Anglolang welcomes Secretary of State for Education
On Tuesday 28th August we were pleased to welcome the Secretary of State for Education, the Rt. Hon Damian Hinds MP, here to Anglolang Academy of English. In our previous discussions with his office we had highlighted a few points that I am sure are pertinent to a lot of independent language schools, and stated: “We have been successfully running EU funded teacher training programmes for over 14 years, most recently the Erasmus Plus KA1 programme. This enables our school to operate year-round in a highly seasonal marketplace, thus providing employment and income to staff and accommodation providers in Scarborough, not to mention the extra spending in the local economy and leisure venues. Additionally, the resulting intercultural awareness and understanding has benefitted local people and Europeans alike and enabled us to cooperate and network together for our mutual benefit.”
During the few hours that he spent with us, the management team here had a fairly informal meeting with him where we emphasised further the concerns we have over the future of programmes such as Erasmus+ and the affect Brexit will have on these. We also tried to put across, how important it was to deliver excellence in our programmes and to have British Council accreditation, and recognition from other accreditation bodies such as Quality English. The Rt. Hon Damian Hinds was keen to emphasise that the UK is leaving the EU, not Europe and that mobility of students both to and from the UK and cultural and economic exchange with our close neighbours is at the heart of what he hopes to achieve. He said that he believes that he sees the UK as a particularly attractive destination for foreign language learners and that, due to the low numbers of native English speaking teachers we have in the state sector, it was essential to ensure that mobility arrangements are in place post 2020, until when Erasmus funded programmes have been guaranteed.
After this productive meeting we gave him a tour of a school building and cinema and showed him a few of our classrooms in action. He then made a more extended visit to one of our teacher training classes, where some of our current Erasmus-funded teachers were learning and eager to ask him questions and raise some of their concerns about a post Brexit UK as both a study and work destination. After this all the students were on break and we mingled in the orangery. This was a chance for some of our other students, such as businessmen and the Omani Royal Air Force and Navy to communicate their aspirations. Here the Secretary of State for Education also spoke to a few host families we had been asked to invite to hear about their experiences, again in quite an informal round-table setting. We had local media presence and involvement and they also interviewed a few students before the staff, hosts and students gathered for some photos outside. We are optimistic that the government will seek to continue Erasmus Plus teacher training programmes post 2020.