Teaching English has taken the world by storm over the last few decades. If you’re familiar with TEFL, then you’re probably familiar with us, The TEFL Academy. We’ve been around for a while (ten years, to be precise) and we’re now proudly the world’s leading TEFL course provider.
So, how did we get here (besides the obvious blood, sweat and tears)?
The TEFL Academy was launched
Once upon a time, long, long ago…okay, just kidding. Ten years ago, in July 2011, The TEFL Academy opened its doors. Our mission: to offer the most accessible, flexible and cost-effective way to get TEFL-qualified, with more ongoing opportunities for successful graduates than any other TEFL course provider.
We offered an online TEFL course that students could complete from the comfort of their homes, with the security of our professional team just a click away. The course was developed by a team of professionals with the aim of being as comprehensive as possible. As an added bonus, if students wanted to get some teaching experience in the classroom, they could do so with a practical component to the course at one of our campuses around the UK.
Our course took off from Day One.
In less than three short years we managed to welcome our first 10 000 TEFL trainees into our program. We were achieving our dual goals of sending TEFL-qualified teachers into the world and giving our graduates the opportunity to fulfil their dreams of living and working abroad.
And as our digital footprint began to grow, we decided to rebrand and launched a new website in 2015.
Introducing: our Level 5 TEFL course
Moving onto bigger things, we launched the world’s first Level 5 TEFL course, transforming the TEFL industry as we knew it.
A Level 5 TEFL qualification means that Ofqual (the UK government) has approved the course at a Level 5 level of achievement, which is the same level as a diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), a foundation degree, and the CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL qualifications. In other words, it’s the only teaching qualification you need to teach English as a Foreign Language.
The Level 5 course proved popular and we continued to grow. As we grew in numbers, it was only fitting that we expanded our reach. So we went global.
In 2016 we opened a number of campuses firstly in cities around Europe, and then in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Towards the end of the year, we opened our first campus in Johannesburg, South Africa. Today we have campuses in over ten cities in South Africa and are the leading TEFL provider in the country (a massive shout out and howzit to our Saffer graduates!). The following year we took on the United States with a campus opening in San Francisco, and campuses in nine other US cities following soon after.
2017 saw us take stock and rebrand again and launch another new website.
Our hard work paid off
But The TEFL Academy didn’t stop growing or even slow down.
In fact, in September 2018 we recorded a magnificent 50 000 incredible people who had enrolled in our TEFL course. At the same time, we became the world’s first TEFL course provider to be officially recognised by government-approved awarding bodies both in the UK and the US. Yeah, baby!
A few years later, in 2020, we won the Go Overseas award for Overall Top TEFL Course Provider – and to say we were chuffed would be an understatement! If we hadn’t been social distancing there would’ve been high fives flying all over our office.
Then we pivoted
Yes, 2020 was the year the world changed. Covid-19 shut the world down and made travelling a lot harder. But, at the same time, online learning became the new norm. Learners embraced the convenience of online learning and teaching English online exploded.
In response to this, and because we didn’t want our students to lose out on the opportunity to practice teaching at one of our campuses, we launched another world first: the Teaching Practice Webinar. This 10-hour course allows students to complete their practical component of the course online. This course has, unsurprisingly, taken off in popularity – not least because the best way to practise teaching online is to teach English online!
In April of the same year, we reached the milestone of 100 000 teachers signed up for our TEFL course – no mean feat when you consider this was accomplished in under ten years. By this time we had spread our wings – and our campuses – to 70 different locations in 17 different countries.
So yes, it was time for another rebrand and website!
2021 brought even more wanderlust
Creating the TEFL World Factbook was definitely one of our proudest moments. We pulled information from a variety of authoritative sources to create the definitive guide to teaching English around the world. A flick through our Factbook will have you itching to get on a flight to a far-flung location and make your dreams a reality. It’s completely free to download and has proven to be the most valuable resource for our alumni, travel fanatics, digital nomads and teachers in general! We update it annually so you can be guaranteed the information in it is accurate and up to date when you’re planning your trip.
Our charity work began
At The TEFL Academy, we believe that every child deserves the chance to go to school. But globally, one in every six children still don’t have access to school and are trapped in a cycle of poverty. For children living in remote and marginalised communities, education can feel like a distant, unachievable dream. Towards the end of 2020, we announced our first charity partnership with United World Schools. Together, we aim to bring education to children in some of the most remote communities in the world. Through the schools we build, these children will be given the tools they need to break the cycle of illiteracy, build a better life, and lift their families out of poverty.
As of June 2021, the build for The TEFL Academy’s first primary school in Kanpur, Nepal is complete. We have funded the build and the resources and materials needed for the first year of schooling for children who have had no access to formal education before now. We are excited to say that we are ready to welcome our first 150 children. Establishing a school in a hard-to-reach community during a pandemic was not easy, but challenges were overcome thanks to the hard work of the United World Schools team and the local community.
Read more: Our Charity Partnership
This brings us to today, July 2021. 10 years later, a lot bigger and a lot wiser. But still, we retain our original purpose and every day we work towards our goal of teaching, empowering and inspiring.