International House Language School Closes

Up to 200 students affected - ELT Industry Reacts

News Team - 31st January 2023

International House English language school Galway Goes Into Liquidation

The company behind the renowned English Language School International House, English By Design Limited has notified staff, creditors and students of its immediate closure. The language schools in Galway and Dublin are both closed. It is estimated there are currently up to 200 international students attending courses at the college in Galway.

Liabilities at the company had been steadily growing over the recent years with losses of over €124,000.00 in 2020 to €462,721.00 in 2021. The company has attributed its difficult trading position to the business interruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A member of the organisation Marketing English in Ireland protection should be available for the relocation of students to alternate language centres. All language schools operating under the regulation for international students in Ireland, currently the Interim List of Eligible Programmes are obliged to maintain a scheme for the protection of students from outside the EU. These schemes are designed to ensure the students can transfer to another language school or education centre at no cost to the students themselves. There are currently a number of such schemes operating in Ireland, the most effective of which is the Learner Protection policy available from specialist brokers.

One scheme available to members of the MEI organisation involves promissory letters between member schools to undertake the completion of studies by students of closed member colleges. It is understood the International House instead operated the preferred option of insurance policies covering each student.

Speaking following the announcement of the closure by international house, the chairman of the Progressive College Network, David Russell expressed his concern about the closure of such a well-established brand as International House.

“The closure of any English language school impacts on the reputation of the sector as a whole.” explained Mr Russell. “However the existence of a suitably structured insurance policy which will have the effect off placing the students in other learning centres, provides assurance that the industry has already adapted to the needs of international students in Ireland and recovered from the incidents of the past where students were left without recourse or refund.”

“It should also be noted that the Progressive College Network has led the way in the English language sector in the promotion of insurance policies which protects students in the event of college closure. Indeed the specific policy operated by the PCN also covers the wages of staff members in the event of a closure. This makes it one of the leading products in the marketplace and has been developed as such by the PCN in collaboration with our specialist brokers. We would hope such arrangements exist for the students of the closed centre and that any difficulties can be addressed by their member organisation.”

“All of the students of international house we expect should be accommodated by their specific insurance policy and we will monitor the situation carefully. In addition any students who have paid their fees from countries outside of the EU but who have not yet travelled should be in a position to access a refund of their fees from the escrow account operated by the language school. All language schools most hold course fees in escrow until such time as students have travelled and received visa approval to commence their studies with that school.”

Any schools affected by the closure or who require assistance on the Englisgh Langauage School regulation in Ireland may contact our specialist ELT sector solicitors at MP Moloney.

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