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INTO UEA

 
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MsDooLittle



Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 63
Location: somewhere else

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:44 pm    Post subject: INTO UEA Reply with quote

Does anyone have any info/opinions about INTO-University of East Anglia, London branch?

I've heard some pretty negative things about the place but was wondering if anyone can provide first hand evidence... had a very promising interview and not sure whether to take it further...

Many thanks!
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Mikalina



Joined: 03 May 2011
Posts: 110
Location: Iraq

PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

INTO is a private for profits company running English Language classes for foreign students feeding into universities and colleges in Britain.

Many foreign countries are setting aside funding for Higher Education to pay for and support students to come to Britain (where they still believe students get the best education)to study. If their levels of English are low (according to an INTO online test taken by students), they enroll with an INTO programme for three, six or nine months before joining their uni/college course.

The Higher Education Ministry will most likely cream off some of the money; the organisation in the home country which facilitates the connection with the university, on behalf of the student, definitely creams off some of the money; the university itself gets some and so does, mainly, of course, INTO. The teacher gets a very low salary and the students, who are unprepared for life in England, socially and linguistically, struggle, suffer and frequently fail and go home.

It's a job - what more can I say?
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MsDooLittle



Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 63
Location: somewhere else

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply, Mikalina.

This is not the reply I was hoping for. INTO is capitalising on the English language. Screwing students and exploiting teachers. Shameful.

But as you say its a job. We'll see what the bottom line is and if it's worth it...

If not I fear its time to bail out of the business, find something more worthwhile and/or lucrative!
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Captain Coddo



Joined: 04 Feb 2012
Posts: 32
Location: East Coast

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:48 pm    Post subject: Into University Partnership Reply with quote

Well, I worked there last year, so I feel I'm well placed to comment.

My immediate reaction is to say that it's not a bad place to work, although it's nowhere near as good as it thinks it is. The salary appeared to be 28k for everybody (whether you had a Celta, Delta, or whatever), perhaps even the PhD holders (teachers of content), so if you're coming from an EFL language school it's a step up. Compared to a 'proper' college or university, though, it's quite low, and I believe that teacher turnover is rather high, as it's seen as a stepping stone to a 'proper' job in FE or HE. However, my colleagues were all very professional and easy to get on with (well, most of them were!).

I did notice that most, if not all, of the programme managers were foreign, probably because they're prepared to work for less and will be less likely to moan and be aware of their employment rights. They did not seem to be the most knowledgeable people in their field, either, and their function, I felt, was more to work as a 'lapdog' for the senior management, and 'sit' on the teachers, rather then inspire and lead them from the front. In fact, I have noticed a creeping 'occupation' of senior posts in EFL recently, mostly by Poles, who are seen as more pliable by their bosses. Can anybody back me up on that observation?

The syllabus for the programmes was fine, and was not regarded as written in stone, to be followed slavishly every day of the week. There was no shortage of teaching materials and other resources, and interactive whiteboards were the norm. Classrooms are generally large and well-furnished, if a little bland, with very few posters and attempts to 'personalise' the walls.

My main gripe was with the 9 to 5 attendance policy (for the teachers, not the students!), which was enforced. So when I had six hours of teaching on a couple of days, I was not allowed to go home early! Everybody felt that this 'factory-fodder' approach was demotivating, and against the thread of EFL culture, as many teachers would rather leave early and prep at home, rather than be forced to do it in a noisy staffroom and under the manager's gaze. This represents a serious worsening of conditions if you compare things to working at a 'proper' college or uni.

The other problem was the quality of the students, most of whom were from China. Many of them had Ielts scores as low as 4, and preparing them for life in a UK uni, where they'll be expected to take part in seminars and give presentations, was an extremely steep uphill task - impossible in many cases. I rather got the impression that they had been 'sold' an Into course as a guaranteed step into the UK uni system, whereas the truth is that they need to put in a lot of work if they are to achieve the requirements of their preferred course. Otherwise, it's 'Hello, Solent Uni' for a lot of these unfortunate Asian exports!

