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New Strategy Will Attract International Students to Top-Class UK Education - Tessa Blackstone

26 January 2000

Tessa Blackstone, Minister for Education and Employment, today launched a world-wide marketing campaign and a Brand for UK Education. Speaking at King's College London she said:

'A UK education is second to none. We offer cutting-edge and world-leading research opportunities, internationally recognised degrees and relevant high-quality, high-standard training. We are sharpening our response to the needs of international students. Changes have been introduced to improve our welcome and the affordability of UK study. Over GBP 5m will be invested in marketing to support the overseas promotion activities of UK institutions. We want the United Kingdom to be the first choice for quality and we want international students to be the best they can be.'

The brand represents the dynamic tradition and bright future of studying within the UK and will act as a focus point for marketing British institutions to overseas students. It will be managed by the British Council network of offices and is available for use by all UK institutions to assist and inform their marketing programmes overseas.

The Education UK brand was developed in response to a world wide research exercise into the expectations and perceptions of a UK education by international students and spearheads a three year drive to increase the number of overseas students choosing to study in Britain.

Supporting the campaign, Helena Kennedy QC, Chair of the British Council said:

'The promotion of British education overseas is vital not only because of the trade it generates, but also because of the relationships it creates for Britain with the new generations abroad. This campaign, focusing on academic quality and student lifestyle, will give Britain the chance to influence a wider and younger public while, crucially, it gives UK educational institutions the opportunity to reach a much larger international audience.'

Adding his support to the campaign, the internationally renowned designer Terence Conran said:

'It seems more and more students are coming to the UK from all around the world to study. A particular favourite among students appears to be design, because our designers are celebrated in this country and around the world for their innovation and creativity. The current strength and future success of the design industry, like any other, are rooted within education.'

Welcoming the UK-wide initiative, National Assembly First Secretary Alun Michael said:

'Many thousands of international students have benefited from studying in first-rate Universities and Colleges in Wales. I am sure that this is an enriching experience for them both in academic terms and the opportunity to experience our unique heritage, traditions and culture.'

Attending the launch with international students studying in Scotland, Scottish Executive Deputy Minister for Enterprise in the Highlands and Islands and Gaelic, Alasdair Morrison, said:

'This is an excellent example of the UK Government, the devolved administrations and the British Council working effectively together. The world-wide marketing campaign will significantly raise the international profile of education in the UK. It will emphasise the choice and diversity available, including the distinctive education system in Scotland. As a result, I look forward to seeing many more international students choosing to come to study in Scotland where I know they will receive a warm welcome and a world-class education.'

Dr Sean Farren, the Northern Ireland Minister for Higher and Further Education, said:

'Thousands of international students have chosen to come to Northern Ireland for their education over the years. Why? Because our educational standards excel. We have teachers second to none, great facilities and programmes which are designed to prepare our students for life in the 21st century. But we also realise that students can't spend every waking moment in class. Northern Ireland's welcome, openness and hospitality are legendary. Our air is clean, our cities are buzzing and our countryside is beautiful. And when the work's done we certainly know how to enjoy ourselves!'

Barbara Roche MP, Minister for Immigration at the Home Office, said:

'I fully support the Prime Minister's initiative. We recognise that making immigration procedures as straightforward and quick as possible for genuine students will help to make the UK a more attractive destination.'

Foreign Office Minister, Patricia Scotland, said:

'The Foreign Office is committed to the Education UK brand, which stands for quality, dynamism and diversity. We are working hard with others inside and outside of the Government to attract more overseas students to colleges and universities all over the United Kingdom. Last June, the Prime Minister announced that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Chevening Scholarship scheme would increase from 2,200 to up to 3,200 places per year. I am pleased to say that we have secured money and sponsorship from within the Government, higher education establishments and the business community for over half this increase already - strong evidence of the wide support there is for both Chevening Scholarships and the Education UK brand. But our work does not stop here. We are also streamlining the entry clearance procedures at our Embassies and missions overseas, making it easier for genuine students to come and study here. We all look forward to welcoming them here.'


The full text of Baroness Blackstones speech is available on the DfEE web site (

For further information, contact:

  • Jo Nove, Shandwick on behalf of the British Council
    Telephone: +44 (0)20 7905 2400
  • Jim Campbell, DfEE
    Telephone: +44 (0)20 7925 5361
    E-mail: Jim.Campbell@DfEE.Gov.UK

Information about the British Education Brand project is available on the Brand section of the ECS web site and the Education UK web site (

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© British Council 2000. The British Council is the United Kingdom's international organisation for educational and cultural relations. Registered in England as a Charity.

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