Monday 29 July 2013

Dr Jo Beall, the British Council’s Director of Education and Society, said “The most recent statistics show that the UK attracts more new higher education students than any other country in the world. The British Council fully supports the government’s policies to further internationalise our education sector, and we look forward to playing a comprehensive role in the delivery of those ambitions around the world. We have promoted the UK’s world class education system for almost eighty years, constantly adapting to the needs of industrious students and forward looking institutions. I am delighted to announce today our new Education UK website, that we believe will provide the UK’s universities, schools and colleges with the best online resource possible for promoting our education sectors and maintaining the UK’s overall position as the second most popular education destination in the world. 

“International students provide enormous academic, cultural and economic benefits to our places of learning and our wider communities, and we are pleased that the Government’s International Education Strategy also explicitly recognises the soft-power value that our world class education system brings to the UK, as demonstrated in our Trust Pays research last year. Competition for ambitious international students will grow, so we look forward to working closely with UKTI and BIS as well as organisations such as Universities UK’s UK Higher Education International Unit and the Association of Colleges in expanding scholarship agreements, research partnerships, and to support UK institutions in their Transnational Education [TNE] provision in key markets for the UK.

“It is also right that the UK continues to push for more of our own students to have international study experiences. This year the British Council has launched a new online portal ‘Study Work Create’ promoting tens of thousands of opportunities for young people from the UK to go overseas, while our Generation UK campaign provides scholarships and internships in China. 

Education is the second biggest sector in the world, and the UK’s education exports were estimated to be worth £17.5bn to the UK in 2011. We are committed to maintaining and growing the UK’s reputation as the destination and partner of choice for motivated students, researchers and institutions across the globe.”

Dr Jo Beall will be attending the launch of the Government’s International Education Strategy and is available for interview.

Notes to Editor

For interviews with Dr Jo Beall, or more information, please contact Tim Sowula, Snr Press Officer, or 0207 389 4871

Numbers of new students enrolling at Higher Education institutions in the UK, USA and Australia:

UK – 2011-12, first year students (including visiting and exchange students)
Source: HESA (2013)
Postgraduate students: 134,035
Undergraduate students: 136,265
Total: 270,295

Or excluding visiting and exchange students:
Postgraduate students: 132,130
Undergraduate students: 106,250
Total: 238,380

USA, New international student enrolment, 2011-12
Source: IIE Open Doors (2012)
Postgraduate students: 92,211
Undergraduate students: 90,903
Other: 45,353
Total: 228,467

Australia, Commencing students in HE, Dec 2012
Source: AEI (2013)
Total: 89,326

A brief summary of the British Council’s work in key areas of exporting the UK’s education sector:

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. As part of this, we have been promoting the UK’s education sector since we were founded in 1934. Today we work in 110 countries. A quarter of our funding comes from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the rest of our income comes from paid-for services such as teaching English.

Promoting the UK as a destination to students and researchers

The British Council’s Services for International Education Marketing is a global programme to support UK education institutions in their international work. Services for International Education Marketing operates in 41 countries, providing services for international student recruitment, market intelligence and enabling the development of working relationships with institutions in countries. 

The GREAT Britain campaign is the Government’s most ambitious international marketing campaign ever and showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer in order to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK.

The GREAT Britain campaign will be the overarching vehicle to promote UK education overseas.

To enable this to happen, a new campaign pillar, specifically for this task 'Education is GREAT Britain' has been created.

The British Council will review, refresh and expand the Education UK international student recruitment service to represent boarding schools, English language schools, colleges and universities as well as the UK transnational education market for tertiary education.

The EducationUK student recruitment service has been successfully delivered by the British Council since 1999 and continues to increase the number of enquiries to UK institutions. The website reached a record 2m unique visitors in June 2013. The annual series of Education UK recruitment fairs, held in over 40 international locations, provides UK institutions an unrivalled opportunity to meet prospective students in their home countries. A new version of the website will be launched today.

In 2013/2014 the British Council is focusing on the agreed set of target markets for GREAT (China and Hong Kong, India, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Korea, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia and Poland and Emerging Europe). With a marketing budget of £2.3m it will focus exclusively on helping to stimulate growth in the numbers attracted to study in the UK from those target markets. The projects that have been developed in these target markets complement the British Council’s existing education promotion activity and consist of a range of face to face and digital approaches. They involve close collaboration with GREAT partners, particularly UK Visas and Immigration, UKTI and Visit Britain.

As an agency for mobility programmes

Since 2006/7 the British Council has supported over 90,000 UK students through the Erasmus programme and distributed funds of over €447,000,000 through the Erasmus, Comenius and Youth in Action programmes. Since 2007, through the Comenius/eTwinning programmes, over 6,000 international school partnerships have been formed enhancing teaching and learning and developing skills for over 100,000 teachers and around two million pupils in the UK.

