Young adult female student on her laptop

Before the global lockdown, the fifth British Council Schools Now! Conference took place in Cairo, Egypt from 4 -5 March. The conference theme was: Developing global learners: Preparing young people for life in school and beyond. Over 300 leaders from Partner Schools across 19 countries participated in the conference. A further 21,000 people joined through livestreamed sessions. Read more about the conference.

Partner School leaders, teachers, parents and students around the globe have had to adapt and innovate during these challenging times. Our teams have been working with them and the school exam boards to provide support and guidance to allow activities to continue. Here are some of examples of our recent work:

  • Webinars to help teachers delivering lessons online, available to view on demand on the Partner Schools Global Network (PSGN) Online Support Platform.
  • Counsellor training suite - a practical, professional 3 level training programme for international education counsellors.
  • Digital Library launched for Partner Schools in South Asia - unlocking the best of the UK’s digital resources including e-books, newspapers, magazines, documentaries, comics and movies.
  • E-safety brochures to support the whole school community in keeping students safe in the online world.

Success stories:

Read some stories from across the British Council Global Network below.


Businesses across the globe have been hit hard by Covid-19 and exams is no exception. Colleagues across the region have started working from home and with schools closed, it is time to consider innovative ways of engaging with our Partner Schools.

The British Council Exams team in East and West Africa decided to adopt a proactive approach and acted as a point of contact for advice and support throughout lockdown for Partner Schools.

We are pleased to report that less than 1% of school candidates requested a refund for school exams this summer. Instead, 60% of entries opted for the graded assessment route and 40% decided to transfer to the November 2020 session.

One of the ways of engaging our Partner Schools during this challenging period was through webinars. By the end of April 2020, the team had held a series of webinars attended by 70% of our Partner Schools across four countries. The webinar series is ongoing as we continue to act as a source of support and advice for our Partner Schools during these challenging times and beyond.


In the Gulf and specifically in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain, over 24,000 school exams were scheduled to be delivered to around 6,000 school candidates in June 2020 series.

As all three countries went into lockdown, it was clear that the British Council exams team would have to work differently to support and guide Partner Schools throughout this difficult time.

Connecting schools virtually: We started collaborating with school board representatives and scheduled 27 joint virtual meetings with schools’ management to address their concerns. These virtual meetings helped answer a lot of questions from various school exam officers and principals around awarding assessed grades to students. Within a two-month period the teams managed to convert over 75% of the school entries into graded ones.