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Languages: Classroom Assistants

Question for Department for Education

UIN 3693, tabled on 17 May 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the number of language assistants from the EU in UK schools.

Answered on

24 May 2022

The department continues to welcome talented individuals to teach, or train to teach, in the UK, including through the Language Assistants Programme. UK schools can continue to benefit from the presence of a language assistant by applying through the official programme, managed by the British Council on behalf of the Department for Education and devolved administrations.

This year, requests to host modern language assistants (MLAs) in the UK have increased by 29%, from 506 to 653. These assistants will be supporting the teaching of languages across the UK during the 2022/23 academic year. The MLAs will come from 14 partner destinations worldwide, six of which are EU member states.

The language assistants programme is offering schools in the UK the option to apply for shorter posts of under six months. This is encouraging for both assistants and hosts, since MLAs applying to stay in the UK for less than six months do not have to pay for the health surcharge as part of the visa application, reducing the overall cost of hosting an MLA. This makes the programme more affordable and appealing for UK schools.

The British Council also runs targeted marketing campaigns, including case studies and information sessions, across educational institutions of all levels to show the wide-ranging benefits of hosting language assistants.