Go Enrol have just completed their second annual survey of English language schools, and shared the highlights with us. They surveyed 46 school directors, principals and marketing managers in schools around the world. The results paint a mixed picture of the industry, with less than half of the schools reporting that they are optimistic about their prospects for the coming year.
Go Enrol’s main conclusions are that the industry is highly fragmented, which makes it hard for a school to stand out from the crowd; schools are still highly reliant on agents and personal recommendations; but they are gradually placing more importance on their websites as a way to attract students.
A change from last year is the perception that fewer students are going to UK language schools in order to have holiday while also learning some English, although over a quarter still cite ‘holiday’ as a motivation. This change chimes with the general view among ELT publishers that people are learning English more and more for pragmatic and entirely career-centric reasons. Unsurprisingly, almost all respondents cited ‘improving employablity’ as a motivator for students.
A school’s brand was seen as key factor affecting students’ decisions about where to study by over half of the respondents, which is obviously a major challenge for smaller independent schools and increases the pressure on them to provide a good enough experience for students that they a) return and b) recommend the school to others.
Finally, schools were asked how optimistic they are that their school’s business will grow in the coming year:
The number reporting that that they are either ‘optimistic’ or ‘extremely optimistic’ has fallen from 69% last year to 48% this year. 15% are ‘pessimistic’, compared with 9% last year.
Photo from https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/