The Pie News: UK ELT centres lose estimated £590m revenue in 2020
The second edition of the the English UK Covid-19 impact report, was prepared by Bonard, and explores how the pandemic has affected 350 accredited centres represented by the association. It found that during 2020, student numbers fell by 79% and student weeks fell by 65% compared with 2019. These figures are worse, and the member outlook for recovery in 2021 less positive, than the previous survey in summer 2020.
“This latest report lays bare the devastation wrought by Covid-19 on a thriving industry full of otherwise viable businesses, and to staff who have been so badly affected,” said Jodie Gray, English UK’s chief executive. “Most of these businesses are on their knees, waiting for a change in travel restrictions which would allow students to return in significant numbers.”
The results of the report are based on an online survey distributed among English UK member centres. A total of 183 centres provided their data. Participating centres represented 50% of all students and 52% of all student weeks spent at English UK member centres in 2019.
Based on this market share, further assumptions and generalisations were made to extrapolate the findings over the entire English UK member base. Data collection took place in February 2021.
The report explored the pandemic’s impact on student mobility – 2019 saw a 1% increase in the number of language students travelling to the UK to learn English – the third consecutive increase since 2017. However, in 2020, the 183 participating member centres catered to 54,196 students, representing a 79% decrease in student numbers compared to 2019.
The report noted that the jobs market has been heavily affected by the pandemic. Surveyed centres cumulatively reported 8,232 employees and so overall it is estimated that the UK ELT sector directly supports more than 12,000 jobs. Of these 91% were impacted by the pandemic. By the end of 2020 54% of staff had been released and an additional 18% are currently benefiting from the furlough scheme, according to the report.