British Council English

We provide support to governments wishing to transform the teaching and learning of English in their education systems and institutions. We have international experience in project design and management. We have a range of products and resources for learners and teachers, using the latest technologies. We champion research and innovation. We deliver high quality English language teaching and internationally recognised examinations.

Policy makers can find information on effective and sustainable international development solutions on the British Council website.

Who we are

The British Council is the UK's official international cultural relations organisation. Our aim is to nurture trust and understanding between nations and cultures, and to build strong links between other countries and Britain. We have been recognised as a world leader in English teaching since our creation in 1934. Our work in English gives people – both in Britain and in the hundred-plus countries in which we work – opportunities to learn, share and connect with others worldwide.

What we do

English teaching projects – what we offer:

The British Council has an unrivalled record in the provision of support to governments wishing to improve the teaching and learning of English in their systems and institutions. We have a wealth of experience of project design and management, and can make available a range of innovative courses and resources. Our approach is to work closely with our clients, always respecting local contexts and needs. We can help share your project successes internationally, and give your teachers and managers the chance to be part of a global network.

A searchable database with brief details of some of our partnership projects from around the world can be found on our EnglishAgenda track record pages.

  • Curriculum reform

We can help you ensure your curriculum reflects international best practice. For example, does it cover a balance of language and skills, is it age-appropriate, does it represent a logical learning sequence and tie in with textbooks - and is it right for your particular context?

  • Teacher training

For both pre-service and in-service training, we can support those who develop and train your teachers. We can work with you to review your training curricula, systems and structures, for both new and practising teachers, including school practice and mentoring.

  • Tests and examinations

We can help you ensure your examinations and tests of English are valid, reflect the latest ideas in the field and have a positive influence on teaching and learning.

  • English at primary level

Many countries are introducing English at primary level. We can draw on international experiences, to help ensure your primary English project is a success. We have excellent resources for your primary learners and their teachers.

  • Textbooks, classroom resources and technologies

We can provide advice on textbooks and materials, linking you with the best British products, and helping you to build expertise in your country in this important area. We can train your teachers to use the latest classroom technologies effectively.

  • Teachers’ use of English in the classroom

A teacher’s confidence in using English is very important. We have courses that will build that confidence, as well as a teacher’s ability to engage with their students.

  • Research

We commission and carry out cutting-edge research in English language and learning. Publications include English Next, a study of the importance of English for the future and changing trends in language learning; English Next India; the Directory of UK ELT Research; as well as a range of British Council documents and reports on ELT themes. Find out more in our Research and publications section.

Support for teachers of English: resources and networks

  • TeachingEnglish website and resources

We offer free online resources to teachers of English around the world. Each month, over 300,000 lesson plans or classroom resources are downloaded for use in classrooms. Teachers can access teaching tips, articles and information about professional development, conferences and qualifications. They can also join professional discussion groups. Visit the TeachingEnglish website.

ELTeCs English Language Teaching Contacts (ELTeCs) is a global information sharing and teacher development network. It enables professionals to make new contacts, share information, create partnerships and collaborate on projects, linking over
18,000 teachers, trainers and academics. It provides a regular e-newsletter, with items about training, resources, events and opportunities worldwide. Visit our ELTeCs pages.

  • Teacher training and development

We offer a wide range of teacher training and teacher development courses. Some are delivered face-to-face, some online using Moodle, and some are blended. Many of the teacher development courses and resources are provided free. See our Online training portal.

  • Teacher associations

We work with teacher associations around the world to provide support and share best practice. We can advise on setting up new associations. We partner the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL), enabling a global audience to participate in their annual conference through the IATEFL online website.

  • Hornby programme

Together with the Hornby Trust, we run teacher training workshops around the world each year, and administer a small number of scholarships for teachers from developing countries to study for master’s degrees in the UK. Workshop and scholarship places are advertised by local British Council offices. There are occasional opportunities for teachers’ projects, often led by Hornby alumni.

Support for learners of English

  • LearnEnglish websites

Our websites offer free materials for over 20 million adults, business professionals, parents and children annually. The sites include Web 2.0 features such as user comments, discussion forums, content rating and user polls, as well as media-rich materials including podcasts, games and video. Some language versions are available, such as Arabic, Russian and Chinese. You can find out more about each site below:

LearnEnglish radio

A new radio product for learners comprising 25, five-minute programmes, presented in an entertaining style, on topics which integrate social themes with language learning. It is aimed at beginner/elementary level learners.

  • LearnEnglish newspapers

These high quality articles and activities are organised as single-page inserts for national and regional newspapers and magazines. We have a variety of topics, which are read by millions of people every year.

  • LearnEnglish pathways

A web-based, self-access English language improvement course for learners who do not have access to quality face-to-face teaching.

  • LearnEnglish for work

Materials to support learners in their specific vocational/professional area. The first is 'English for IT’: a fifty-hour self-study course aimed at adult/young adult learners
of English at an elementary or low intermediate level. The course features common IT-based tasks from real-life, work-place situations.

  • Premier Skills

A leadership and English language skills programme for young people around a football theme, developed in partnership with the English Premier League. Visit the Premier Skills website for more details.

  • LearnEnglish mobile

A mix of our existing web content alongside new applications featuring podcasts, grammar and vocabulary games, and integrated learning tools suitable for lo-tech, mid-tech and hi-tech mobile devices:

  • Social networking

We are creating new ways to support our web products and engage with young audiences using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs, as well as creating channels for audio/video learning materials on YouTube and iTunes.

Teaching and exams

  • English language teaching centres

We employ over 2,000 teachers in 80 centres worldwide and provide lessons for 360,000 learners each year. We provide courses for teachers and English language improvement classes for adult professionals and young learners.

  • The IELTS test

The British Council is a co-owner of the globally recognised International English Language Testing System (IELTS). IELTS assesses reading, writing, listening and speaking skills for people intending to study or work in English-speaking countries. The test is offered in over 120 countries, recognised by over 6,000 organisations, and taken by over one million people per year. Find out more on our Take ELTS website.

  • Accreditation and awards

Accreditation UK

Run in partnership with English UK, this scheme provides quality assurance for the UK ELT sector. Accreditation gives students guaranteed choice and quality of courses and teaching with over 500 institutions currently accredited in the UK. Find out more on our Accreditation UK pages.

The ELTon awards

These are awarded by the British Council to the creators of outstanding new and innovative language learning resources for learners and teachers of English. Details of the awards can be found in our ELTons section.

Download our English Policy Makers Brochure.

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