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ECS membership criteria

Although the British Council has a public remit to assist all exporters of UK education and training, ECS is a financial partnership with UK institutions with a specific marketing remit. It is therefore necessary that ECS employs specific criteria for members and non-members participating in ECS activity. The policy outlined below stipulates the conditions of membership.

1. Accreditation

It is expected that institutions within ECS offer qualifications which fall within the UK's national qualifications framework, e.g. UK degrees, A-levels, GNVQs, etc. In addition, members of ECS must have the following accreditation:

Institution Required accreditation
University or higher education institutions Recognised by the DfES
Maintained colleges of further and higher education Recognised by the DfES
Private UK universities and colleges of higher education Recognised by the DfES and quality assurance by the QAA or Open University Validation Service
Independent further and higher education colleges Accreditation by the British Accreditation Council plus offering courses which fall within the UK's national qualifications framework
Independent sector secondary and preparatory schools Accreditation by the Independent Schools Council
English language schools Accreditation by the British Council
Examination boards Membership is open to examination boards offering qualifications regulated by the QCA
Professional bodies ECS membership is at the discretion of the ECS Board of Directors
Relevant education associations ECS membership is at the discretion of the ECS Board of Directors

2. Quality & recognition

A fundamental strength of the UK qualifications is their worldwide recognition and quality. All member institutions must be able to support this. In cases where institutions, examining bodies or professional organisations award qualifications which are not regulated by the QCA or the QAA, ECS reserves the right to exclude such organisations from membership. This may exclude from membership training institutions that offer exclusively their own qualifications and professional bodies offering examinations which are not regulated under the national framework.

3. Professional standards

To ensure that all members behave in a manner that reflects positively on the British Council and UK education, ECS reserves the right to exclude from membership institutions that breach the ECS Code of Professional Standards and Ethics.

4. Financial history

ECS will not accept into membership any institutions with outstanding debts owing to the British Council or institutions that are in any form of dispute with the British Council.

5. Associate members

The purpose of the Associate Membership category is to accommodate organisations such as examination boards, professional associations or other relevant education organisations.

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