Elite ELT summer programs target an untapped audience

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Posted on February 16, 2024


5 min read

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Demand is moving “away” from merely providing English language instruction, thus some summer schools are starting to provide more upscale, customized models, according to one supplier.

Prospective students are merely asking for more, according to the CEO of the recently established EC Global Achievers Academy.

EC English, a longstanding cornerstone in the industry, operates language schools in South Africa, the US, the UK, Canada, and Malta. Through its Embassy Summer program, it also accommodates juniors from the aforementioned four nations.

Greaves emphasized that EC’s Global Achievers Academy, which welcomes students aged 13 to 17 from all over the world, is a very unusual kind of program that steers clear of the traditional approach to teaching languages.

As per the CEFR requirements, the majority of applicants for this course are at the B2+ level. They aren’t interested in the usual language summer camp. It’s especially made to provide kids with the knowledge and abilities needed to become tomorrow’s leaders and global citizens,” he stated.

The goal is to provide students with a full education, with more specialized extracurricular activities and a focus on developing skills that will help them both in college and beyond rather than just relying on the English language proficiency they most certainly already possess.

Oxford Royale is an elite summer program that has been ongoing for a while. According to the website, it is mostly held at the University of Oxford, although there are opportunities for stays at Ivy League schools across the pond if “student life in the US is preferred.” It is regarded as one of the top providers of “elite summer schools.”

The Covid epidemic had a significant effect for junior programs overall, and Brexit has consistently reduced interest from European students, particularly in the UK.

For the proper students, these more extensive experiences—which are also, importantly, more expensive—might hold the key to assisting some organizations in making a speedy recovery from the pandemic. Prices for EC Global Achiever Academy programs start at £3,000 per week and last for two weeks. 

UKLC is also making a move into the upscale market with its brand-new, personalized Wycombe Abbey summer school program. The course still heavily emphasizes studying the English language, although electives and extracurricular activities are highly regarded.

The director of sales and marketing for the company stated that Chinese students have shown a particular interest in language instruction tailored to boarding school or job preparation.

According to Katya Bonello, “the activities and excursions tie in with the topics covered during lessons for a more holistic academic approach.”

The training is designed for ambitious 12–17-year-olds. According to the press release for the new camp, “This program is designed to give participants the tools they need to maximize their potential and succeed in a world that is always changing.”

Also adopting this more thorough approach is the London School of English. Its head emphasized that there was a gap in the market that few others were filling once it could run both its new, high-end residential program and its more reasonably priced mainstream courses.

“It’s a means of capitalizing on a fresh market niche – children who have experienced this type of activity repeatedly; they are genuinely extremely inundated with summer classes and require something fresh,” CEO Hauke Tallon said.

EC’s Global Achievers Academy offers sub-courses in technology, life skills, and leadership among other extracurricular activities.

In fact, at London School of English, two thirds of the curriculum are dedicated to job development, with the other third being devoted to general English language instruction.

The business venture of EC is considerably more intricate, with courses offered at each location in Cape Town, Singapore, London, Boston (at Harvard), and Singapore. Greaves proposed a novel notion, however, in which students might visit each location for four years and have a completely different experience each time.

“By the time that ends, this cohort has virtually traveled the world and, by the time they turn 18, they have developed these international connections,” he continued.

Although there are no obligations to book the entire four-year schedule, the goal is inevitably to pique the student’s interest in returning to see the next area every summer during their adolescence.

Naturally, the only catch is that these programs are only available to a specific group of students due to their high cost; as a result, fewer agents have been hired to fill the positions.

“We have a group we’re working with and numbers are looking good right now, so we’re not exclusive, but we know it’s a smaller market of people that have the ability to reach the market of these parents,” conceded Greaves.

The tagline for all of these new initiatives, according to Bonello, is “for students who have done the standard summer camp and want something different,” which may encourage others to push their way into the market.

Although there are many options available for studying English, I believe that having it structured in this particular way is really special.

He continued, “I think especially recently, people really are investing in their kids. There is definitely a demand for higher end programs.”