Support and next steps

The Language Assistants programme has been running for 110 years. Throughout the year, our team are here and available able to answer your questions and provide advice on acting as a succesful host school. 

What support will we get?

With experience and expertise on our side, the British Council offers support and advice prior to a language assistant's arrival and also during their period of appointment. From selecting the perfect candidate to handling visas, we are here to support schools throughout the process and do not charge any programme fees to take part. 

All language assistants hired through the British Council are interviewed and approved by our overseas partners. Recruiting through the British Council means schools can be safe in the knowledge that they will get year round advice and guidance. We also provide further support through free webinars and booklets for schools, as well as running a UK induction and training day for language assistants when they first arrive in the UK.

Language assistants will receive:

  • year-round welfare guidance
  • Council tax exemption if they are living on their own in the UK
  • Income tax exemption (for assistants recruited from six different countries)

Our 'Downloads' section contains booklets and powerpoints to ensure your Language Assistant succesfully integrates into school life.

Language learning resources

The British Council has a number of resources available to support language learning. Schools and assistants can access a range of our primary language resources, including our new Primary Languages Starter Pack.

Administrative procedures for hosting institutions

Once you have been allocated a Language Assistant the hosting school or local authority will need to undertake the following tasks:

  • As soon as an offer of employment has been at least verbally accepted by the assistant, you should complete the online Confirmation of Appointment 2016-17 form. This enables us to issue a Certificate of Registration to the assistant.
  • Write an offer of appointment and draw up a contract. The British Council can provide templates for these.
  • Organise monthly payments at the appropriate rate. Information on taxation for language assistants from EU countries can be found here.
  • Coordinate the timetable and arrival arrangements. If the assistant is shared with other schools, identify a host school who will be responsible for these tasks. The timetable should allow reasonable free time and one full day free each week if possible.

You should also appoint a mentor teacher, the language assistant’s main contact both prior to arrival and during their assistantship. They will be responsible for introducing the assistant to the school community and providing advice and support throughout their period of appointment.


Visas and work permits

Most Language Assistants are from EU countries and are automatically legally eligible to work in the UK.

If you host a language assistant from Latin America, Quebec or China, all you need to do is send a copy of your offer letter and confirmation that the assistant has accepted the post before the summer holidays.

We will prepare a ‘Certificate of Sponsorship’ which your assistant can use to apply for their visa. The British Council acts as sponsor for the assistant and takes responsibility for supporting them throughout the visa application process prior to arrival.



The language assistant is responsible for arranging their accommodation but you should provide guidance where possible, especially to help arrange temporary accommodation for when they first arrive. This will help them to settle into daily life and work.

Further support

Chinese Language Assistants 

An intensive pre-departure training course, organised by Hanban (Office of Chinese Language Council International), will be provided with sessions from the British Council and UK teacher training experts. The course covers sessions on the role of the Chinese Language Assistant, teaching Mandarin as a Foreign Language, the UK education system and how to adapt to a UK classroom. 

They will also be provided with a further three-day induction course on arrival in the UK. The includes sessions on lesson planning, cultural immersion and practical matters. Training, funded by HSBC, also takes place in November and March to provide continuous pastoral and professional support

Language assistants will receive an online booklet with guidance on the role of the language assistant as well as information on administrative matters, such as banking and income tax. Visa sponsorship and advice to Chinese Language Assistants will be available throughout the application process.


Advice on administrative matters and pastoral care provided by an experienced Customer Services team and online information booklet is available for schools. Support for the language assistant in the classroom and guidance on administrative matters in relation to their employment is also provided. Visa sponsorship and advice to Chinese Language Assistants and Host Schools will be available throughout the application process.

Schools can also take a look at our language resources page.