British Study Centres was founded in the 1930’s by Joseph Cleaver, grandfather of our current Chairman and Chief Executive, Simon Cleaver. To this day, the Company remains a resolutely ’family’ firm, privately owned and managed by Simon and his family.
In the early days the Company concentrated on correspondence courses and as such was a precursor to the Open University which grew up in the 1960’s. The Company grew quickly, establishing offices and examination centres across the entire (then) British Empire and beyond and in the process becoming the UK’s largest group of correspondence colleges.
In the early 1970’s, the Company, now run by Joseph’s sons, James and Thomas, began to focus on ’face-to-face’ tuition with the establishment of vocational colleges, West London College in London’s West End, St Aldates College in Oxford and Hove College in Brighton.
In the 1990’s the Company moved into English language teaching with the founding of the group’s first English language school in Oxford in 1996. This was followed by Brighton in 2002 and London in 2004. The schools have grown quickly with both Brighton and Oxford moving to larger premises in 2008 to cope with increasing demand. The London school expanded its premises in April 2009 with the opening of a new first floor suite of classrooms and offices and grew further in spring 2010 with the opening of six new classrooms on the third floor at Hannah House.
In 2008 the Company moved into the ’young learners’ market with the acquisition of ’ICH’ (International College Holidays), a specialist provider of vacation courses to children aged 10-15 years. Easter and summer 2009 saw the first intake of juniors at the prestigious independent schools, Ardingly College and Cheltenham College. The Young Learners Division has grown rapidly and now (2015) operates vacation courses in a total of seven centres across the UK.
In 2010 the Company opened its fourth year-round school for adults in the south coast town of Bournemouth. In the same year the Company opened a specialist Teacher Training Facility in central Oxford.
In 2012 the Company launched BSC English Online, live online lessons taught by teachers using the latest in video conferencing technology.
In recent years the Company has been honoured to win a number of awards associated with the language school industry, including twice winner of Study Travel Magazine’s coveted ’Star’ English Language School Europe award (in 2010 and 2012) and winner of Study Travel Magazine’s ’Star’ Junior Courses for under 18s (in 2012).
British Study Centres is accredited by the British Council for the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language. British Study Centres is registered as a Highly Trusted Sponsor by the UK Border Agency and is a member of both English UK and ALTO (the Association of Language Travel Organisations).