Mary began the meeting and reminded of housekeeping.
Chris welcomed our new members: Bayswater, Torquay International School, Nottingham Language Academy, Oxford International, International House London, Anglo, Celt, Celtic English Academy
Mary read Tim Cooke’s farewell message. She restated the treasurer position and applications (closing date ?)
Mary – feedback from Studyworld at which fifty members attended. YLSIG gave a presentation with four main areas appropriate for agents to look for: activities, accommodation, safeguarding and academic. Each committee member spoke for a few minutes and answered questions afterwards.
Anna – reiterated the questions from the Studyworld meeting.
Good Work Plan: In December 2018 the government set out the reforms it planned to introduce in its response to the Taylor Review about employment law. It becomes law in March 2020.
The main impact for our industry seems to be:
- Right to request a more predictable and stable contract. This can be asked for after 26 weeks of employment. Examples of what might be requested include a guaranteed minimum number of hours and certainty as to the days on which they will be asked to work.
- Break in continuous service. Presently a gap of just one week can break an individual’s continuity of service. This will become a 4 week break.
- Information and consultation arrangements. It gives employees the right to be involved in workplace discussions about an agreed list of topics such as redundancy proposals. Support will be reduced from 10% to 2% of workforce but there is a threshold of 15 employees minimum.
- Contracts – At the moment employers have 2 months to provide written particulars to their employees but this will change to become a day-one right instead. More details need to be included in contracts (instead of in the Staff Handbooks) such as maternity/paternity leave, conditions of probationary period, entitlement to any benefits.
- Holiday pay: The reference period used to calculate holiday pay will be extended from 12 to 52 weeks which is an important development for those with variable hours.
Questions from StudyWorld session were:
What training do our “tour guides” receive?
What level of qualifications do our “tour guides” have?
Different nationalities have different demands. Spanish, etc. don’t really pay attention on trips but Russian’s and Chinese want a full on professional tour.
Activities are “not a selling point in China.”
In Turkey, parents expect their kids to become “professors” within two weeks.
Word of mouth is very important in Turkey.
Parents would like to know the direct contact at the school.
Total immersion in the English language is very important.
Agents would like to know about damage deposits in advance.
Parents would like to know about rules, etc. in advance.
Parents would like to know about levels of supervision in advance.
Agents should always ask for photographs of accommodation.
o Have bad attitudes towards students.
o How are families chosen?
o Why don’t host families provide photos of rooms?
o Host families are unfriendly, especially in London.
o How do schools deal with host family problems?
o Schools should set expectations, agents/parents should ask for profiles of host families and for testimonials regarding host families.
o Schools SHOULD charge more for en suite rooms.
o Agents want to know what measures schools go to when choosing host families.
o Are parents provided with information about host families?
Welfare and safeguarding
How do you deal with chicken pox?
We ran out of time!
Why do schools not ask for or accept feedback from agents?
Issue of EUK USP. Currently, member agents have to do nothing other than pay to join. Agents want something to differentiate themselves from non-members. Discussion.
Issue form SIG member: Member agents are sending learners to schools not under the ENGUK banner.
Mary – agents want to be able to find specific courses and want to find the school that can offer that directly. With permission she will send a grid so member schools can declare the different courses they offer. Agreed.
Anna – Aim to answer five questions , including how much screen time to allow. Input from members regarding the enforcement of limited screen time (possibly from parent feedback). Will address in breakout later.
Mary – hygiene / illness issues, how schools deal with them . + Do we get formal feedback from parents/agents?
The Studyworld Village – promotional materials. Unfortunately, some school were not in the village, so we will send doodle poll to make sure people are there for next time.
Mary – Sarah Etchells spoke to Chinese delegates regarding pre-7-year-olds which proved very successful. Chinese agents are particularly interested in parents learning how to teach their children English form pre-school age. The parents can speak English, but they want to know how to play with their children and which stories etc. to read with them. They are interested in a school going to China and setting up a pop up school in a nursery over the summer or running course in the UK.
Anna – This year’s AGM date could be changed. Possibility of Februaries as of 2021, but also Feb 2020 instead of December 2019. We will put out a poll to ask if this date is okay.
Anna – went through the AGM agenda (see footnote of minutes). Reminder there are two free staff places, plus a discount for any other members. A doodle poll on this will be sent.
Mary – Tom Weatherley from EUK is keen to run a YL session at the academic conference in April. Are there any ideas for areas people would like covered? Please contact us.
Anna – Spoke of ‘The Good Work Plan’, regarding employee contracts [Anna, can I add anything of use here for you notes?]. Changes we may not be aware of… You can contact the EUK helpline. There is the possibility for a speaker on this at the AGM.
Can we sign up to the Matching Managers course?
Anna – We are in contact with mental health trainers, but over they are over budget. Does anyone know of any good mental health training and awareness courses? Please contact.
Remark that there are no measures in place to train staff to deal with unpredictable YLs who are/may be a danger to others. Different local authorities deal with incidents in different ways.
Breakout session: BC inspection feedback. Groups split into homestay/residential. Anna – ACAS was late this year due to approx 60 inspections this summer.
Guest speaker, Ross Holmes let us trial the City ExplorAR app.
0945 to 1030 Tea/coffee and register
1030 Welcome by Sponsor, us and Sarah Cooper
1115 to 1215 3 electives (mixture of management, financial, academic, homestay, brexit?, social) Slightly staggered so one finishes at 1200, another at 1210 and another at 1220 to make lunch easier.
1215 to 1315 Lunch for all but members have it in the Main Room whilst they have their AGM.
1330 to 1415 Plenary for all: Suggestion of ‘Motivating Staff’
1415 to 1515 3 electives (mixture of management, financial, academic, homestay, brexit?, social) Slightly staggered so one finishes at 1500, another at 1510 and another at 1520 to make break easier.
1500 to 1535 Tea/coffee
1540 Plenary for all: Motivational speaker
1630 Closing address or BC address.
1700 Drinks and nibbles reception