Impact of Brexit: Uncertainty Remains Dominant Amongst English Language Schools in the UK

Impact of Brexit: Uncertainty Remains Dominant Amongst English Language Schools in the UK

A year ago we polled language schools about what impact, if any, they had seen from the Brexit vote. It was a couple of months after the referendum and everything very much felt still up in the air. One year on, and the feedback we have received is that English Language Schools in the UK remain mainly unsure about what impact the referendum result has actually had on course bookings.

This is not to say there has been no impact. Let us focus first on the positive: the weaker pound. Paul Clark from LTC Eastbourne explained that they:

“have benefited from the fall in the pound”.

The weaker pound has meant students could either choose to get more “bang for their buck” by buying more lessons than they would have otherwise or simply got the same quality and quantity for a lower price. Whichever option, it was good for students who were considering the UK. One school, however, notes that whilst the courses may be cheaper:

… more subtle changes may be coming long.

Indeed, today the Bank of England hinted at the prospect of higher interest rates which is seeing the pound strengthen so a lower pound cannot be relied on.

Amongst those who were unsure about the impact of Brexit, unfortunately there were not positive anecdotes. There were reports of some agents now actively looking for and promoting other destinations.

A theme which continued from last year’s survey is that schools reported that for potential clients considering them, Brexit was providing a negative perception.

It is this issue of perception versus what has actually changed, legally and financially, that is so challenging for determining the impact of Brexit. Broadly, it seems that school are finding Brexit has not helped their or the UK’s reputation with people considering the UK as a place to study. On the financial side there has been a real change thanks to a weaker pound. On the legal side, everything is exactly as it was before the referendum so as long as applicants understand this, which is not a given, then it should not impact demand much. As the details of the Brexit negotiation begin to become clearer on issues such as ease of movement between countries, then the industry will be better placed to plan for the future.

Brexit impact question chart

In total 14 schools took part in our survey. Of these 13 were based in England and one in Wales. The survey was conducted between 09 September 2017 and 13 September 2017. We would like to thank all the respondents who took part.

If you have any questions, please contact press[at] or if you are a school then please email schools[at]




Go Enrol’s Special Feature for EducationInvestor

Go Enrol’s Special Feature for EducationInvestor

Stephen Parkes, CEO of Go Enrol, has written a column for this month’s EducationInvestor  Global magazine.  This is an industry leading magazine which provides insights for those working in the education sector.

The prime focus of the column is Go Enrol’s insight into what is happening in the English Language Training sector and the trends we have been seeing. This is based largely on the Annual Survey which we conducted for the the third time at the end of 2016 and start of 2017. Mr. Parkes also explores what is happening with UK university admissions and discusses how closely we should correlate those trends with the ELT sector.

You can read the full article online (subscription needed)




Third Annual English Language School Survey

Go Enrol

Today we realised our third Annual English Language School Survey.

One of the benefits of running this survey at the same time each year with the same questions, is that we can begin to compare years and try to spot trends. In this year’s Executive Summary we’ve put in a few comparisons – including one showing that despite the doom and gloom around BREXIT, UK schools are actually more optimistic about 2017 than they were about 2016.


Again, agents remain the source of students which school rely on most and find to be most effective. There are increasing numbers though who are seeing the power and usefulness of websites and online agents.

In 2015, the biggest challenges were most commonly related to marketing issues. These type of issues continued to prevalent in 2016 for schools from all of the countries. Issues ranged from feeling that they weren’t reaching as many countries as they wanted, to making sure that their nationality mix was right, to simply getting enough students through the doors.

If you would like a full copy of the Executive Summary, it costs just GBP10. Payment can be done using the Paypal button on our Go Enrol’s Partners website.

BREXIT’s Impact on the UK’s Language Schools

BREXIT’s Impact on the UK’s Language Schools

During the week of 22nd August 2016, Go Enrol sent out a poll to language schools in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Our goal was to get direct feedback from schools on whether they were noticing any impact on bookings since the referendum on the UK leaving the EU.

We asked the question:

What impact do you think BREXIT has had on your school’s course bookings?

The response options were:

  • Very Positive – we have seen a lot more bookings due to the vote
  • Positive – we have seen some improvement in booking numbers due to the vote
  • Unsure – bookings are up/down/the same, but I can’t say if BREXIT played a role
  • No Impact – booking levels are as we expected
  • Negative – we have seen bookings go down due to the vote
  • Very Negative – we have seen bookings drop substantially due to the vote

In total 16 schools replied. Ten schools from England, three from Ireland, two from Scotland and one from Wales.

Impact of BREXIT

No school in England said the result had been positive for them and a few were prepared to say it had been negative. In contrast, some schools in Scotland and Wales reported that bookings had improved, with none of them saying it had been negative.

From our sample, it was clear that the impact, if any, BREXIT is going to have directly is yet to be fully understood. Ian Mucklejohn from Vacational Studies expressed that:

None of our students can understand why the vote went this way.

In the immediate week after the vote, one school has told us that bookings were very negatively impacted, but that the weaker pound has helped bring bookings back to expected levels. The impact of the pound was one noted by other schools such as inlingua Edinburgh which told us:

We had an increase due to the depreciation of the pound.

Paul Clark from LTC Eastbourne also reported that the weaker pound was positive. He did, however, balance this by explaining that the “perception of xenophobia” and “fear of need for visas” are leading agents to more seriously consider alternative locations such as Ireland and Malta. These are long term issues and as Paul said:

[it’s] too soon to say what the effect has been.

As for the schools from Ireland who took part in the poll. They all reported that either they were unsure if BREXIT had had any impact or that it had not had an impact.

Stephen Parkes, CEO of Go Enrol, said:

What this snapshot shows is that BREXIT has not perhaps had the immediately devastating impact some had expected. The short-term benefits have been mixed, with a weaker pound being a key factor in helping some schools see a boost in bookings. Voting to Leave has, however, created uncertainty for schools and students around issues such as visas.

Until the government and the EU make clear what the future policies will be, it is up to everybody in the sector to support and help educate prospective students about what the current situation is.

If you have any questions about the poll or want to get in touch with Go Enrol, please use the contact form below.


Congratulations to Kings Education

Congratulations to Kings Education

Congratulations are due to Kings Education for being awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. They have been awarded this prestigious award for their leading role in education and developing schools in the UK and USA. Go Enrol is proud to support them by bringing their courses to the attention of students all over the world.

You can find out more about the Queen’s Award for Enterprise here.

To find Kings Education’s language courses and book a course, you can visit Go Enrol.

The UK’s EU Referendum: What Are Language Schools Thinking?

The UK’s EU Referendum: What Are Language Schools Thinking?

During this week, Go Enrol conducted a straw poll of English language schools in the UK. We asked Directors, Marketing Managers and other senior staff, how they were thinking of voting in the upcoming EU referendum.

The overwhelming response was that people working at language schools wanted the UK to stay in. In fact nine out of ten said they wanted to vote to stay in the EU.

A few of those who took part shared their reasons for wanting to stay. These reasons included concerns that voting to leave would be perceived as “We don’t like foreigners”. Other reasons cited were that having student tourists was key to survival and that valued staff members are from other EU countries and a vote to leave creates uncertainty about their employment.

However, with an industry with thousands of individuals working hard to improve student opportunities and create livelihoods for their communities, our poll’s sample size is too small to be representative of the whole industry. It gives a small taste of sentiment at this time.

Image credit: Wikipedia