What to expect from an English school under the ILEP

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There were detailed guidelines for schools applying to have their English language programmes included on the ILEP list of visa eligible courses from 20th January 2016.

The ILEP guidelines were published in June 2015 and many schools began making changes to meet the requirements, like bringing in new policies and contracts. This guide explains some of the main things that non-EEA students should experience on any course listed on the ILEP. Page references in brackets explain where this information can be found in the guidelines.


Class schedule and Timetables

All 25 week English language courses provided to non-EEA students must be delivered between 9am and 5pm on at least 4 days per week between Monday and Friday. Classes must be for at least 15 hours excluding breaks - i.e. there should be at least 15 x 60 minutes of teaching time. [p4 / p9]

Students must receive a timetable setting out teaching hours, days and holiday periods at the start of the course. All 25 weeks of classes must be completed within a 7 month period. [p9 / p10]

A student must present their timetable when registering for a GNIB card. The school cannot change a student's timetable and a student cannot switch class or class times. [p10]

All timetables must be posted online on the school's website. [p10]



No holidays or breaks will be permitted which are not part of a student's timetable, except for documented illness or family bereavement. No period of holiday can be given before classes begin. [p10 / p14]


Course groups

Students are registered with immigration for a specific class. They cannot be moved to a different class group to the one they enrolled on. Classes should begin with a maximum of 15 students and there should be no switching of students between classes. [p16]



All English courses must conclude in an English language exam that meets immigration requirements. Non-EEA students will need to commit to the exam when they start the course. All enrolled students must be registered with the awarding body when they start the course. [p4 / p7 / p15]



Non-EEA students will not be able to enrol on a second consecutive programme at the same or lower level, meaning that students must be able to show progression to renew their visa. [p19]



Advance fees for students awaiting visa decisions must be kept in a separate bank account. If unsuccessful, money must be returned within 20 working days. An administrative fee may be deducted if this was stated as part of the terms and conditions of making a booking. [p17 / p18]


Quality and Student Experience

Lessons must follow week-by-week plans matched to learning outcomes. Weekly plans must be available to students. [p17]

Schools must operate a business plan to encourage a multi-national mix in the classroom. [p13]

Schools must operate a complaint and grievance procedure which students can use if they are not satisfied. [p15]

Schools must provide a student library / resource centre adequate for the maximum number of students. [p18]


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