Written evidence from the British Council |
The past year saw the British Council work directly
with over 18 million people, using the UK's most attractive assetsEnglish,
education and the artsto create connections for Britain.
In doing so, we continued to increase our global impact and our
value to the UK taxpayer.
Highlights for 2009-10 include:
- attracting 230,000 visitors to the Turner from
the Tate exhibition in China and 5 million
visits to the exhibition website;
- connecting 2.2 million young people through our
- improving physical education for six million
young people in 15 countries through International Inspirationthe
International Legacy programme for the 2012 Games;
- teaching English to almost 300,000 students and
delivering UK examinations to 1.5 million peopleearning
income of £306 million (up 16% from 2008-09) and generating
£45 million in exports for UK exam boards;
- developing new free and low-cost English-teaching
programmes in India including training programmes for over 2,000
master trainers and 500,000 teachers in Andra Pradesh, Delhi,
Karnataka, Kerala, Madras, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Sri Lanka;
- leveraging £2.50 from customers and partners
for every £1 of Government grant (up 13% from 2008-09).
As we've done this we've initiated the largest staff
restructure in our organisation's history, reducing our UK staff
by more than 30%.
1. WORKING WITH
Our programmes and projects use the country's most
attractive assetsits culture, education and languageto
create competitive advantage for the UK in the markets that matter.
- We taught English
to nearly 300,000 learners in 48 countries, and
delivered 2 million exams to 1.5 million individuals
- We successfully launched low-cost teaching centres
in Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad reaching
- We launched seven new mobile phone applications,
downloaded by 135,000 learners. 10.3 million unique
visitors accessed our free global learner websites (including
Arabic and Chinese language versions) and 3.1 million visitors
accessed our global teacher websites, downloading material that
will reach 21 million students.
- We manage Accreditation UK, the quality
assurance scheme for UK-based English-language teaching covering
over 500 institutions.
- Connecting Classrooms,
our school-linking programme, supported 4,800 schools partnership
and directly involved 870,000 young people in Africa,
Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
- Skills for Employability, a
global programme that uses UK expertise in vocational training
to improve skills programmes around the world, worked in 45
countriesincluding Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia,
Pakistan, Turkey and Yemen.
- In Higher Education, we support the Government's
strategy to increase international opportunities for UK Higher
Education institutions. Through this work, we helped attract more
than 400,000 international students to the UK who contribute more
than £8 billion to the UK economy.
- The British Council created the cultural programme
for the hugely successful British Pavilion at the Shanghai
World Expo. Over seven million people visited the UK
Pavilion. Its innovative design, by Thomas Heatherwick, showcased
the UK's creativity and received critical acclaim.
- Connections through Culture India supports
performances by artists and arts organisations in the UK and India
including: an Indian tour by UK theatre company Complicite (covered
on prime-time nationwide television); a new partnership to bring
the Hay Festival to Kerala; and, from November 2010, Anish Kapoor's
first exhibition in India.
- International Inspiration,
the London 2012 international sporting legacy programme, uses
the power and appeal of UK sport to enrich the lives of children
worldwide. International Inspiration led the Brazilian Government
to create a national scheme for extra-curricular sport and educational
activity drawing on UK experience. The Brazilian programme, called
Segundo Tempo, brings high-quality physical education to millions
of children from Brazil's most disadvantaged communities.
2. BRITISH COUNCIL
Our network builds connections for Britain in countries
where the UK divides opinion and where there are opportunities
for UK culture, education and English language to provide Official
- In Afghanistan we broadcast a series of
radio and TV programes for teachers of English who live
in remote areas. Using mobile phone networks,
in addition to traditional radio/TV broadcasts, we expect to provide
all 48,000 teachers of English in Afghanistan with British Council
materials by the end of 2010-11.
- In Iran we have developed a series of
English-language television programmes for young adults which
will be broadcast on BBC Persian later this year and give them
an insight into life in the UK.
- In Rwanda we are supporting the Government's
decision to adopt English as the language of instruction. To date
we have trained over 44,000 teachers. To support this work, and
in recognition of Rwanda's Commonwealth membership, we opened
premises in Kigali.
- In Iraq we are working with UNICEF and
the Ministry of Education to improve teaching. Through a project
covering standard-setting, skills development, leadership and
management we will support almost 3,000 teachers and reach over
150,000 children by 2011-12.
- In Burma, in partnership with the FCO
and the Open University, we delivered Open University courses
in social studies to 40 civil society activists helping them move
to become effective catalysts for positive social change. In addition
we offer uncensored access to the internet and attracted 230,000
people to our libraries last year.
- In Zimbabwe, 76,000 people visited British
Council libraries in Harare and Bulawayo. These are vital sources
of information and study materials for young professionals. We
supported Zimbabwe's universities using funds provided by the
Department for International Development to establish six capacity-building
links with UK counterparts. More are planned for the current year.
- In Iraq, we supported the development
of the country's first National Youth Orchestra. In 2009,
its first summer school included 33 Iraqi musicians from across
- In Pakistan, we helped establish the Karachi
Literature Festival, in partnership with Oxford University
Press, bringing British writers to Pakistan and providing a platform
for contemporary writers in Pakistan.
3. LOOKING AHEAD
The UK Government announced its four-year Spending
Review in October. The British Council received a 17% cash cut,
or a 26% real terms cut, over the four-year period, reducing our
Grant-in-Aid funding to £149 million by 2014-15. While the
reduction presents challenges for us we understand the need to
play our part in helping to reduce the UK's public spending deficit.
We initiated a voluntary redundancy programme in
2009-10. This will see a reduction in UK posts by 500, equivalent
to a third of the UK workforce, delivering annual savings of £12
million. Total planned changes to our corporate support services
and UK operations will deliver savingsin the UK aloneof
£85 million by the end of 2013-14.
The Spending Review settlement ring-fences our core
grant funding for the next four years. It allows us to maintain
substantially our global network and global cultural relations
impact for the UK. In addition, the Foreign Secretary made clear
that we will remain a Non-Departmental Public Body sponsored by
We will have to make some difficult choices as we
decide our plans for the next four years, but we intend to build
a robust future for the British Council using the best of the
UK's cultural and educational resources to build opportunity and
trust for the UK worldwide.
27 October 2010