Mat Wright

In 2021, industry partners in the UK education sector commissioned specialist education agency Edified to undertake a piece of research to clarify the role of education agents who work with UK education institutions and recommend ways in which this working relationship could be improved.

The research, including input from 500 students, 300 education agent managers and 100 staff from UK HEIs, highlighted that in general the industry is working very well, there is a wealth of good practice from both institutions and agencies, and the work of education agents is highly valued by students and institutions.

Based on the extensive feedback from agents, students and institutions, a number of recommendations were made on how to further enhance the important role played by education agents and counsellors.

The three priority recommendations were:

  • Develop a national code of ethical practice for UK education agents
  • Develop a good practice guide for providers using education agents
  • Refresh and relaunch the British Council Agent and Counsellor Training Suite

You can read the full report here

Jointly led by the British Council, BUILA, UKCISA and UUKI, implementing these recommendations will benefit the entire sector by

  • sharing and elevating the existing best practice
  • recognising agents and institutions for their good practice
  • developing a more collaborative relationship between agents and institutions
  • making the agent training materials more relevant, affordable and accessible


Some of the direct advantages to institutions include:

  • More, better trained education agents and counsellors
  • Agents are committed to an expected level of ethical practice
  • Compliance to the National Code of Ethical Practice can be embedded in agent contracts
  • Shared good practice can lead to streamlined operations and resource savings
  • Joint feedback from agents and institutions creates shared ownership and mutual understanding of challenges and opportunities
  • Direct feedback from students put the student experience at the heart of the agent relationship
  • The framework has key government backing from the Department of Education and the Home Office

Use the links below to find out more about the three priority recommendations from the Quality Assurance Framework

See also