UK Education Guide Newsletter
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Welcome to our January 2020 Newsletter!   


UK Education Guide in the News


Time for a rethink about IELTS level needed to study for a degree in the UK?

To apply for a Tier 4 general student Visa, for degree study, a non-EU student needs a minimum IELTS 5.5 score- but if that enough? It is arguably interesting that it isn’t ‘enough’ for selective boarding schools that often ask for IELTS 6.5 for pupils as young as 13, so they are suitably set up to deal with the rigours of GCSEs in Year 10.

So we asked someone who would know, Fiona Wattam has been teaching EFL for 28 years, working abroad with the British Council (France, Japan, Taiwan, Poland and Sri Lanka) and currently working part-time at Essex University, teaching Academic Skills and pre-sessional courses. She also runs Her thoughts are pretty clear.


School news


Brooke House opens 8 new science labs 2 new Labs each for Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Computing have been opened. The state-of-the-art facilities include the latest generation interactive boards for teaching and saving in VLE format, along with the highest specifications of science teaching facilities. The college specialises in offering A Levels with the additional CPAC award for practical science, and these new facilities will enhance this provision. The computing facilities will support the existing programme of IT and Computer Studies, with the ability of the college to add web design and coding to its co-curricular provision within the college’s University Foundation Programme.


Ellesmere College Director of swimming signed up to support team GB at Tokyo Olympics. The director of swimming at Ellesmere College is relishing the opportunity of helping Team GB to Olympic success in Tokyo next summer. Alan Bircher is just one of eight coaches nominated by the British Olympic Association to accompany the Team GB swimming squad to Japan. The former World and European silver medalist swam for Team GB from 1997 to 2008 racking up 10 British Championships and two European Cup titles. More recently he has coached World, European and Commonwealth medalists along with multiple national champions and medalists.


Kingsley school opens new ‘Earth Centre’ Kingsley School, Devon is breaking new ground launching a global first in response to the climate change crisis, by creating an Earth Centre in the school grounds. The Bideford based school plans include; turning their rugby pitch into a garden, growing vegetables and storing carbon by using no-dig techniques, based on the latest ecological understanding of soil biology, capable of soaking 8 tons of carbon dioxide out of the air and into the soil every year.


Millfield launches recycled sports brand the new brand of student and staff sports kit is made from recycled fabrics that reuse plastics retrieved from the ocean. The top sports school, believed to be the first in the country to champion recycled fabrics in this way, aspires for the entire range of sports kit across its Pre-Prep, Prep and Senior School, to be 100% recyclable over the next few years, with at least 65% made from recycled fabrics at launch.


New Foundation Programme at Taunton School Taunton School International is really excited to be offering a Foundation pathway to University for International students.  September 2019 saw its first set of students enrol onto its Pre-Foundation Year programme in which students will take Business Studies A Level in just one year, alongside acquiring two GCSEs in English and Mathematics.  September 2020 sees the start of its brand new NCUK International Foundation Year, with international students taking four modules of Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics and EAP.  Upon successful completion of the IFY, students have a guaranteed place at one of 16 universities in the UK.


The Leys School named East Anglia Independent Secondary School of the Year 2019 in the Sunday Times Parent Power guide, thanks to its “stellar” academic year.


International Education Round-up


Soft skills - so important, but how to measure them?

Soft skills will help to continue to define human contributions to the economy and we need to find better ways to measure and accredit them...Competency Based Education (CBE) is well known in the US, but barely known in the UK. Time to take a look?

A leading proponent of CBE in the US is Western Governors University, with 114,000 students-this article starts to explain how they go about developing a CBE course that will accredit both hard and soft skills competencies...


China an important and growing destination for African students

The African continent is highlighted by many as a source of future international student growth in the U.S, however China is already established as a major study destination for African students with more than 60,000 now studying there. This is a 20-fold increase from 13 years ago, making China the second most popular destination for students from the continent studying abroad, after France, which hosts more than 95,000.


A focus on medicine and the affordability of courses in China are key factors in the student growth.


50% increase in Hong Kong residents taking IELTS tests

In the month of September 2019, there was a 50% increase in test takers of all ages compared with September 2018,” Aideen McLaughlin of the British Council in Hong Kong revealed. It was also announced that economic data from November showed that Hong Kong is now in recession. Some agents have also reported a doubling of applications to study abroad since the protests started in the region.


Johnson reaffirms commitment to Erasmus and Horizon 2020 projects

Boris Johnson has insisted that there is “no threat” to the UK’s involvement in the European Union’s Erasmus+ student mobility programme after Brexit and that the nation will “continue to participate”.

Opposition parties had been trying to get a separate agreement for the UK's continued involvement in the Erasmus and Horizon 2020 research project prior to the UK leaving the EU at the end of 2020.

Approximately 17,000 British students are studing aboard as part of the Eramus programme this year. Horizon 2020, like the 7 previous R&D Framework Programmes, is a vital source of income for research organisations across Europe. Put simply, this funds thousands of research collaborations and adds significantly to knowledge and discovery, and to Europe’s capacity to innovate.


International Events


BMI Discounted international events for UK Education Guide member schools.

Vietnam The Vietnam Global Boarding & High School Fair is a dedicated K-12 recruitment event, officially supported by the Vietnamese Ministry of Education & Training (MOET).The fair takes place over a weekend in Ho Chi Minh City & Hanoi.

Vietnam Global Boarding & High School Fairs, March 2020:

Saturday March 14th: Ho Chi Minh City
Sunday March 15th: Hanoi

Cost: $4,500 USD

If schools add the code "UK Education Guide" at checkout they will receive 10% discount off the fees above.


China Tier 2 City tour Visiting 3 bilingual high schools in Wuhan & Xian in May

This event has been postponed due to the outbreak of pneumonia in one of the two venue cities, Wuhan: . We will provide more info when it becomes available, but as we have promoted this event previously, we wanted to give an update.


Pat & the whole UKEducationGuide team

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