The CATS Colleges Group has announced the closure of its four Stafford House English language centres in the US: Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego. The schools will close their doors on July 31.
Due to the coronavirus, lessons moved online on March 23, and they will continue in the same format until the end of July when the majority of current students finish their study programs.
“This is a difficult time for the industry”
The few remaining students will be assisted to find another school in the US, transfer to a Stafford House school in the UK or Canada or be supported to return home safely.
Chris Stacey, CEO of CATS Colleges said operating language schools in the US has become increasingly challenging in recent years due to the high cost of operations, a complex regulatory environment, and increased competition from popular and accessible destinations such as Canada.
“The impact of Covid-19 and related travel restrictions forced us to carefully evaluate the long-term viability of Stafford House operations in the US,” he added.
“As a result, we have made the difficult decision to close this part of our business once the majority of students complete their studies.”
“We are sincerely grateful to our talented and professional team based in the US who delivered many positive outcomes for students over the years,” added Cam Harvey, MD of Stafford House.
“Despite the difficult situation, they are showing great professionalism and care as they support students in their learning.”
Consultation has commenced with the 79 staff members affected by the decision.
Stafford House will continue to operate its six adult language schools in Canada (Toronto, Calgary) and the UK (London, Cambridge, Canterbury, and Brighton) and its summer centres which are also based in the UK and Canada, along with its summer camp in the US.
“This is a difficult time for the industry,” added Stacey.
“However, we have shown resilience in the face of adversity before, and we will continue to do so by finding new opportunities and diversifying our educational offering for international students and agent partners.”
The CATS Colleges Group was bought by Bright Scholar last year in a £150m deal and comprises three brands: Stafford House, English language schools; CATS Colleges, international boarding schools; and Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts.
The Group recently welcomed Bosworth Independent College, a traditional boarding school based in the UK, which was also acquired by Bright Scholar in 2019.