Group work
Language Assistants - What is involved

The British Council offers support and advice prior to the Language Assistant's arrival and throughout their period of appointment. 

An experienced team is available to answer your questions and ensure that your experience as a host school goes smoothly. The information below tells you everything you need to know to help you get started.

Administrative procedures

  • Once you have been allocated a Language Assistant one school needs to be the ‘host school’ for the assistant (if they are to be shared with other schools). The host school co-ordinates the timetable and arrival arrangements with partner schools.
  • You will need to write an offer of appointment and draw up a contract. The British Council provides templates for these.
  • You must also appoint a mentor teacher, the Language Assistant’s main contact both prior to arrival and during their assistantship. He/she is responsible for introducing the Language Assistant to the school community and providing advice and support throughout their period of appointment.

Our online guidance booklet, available next year, supports schools in preparation for hosting Language Assistants.

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 Spanish-speaking Language Assistant from Latin America, a French-speaking assistant from Quebec or a Language Assistant from China or Russia, 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 the Language Assistant to settle in to daily life and work.