Updated guidance on pre-sessional courses and partner institutions

Posted: 14/11/2013


The Home Office has updated the partner institutions section and added further clarification to where a Tier 4 sponsor may name another institution on their licence.

Paragraph 434 of the latest version of the Sponsor Guidance defines a pre-sessional course as:

“A course that prepares a student for, and directly precedes, their intended full-time course of study in the UK and enables them to acquire the ancillary skills or knowledge necessary to adjust to study in the UK. This will usually be supplementary English Language training or some instruction in the British education system. Courses which are designed to give a student fundamental training in the subject area of the main course as a stepping stone to it – eg a foundation degree – or courses which form an integral part of the main course of study or replace part of it – but which are administered separately – are not considered to be pre-sessional courses”.

Paragraph 127 of the latest version of the guidance states that;

“A Tier 4 sponsor may name another education provider as a partner institution on its sponsor licence in the following circumstances;

  • where there is a contractual agreement between the education providers to work in a partnership to deliver education to students. In this case both parties must hold HTS status and have Educational Oversight. Here both parties can offer any courses that meet the Tier 4 requirements.
  • where a partner institution does not hold a Tier 4 licence and provides pre-sessional courses on behalf of the Tier 4 sponsor. The latest version of the guidance states “the pre-sessional course must meet the definition of a pre-sessional course (paragraph 434), last no longer than three months, and end no more than one month before the main course of study (see Sponsor Guidance for further criteria)." 

Both the new definition and the three month restriction may affect a number of education providers that are already offering pre-sessional courses. Those effected should seek legal advice immediately.


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