A London-based language school that ordinarily welcomes around 10,000 students a year is continuing to navigate disruption caused by Covid-19 and looking to the future, with support from Lloyds Bank.

International House London (IH London) offers courses in English language, teacher training and courses for young learners, as well as testing through international exam boards. Located in Covent Garden, the school suspended face-to-face teaching in March in accordance with government guidelines. The seven-figure loan from Lloyds Bank has enabled it to swiftly transition to offering foreign language lessons and teacher training courses online, invest in a student portal, operate within the necessary social distancing measures and maintain excellent teaching standards across all business streams.

According to English UK, the national association of English language centres, the ELT industry brings in approximately £1.4bn in export earnings, and around 550,000 students to the UK, each year. With many language schools faced with hardship due to the repercussions of Covid-19, it was inevitable for IH London to experience a drop in take-up between April and June. However, it was one of the first London language schools to reopen its doors to exams candidates in June and has been open again fully for face-to-face teaching as of September, bringing student numbers back up to well over 1,000.

Despite the ongoing uncertainty, finance director Karen Smith-Watson remains hopeful that student numbers will be able to steadily increase in time for next summer.

She said: “Lloyds Bank’s support has helped us to continue trading, and gave us the working capital and confidence to grow the business by building a new online digital product portfolio alongside face-to-face courses.”

International House London has been a customer of Lloyds Bank for four years.

Anil Ahluwalia, relationship director at Lloyds Bank, added: “The team at International House London has worked tirelessly to weather the storm and to get back to offering its services to as many students as possible. We will be by the side of the business over the coming months, as we will be by London firms in all sectors that need our support.”

Established in1953 by founders John Haycraft (CBE) and his wife Brita, the school was built around their passion for international communication and building communities across cultures. For more than 60 years the school has followed the same principles and has contributed to society by connecting the world though language training, teacher training, and testing. The school’s core values are about bringing people together, broadening horizons and inspiring people to the best they can be through education.

The nine-storey school has 55 classrooms, a library and a computer centre, and operates within the UK English language teaching (ELT) industry.