Anyway, that my bit. I'm now working at one of those 'proper' institutes of higher education, and I'm much happier - a better salary, lighter workload, a more knowledgeable (British!) boss, and more capable students. So as a stepping stone Into is OK - but only just.

Oh, and BTW - watch out for the non-functioning screen trick at the interview. They try to throw you at the beginning of the interview by claiming that the smartboard doesn't work, just to see how you cope with adversity, I suppose. Well, that's what happened to three of us teachers, who compared notes afterwards! Make the suggestion that you all move to another classroom (there should be plenty available!), and see how they cope with that!
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 151

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Into University Partnership Reply with quote

Captain Coddo wrote:
Anyway, that my bit. I'm now working at one of those 'proper' institutes of higher education, and I'm much happier - a better salary, lighter workload, a more knowledgeable (British!) boss, and more capable students. So as a stepping stone Into is OK - but only just.


I was just wondering if you had any problem moving from INTO to a "proper institution"? I've had friends who've worked for INTO in different capacities, and when they left they had problems picking up other work outside the INTO organisation. In other words, having INTO on your resume is the kiss of death when looking for work within a non-INTO university. As has been well documented in the press, there is much dislike between our traditional universities and these new for-profit companies that just wanna turn a quick buck.
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Captain Coddo



Joined: 04 Feb 2012
Posts: 32
Location: East Coast

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, SnT.

To answer your query ... well, I can't really, as I did the interview for the 'real' institute before I'd even started at Into (I was only there for a brief while). But I can't say I've heard of Into teachers being 'boycotted' so to speak.

However, if it's true, it's rather stupid, as the 'proper' colleges should find it rather easy to poach good teachers from a readily-available pool.
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 151

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Captain Coddo wrote:
To answer your query ... well, I can't really, as I did the interview for the 'real' institute before I'd even started at Into (I was only there for a brief while).


Maybe you were lucky that you interviewed for the real job before you did your brief stint at INTO. I've got friends who, like you, worked at INTO and have been looking for real jobs in non-INTO universities for months. Although they are both well-qualified, one is still unemployed, while the other was unemployed until just recently when he was lucky enough to land a plumb position at one of our top schools. He puts this recent success down to deleting the INTO experience from his resume.

And while we're on the subject of INTO, any school that gets involved with this dodgy operation is broadcasting the fact that they're in trouble. International students are not an infinite resource and will undoubtedly dry up in the near future, so these joint-ventures are bound to fail sooner or later. INTO is like a parasite, attaching itself to the host university and sucking it dry of all its life-force. The spotlight has recently fallen on what might happen if we privatise the NHS. I wish the government would open its eyes and regulate the HE sector too. All the evidence suggests that the regulating agencies are failing abysmally in this area:

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=419116&c=1
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 151

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

slapntickle wrote:
And while we're on the subject of INTO, any school that gets involved with this dodgy operation is broadcasting the fact that they're in trouble. International students are not an infinite resource and will undoubtedly dry up in the near future, so these joint-ventures are bound to fail sooner or later.


I was perusing the TES online and found an interesting article about the for-profit sector. As predicted, it appears that INTO University Partnership's enrolment numbers are being hit by "the government's clampdown on visas":

Meanwhile, in a separate development, the private education firm INTO is launching a 100 million worldwide investment fund for universities aimed at bridging the gap left by falling public funding. The fund could possibly support widening participation in the UK.

INTO's fund is part of the company's drive to reduce its reliance on pre-degree pathway courses for overseas students, a market hit by the government's clampdown on visas.

