After being hit by staff loss, host family struggles and Brexit, St. Brelade’s College is finally beginning to bounce back.
At the beginning of May, the English language school welcomed back their first large school group to Jersey at the beginning of May - but there's still a long way to go before it will be back to pre-pandemic levels.
Previously, the college hosted upwards of 2,000 international students to visit and study in the island.
However, due to the effects of covid, they lost more than 90% of their visitors in 2020 and 2021, welcoming fewer than 100 students to the island across these two years combined.
Pictured: The visiting students spend their afternoons exploring all different parts of the island.
Julia Brown, Marketing Manager at St. Brelade’s College, said: “It feels great to be able to put these cultural trips back on, especially as education as a whole has suffered so much over the past few years.”
This year is generally looking much more positive for the college, with two school groups of 50-plus students each visiting during May.
The students attend English lessons in the mornings, visit Jersey’s sights or take part in activities in the afternoon, and spend time with their host families in the evening to fully immerse themselves in Island life.
Pictured: While most of the visitors are European, the college also plans to welcome students from further afield this summer - including Saudi Arabia and Japan!
Despite the return of these school groups, St Brelade’s College is still anticipating around a 40% decrease in overall visitors compared to pre-covid numbers and getting the college back up-and-running again has not come without its challenges.
As well as the pandemic, Brexit has meant that European visitors now need a passport as opposed to an ID card, although fortunately this doesn't apply to school groups.
Pictured: Pre-pandemic host families were excited to welcome students into their homes.
St. Brelade’s College has also lost many members of staff over the past two years, in addition to noticing a sharp decline in local families offering to host students.
Julia explained that, while the demand for international students to come to Jersey to study is there, they are having to turn students away due to a lack of host families.
Pictured: As well as having fun, the visiting students also use their time in Jersey to improve their English.
She said: “It’s been really surprising how much harder it has been to recruit host families since the pandemic.
“I thought people would jump at the chance to earn a bit of extra income, particularly with the rising cost of living, but it just seems like people have forgotten that hosting is an option.
“Despite these setbacks though, we are delighted to be functioning again. There's a buzz at the school which we are all very grateful for!"
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.