Andrew Lennox, President, Glasgow School of English, Global School of English

Andrew Lennox, President, Glasgow School of English, Global School of English

What would an independent Scotland mean for Scottish Schools of English? (Part 2)

If you read our last blog, then you’ll know that, in the short-term at least, a ‘Yes’ vote for independence in the Scottish referendum in September this year, will probably have little or no effect on any student coming to the country to study English.

The great unknown is what the political landscape will be like after independence and the country’s politicians start to make the changes they promised in their campaigns to secure the voters’ approval.  The likelihood is that, should the nationalists win the referendum, they will try to create a social democratic/socialist, model along the lines of Sweden. And (surely!) no-one would object to going to Sweden to study a foreign language?  But what changes would there be that might affect how you, as an agent, go about persuading students to come to Glasgow or Edinburgh to study?

Perhaps the most important issue is the question of the currency.

Visit to Edinburgh castle

Visit to Edinburgh castle

There is a huge debate over whether Scotland would keep the pound.   The Yes camp say we shall, the UK government say we won’t. If the latter are correct, then in time we shall have to adopt another currency, almost certainly the Euro.  Given the problems in the Eurozone over the last few years, this is a concern for many Scots, but it would mean that any students coming here from Europe would not need to change their currency.

You may also be concerned about any legal changes vis-à-vis immigration and temporary incomers to Scotland.

Although many of our laws are now made in Europe, Scots Law has always been distinct from English law, as is our education system, health service and local government.  Also, the pro-independence camp is actually keen to encourage immigration, partly to counteract the impact of an elderly Scottish population, so it’s unlikely that there will be any changes here to worry about.

One thing that definitely won’t change is the warm and friendly welcome students get when they come here.

Ceilidh dance

Ceilidh dance

And in comparison to London, where many go to study English, Scotland is a much cheaper place to live.  Our experience in our Glasgow and Edinburgh Schools is that students enjoy the fact that both are sizeable cities, with lots of entertainment, pubs, clubs, shops, history, leisure and sporting facilities, and they also really appreciate that within 30 minutes they can be out of town and in some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. So the message is, no matter the outcome of the referendum, Scotland is open for (language) business from all over the world!

Andrew Lennox is President of IALC-accredited language schools: Glasgow School of EnglishGlobal School of English – Edinburgh and Hamilton School of English – Edinburgh.

About this blog

Members of IALC share their insights on the language travel industry. Contributors are owners, directors, managers, teachers or administrative staff of IALC-accredited language schools worldwide.

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