Thursday 21 September 2017


The British Council’s first English Centre in China marks a new commercial relationship and  is “a new milestone in country relations” according to the organisation’s country director.

The first classes at the English Centre in Nanjing will begin on October 20, teaching the British Council’s ‘myClass’ English programme for adult learners. 

Carma Elliot CMG OBE, the British Council’s country director in China, said: 

“The launch of an English centre in Nanjing marks not only the beginning of a new chapter in the British Council’s long history of engagement with Jiangsu province, but also a new milestone in the bilateral relationship between the UK and China. 

“By deepening mutual trust and understanding through a greater appreciation of our respective languages, the teaching centre will contribute to bringing our countries closer together, while also opening new doors for individuals in terms of their education, their careers, and the opportunities available to them.”  

The British Council was established in China in 1943 by the renowned sinologist Joseph Needham and re-opened as the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in 1979. 

It operates today as the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy and Consulates-General in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Wuhan. The launch of its teaching centre creates a formal base in Jiangsu province, enabling it to further develop the strong ties between the province and the UK. 

The British Council has a long history of engagement in the English sector in China and is a respected partner for the delivery of English educational services. 

Every year it engages with more than 80m English language learners through self-access learning tools, along with projects working with government, education institutions and companies directly to raise English standards.

Over the last two years in China the British Council has worked with 13 education bureaux to support the professional development of over 9000 teachers and teacher trainers. 

It is working with 12 universities to support the development of English and to help them achieve their targets in this area.

It also provide a range of free resources through our websites, mobile apps, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and in print and broadcast. In 2016 over 88 million primary, secondary, and university students, English teachers and professionals used these resources. 

The British Council is also the co-owner of IELTS working in partnership with NEEA in mainland China.

Through the launch of its first English Centre in China, the British Council brings its teaching expertise to the consumer market. The centre also provides Chinese English learners with a new way to gain access to British culture and enhance opportunities for young Chinese professionals to engage with the UK. 

Nanjing is a significant city in East China where the British Council has already built significant connections through projects such as English Teaching Methodology Courses, UK-China Knowledge Economy Education Partnership (KEEP), Workshops for Researchers, and Musicians in Residence. The British Council has also set up two IELTS test centres in Nanjing and opened the first ‘Aptis’ English-language competency test operation centre in the region of Jiangsu. 

Notes to Editor

myClass’ course

The British Council’s ‘myClass’ is a flexible English course which allows adults to be in control of their learning. It focuses on authentic everyday English with real-life topics and practical language tasks, which help strengthen English communication skills for workplace or everyday communication. It will provide language skills for one to enter into international study and seek further employment opportunities. Based on the learners’ schedule and preferences, learners can choose the lesson day, time, location, teacher, and topics that best suit their needs.

Courses are taught entirely face-to-face by the British Council’s professional teachers with the aim of activating the language one already has, and building upon it by learning new language. Throughout the learning journey with myClass, students take an active role in every lesson and engage in practical real-life tasks in English. Learners will be able to use what they have learnt and communicate effectively so as to reach their goals with confidence. In addition, myClass students can join a series of social activities through myClub, a free active social programme that gives students extra opportunities to practise English outside of the classroom environment.  A wide range of language-based, cultural and social events are held each month for students to practise their English in a friendly, inclusive, and stimulating environment, and to meet new friends and interact with British Council teachers.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.