Student sponsor licence

A Tier 4 sponsor licence is awarded to education providers which have been approved by the Home Office. The Register of Student sponsors is available to download from the Home Office website.

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Home Office approved accreditation bodies

These are:

  • Accreditation UK
  • the Accreditation Body for Language Services (ABLS)
  • the British Accreditation Council (BAC)
  • the Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC)

The institution that you intend to study with will be able to tell you which accreditation body they are accredited by.

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Home Office approved inspection bodies

These are:

  • Estyn
  • Education Scotland
  • Independent Schools Inspectorate
  • Office for Students
  • Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education 
  • Education and Training Inspectorate Northern Ireland
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Overseas higher education institution

This is an institution which holds overseas accreditation confirmed by UK NARIC as offering degree programmes which are equivalent to UK degree level qualifications, and which teaches no more than half of a degree programme in the UK as a study abroad programme 
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Academy or state-funded school

A “state-funded school or academy” means:

(a) in England, an “Academy” as defined by and established under the Academies Act 2010, including academy schools, 16-19 academies and alternative provision academies; and 
(b) in England and Wales, a “school maintained by a local authority” being an institution defined in the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 or the Education Act 1996, including community schools, foundation schools, voluntary aided schools, voluntary controlled schools, community special schools, foundation special schools, pupil referral units and maintained nursery schools; and 
(c) in Northern Ireland, a “grant-aided school” being a school to which grants are paid under the Education Orders as defined in the Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, including controlled, maintained, grant-maintained integrated schools and voluntary grammar schools; and 
(d) in Scotland, a “public school” and a “grant-aided school”, defined in section 135 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 (for the avoidance of doubt, these definitions include any such nursery schools and special schools) and “Special school” has the meaning given in section 29(1) of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004