Although Europe is becoming more interlinked by the day, the most meaningful accreditations for language schools are still issued by accrediting organisations operating at the national level. Effectively, schools in different countries are subject to different accreditation requirements and have to show different certifications.


The most important accreditation to look for in a French language school in France is the state accreditation called “Fle Qualite Label” (which can be freely translated as ‘French as a Foreign Language Stamp of Quality’). It’s a must for any good language school.

Many top French language schools were not satisfied with the standard of the ‘Fle Qualite Label’ (the argument being that the accreditation criteria and the school inspection process were not designed and managed by an industry-governed body). They responded by founding an organisation called ‘Le Groupement FLE’ and by issuing the ‘Groupement FLE’ Accreditation. It is, in principle, more demanding and the quality standards are exercised better then those of the “Fle Qualite Label”. You’ll find that many of the best Language schools in France hold both.


The accreditation system in Spain is very coherent and straightforward. The principal accreditation for a Spanish language school is awarded by the ‘Instituto Cervantes’, a body similar to the British Council in the UK. If the school is labelled ‘Instituto Cervantes Centro Accreditato’, you can be sure of the quality of teaching and their learning facilities.


The situation in Italy in terms of language school accreditations is somewhat of a challenge. Universally recognised accreditations are all but not existent, and the considerable number of independent accrediting organisations with only local or partial industry-wide recognition doesn’t help matters much (The most widely recognised of these being ASILS). Because of this ambiguity, the rule of a thumb is to follow the endorsements issued by most prestigious Italian universities and to look for international accreditations, such as EAQUALS, ALTO (Association of Language Travel Organisations) and IALC (International Associations of Language Centres).


In Germany, the situation in the language training sector is similar to that in Italy. The closest equivalent to national accreditation – FaDaF – is only partially endorsed by the industry, ergo, language schools need to rely on the aforementioned international accreditations.