition to those finalists which excel in the realms of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and environmental sustainability. These are challenging times for the global English language teaching industry, and we hope to continue to build connections, understanding and trust by championing the products that best enable us to do that.”

Basirat Razaq-Shuaib, ELTons 2020 finalist and winner of the ELTons’ Judges Commendation for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), said:

“Winning the British Council ELTons Judges’ Commendation for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in 2020 was an honour. I was able to connect with new people and increase our brand visibility. Applying for the Awards is an opportunity not to be missed.”

Application packs can be downloaded here. The deadline for applications is 21st March 2021. Finalists will be invited to take part in the ELTons 2021 Awards Ceremony in October.

For inspiration from the ELTons Awards 2020, hopeful applicants can watch a recording of the ceremony, view the list of winners in each category, and get hints and tips from all the finalists



Notes to Editor

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For more information, please contact: Vicci Nelmes, Media Relations Officer: +44 (0)7933 386075;

To apply, please visit: 

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government. 

About the ELTons 

The ELTons Awards for innovation in English language teaching are the British Council's own international awards. Now in their eighteenth year, the ELTons aim to find the latest, most original ways to learn and teach English from around the world, with awards for courses, resources for teachers and learners, digital innovations and for projects which bridge educational inequality.