Andrew Colin, INTO's founder and owner, said the fund was aimed at four areas, including helping universities to establish overseas campuses and aiding widening participation by allowing the firm's facilities currently used by overseas students to be used by UK students to prepare for higher education.


http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=419273

And I thought INTO had a contractual obligation to feed its university-partners here in the UK with a guaranteed number of international students through its pathway courses?
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 151

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought this thread had dried up, but today while perusing the Independent, I stumbled across this story about INTO University Partnerships entitled, INTO University Partnerships' Sale'. The story reports that:

An education group that specialises in partnering with universities, but is opposed by many lecturers, is looking to private equity to take a minority stake in the business.

Into University Partnerships, which has joint ventures with universities, including Exeter and Newcastle, has hired Credit Suisse to find an investor. It is understood that an information memorandum will be sent to potential bidders in the next two weeks.

However, there are signs that interested parties might be put off by directors' high valuation. They believe Into could be worth as much as 1bn within 10 years, though an industry source suggested that the stake should not value the business at any more than 200m at present.

Into's chairman is Andrew Colin, who previously ran Study Group International, a specialist in English language training for foreign students. He sold it to Daily Mail & General Trust for more than 40m in 1999.

Into works with universities to improve accommodation and services for international students, to help increase the intake from lucrative overseas markets.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/into-university-partnerships-sale-7717468.html

Not really sure what's happening here, but if I'm not mistaken INTO's bosses can see the writing on the wall. Student numbers will undoubtedly dry up in the near future due to increased tuition fees and the perception among international students that they can get a much better(and cheaper) education outside of the UK. Anyone interested in investing in a moribund business such as INTO would need to do their maths homework very carefully before taking the financial plunge.
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Captain Coddo



Joined: 04 Feb 2012
Posts: 32
Location: East Coast

PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:37 pm    Post subject: Into, London Reply with quote

I'm reposting here this item of mine from another thread, as I feel it's relevant. I do hope that's OK?

A contact of mine who works at Into in London reports great rumblings of discontent from the teachers there. Apparently, the company is refusing to pay teachers their statutory sick pay, and is insisting that teachers come in when recuperating from illnesses if they want paying. So if you have a broken arm, you can't rest at home, you need to turn up if you hope to get paid, even though you're not expected to actually teach!!

This sort of management malpractice is very different from the Universities and colleges that Into claims to be in association with, namely City Uni and UEA, and the disparity in conditions has been noted. Into also refuses to recognise unions, another anomaly.

Of course, mismanaging and ripping off teachers in this unnecessary way has had an incredible effect on morale, and most teachers there are apparently already looking for 'pastures new'.

In short, it's a place to be avoided all round by proper teachers, and it will soon find itself attracting only the dregs of the trade, which would be a sad thing for the students there, who deserve much more.
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Stuka



Joined: 27 Aug 2012
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Into, London Reply with quote

Captain Coddo wrote:
In short, it's a place to be avoided all round by proper teachers, and it will soon find itself attracting only the dregs of the trade, which would be a sad thing for the students there, who deserve much more.


Proper teachers have been avoiding INTO for a while now. Most in the field consider them to be a bunch of property developers that have no place in academia. It's companies like INTO that will give our tertiary sector a bad name and send international students to other countries in Europe for their education.

The recruitment process at INTO is interesting. Forget about qualifications and experience. The only thing that matters is that you fit the INTO profile, which means you basically shut up and follow orders that originate at the top and filter down through various strata of sycophantic middle managers down to the poor old teachers at the bottom of the heap. INTO does a lot of its recruiting internally, but sometimes needs to recruit from outside the organisation. When it does this it puts teachers on probation for a while to monitor their behaviour. If they pull their weight and accept the miserable pay and lousy conditions, they get to stay on. If not, the managers will get together and brainstorm ways to get rid of the trouble-maker. Unfortunately, the law is on the employer's side at the moment, because a company can lay off a teacher within the first year and the teacher would have no legal comeback.(The current Cameron government will change this law to 2 years.) The only way to stop this organisation operating is by blacklisting them, which the UCU have been trying to do for sometime now with their 'Fighting Privatisation' publicity campaign:

http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=2296
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