In Transnational Education

The British Council understands transnational education, from the UK perspective and from the host country perspective - we have been working with TNE providers for over 75 years and supporting UK TNE is a core offer of our Services for International Education Marketing.

The number of students currently undertaking UK HE qualifications outside the UK is higher than the number of international students in the UK. 570,000 students are studying UK qualifications outside the UK meaning that each year over 1million students experience UK HE.

Over recent years British Council has analysed the environment for TNE in host countries, and surveyed the experience and motivations of TNE students and graduates to assess and advise on opportunities for collaboration between UK institutions and partners outside the UK, and to broaden the possibilities for 100s of 1000s more students each year to experience a UK education. 

Our research has analysed the evolution of TNE, regulations and policies of TNE around the globe, and the economic, social and academic impact of TNE on host countries.

In the last year, through our services for international education marketing, British Council helped UK schools, colleges and universities to launch and promote their TNE courses to 24 UK institutions in 9 different countries.

With Agents

The British Council recognises the important role that Agents can play in supporting a student’s decision making.

The British Council’s work with Agents aims to build agent capacity to work on behalf of UK education, develop the role of [the agent] as marketing partners, and to increase the number, effectiveness and quality of agents working on behalf of UK providers.

Building Agent Capacity and Professionalism is achieved primarily through the Agent Training and Continuing Professional Development Programmes, managed, moderated and quality assured by the British Council. These are backed up by information dissemination and other activities aimed at developing the role of agents as marketing partners. British Council maintains a global agent database and makes lists of trained agents available to institutions and students.

More than 3,600 agents are registered on the agent training website, currently from 35 countries. 

Joint working with the main English speaking destination countries (MESDCs) 

The MESDCs – Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland – face the same challenges as the UK in managing reputational risks of agent use. British Council, with Australia Education International, convened a roundtable to develop and agree international standards for agents. The resulting Statement of Principles for the Ethical Recruitment of International Students by Education Agents and Consultants (the London Statement’) was jointly agreed and signed in London in July 2011.The Statement addresses the key risk factors in working with agents and sets out an agenda to manage these through a collaborative global approach by the signatory countries. The Statement is a significant step forward in managing risk for the UK globally.

With the English language

The English language is one of the UK’s greatest assets. We work with the UK English sector to provide people worldwide with greater access to the life-changing opportunities that come from learning English and from gaining internationally respected UK qualifications. 

Though a combination of free-access and paid-for services we bring benefit to teachers and learners worldwide. Through our work we aim to create openings for UK providers to overseas markets. 

We teach English face to face through our network of 82 teaching centres in 50 countries.

We work at policy level with ministries of Education worldwide to improve the quality of English teaching in schools, and to support the growing demand for English in further and higher education. For example, in India, our DFID funded project in Bihar state is training 40,000 teachers over two years and in Maharashtra State, we are managing a state government-funded project to train over 67,000 primary school teachers by 2014. 

In self access learning we continue to build on the success of our English learning websites. Through self access channels we are increasingly able to reach people who have not traditionally had access to English teaching and we can work on a much bigger scale than before. 

We work closely with EnglishUK to promote the UK as a destination for foreign students to study English. Around 600,000 foreign students come to the UK each year to learn English and last year alone foreign students studying English in the UK brought in an additional £2b for the UK economy. To further support the UK ELT sector we use our in depth knowledge of global markets to produce market reports which are used by the UK ELT sector to market their services to students overseas.

We also provide high quality seminars and workshops across the UK, that link with an overseas audience via live-streaming. In this way we ensure that the latest ideas and expertise from the UK are made visible on a global platform.

In partnership with EnglishUK, we manage Accreditation UK - the quality assurance scheme for the UK ELT sector. We currently accredit 550 organisations in the UK offering English language courses. Accreditation provides students with a guarantee of choice and quality.  

We have run an international awards programme since 2004 – the ELTons. The awards recognise and celebrate innovation in English language teaching, and they reward educational resources that help English language learners and teachers to achieve their goals.

In partnership with IATEFL, we run the IATEFL Online Project which provides interactive online coverage of their annual conference. In 2013, we reached 74,000 teachers in 180 countries. We engage face-to-face with around 2000 delegates during the conference and run 50 sessions on key issues in ELT. 


Last year we administered 3 million UK exams in over 850 towns and cities worldwide, continuing to promote the UK as a high quality assessment provider and helping people gain access to qualifications to support their career and study prospects. We generated £70 million for UK exam boards and renewed agreements with a number of them including Pearson for distribution of their Edexcel school exams. 

We also work with UK universities such as the University of London to distribute their examinations, helping them reach new markets.

We work with Cambridge Assessment and IDP Education Australia to ensure IELTS remains the world’s leading English test. Together, the IELTS partners delivered 2 million IELTS tests last year.