Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell has secured a meeting with the export minister to discuss how English language schools in her constituency can recover from the pandemic.

Caroline has been a vocal advocate to gain support for the sector, which is so important to the town, but has been ravaged by Covid.

Speaking in the English language teaching debate in parliament this week she asked the minister Graham Stuart: “The English language is arguably this country’s most successful export. Covid has, of course, devastated the sector, and with the international scene still challenging, the impact goes on and is deep and wide even as other sectors recover.

“Will my honourable friend meet me, a delegation of MPs and officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and local government to work together to overcome the challenges that the sector faces and safeguard the future of this vital export, which is so important to Eastbourne and to the UK?

In reply, the minister said: “I would of course be delighted to meet my honourable friend, and I congratulate her on her continued leadership in Parliament on behalf of her constituents and the country as a whole.”

Speaking afterwards, Caroline added: “I am pleased we have made some progress and that the Government recognises we must have a joined-up approach to help our English language schools in Eastbourne and across the UK.

“My job now is to bring as many bodies, people and stakeholders together to start to work up a plan to help this industry that brings so much money to Eastbourne and soft power to this country by fostering a life-long love of our country and language for many foreign students.”

English UK Chief executive Jodie Gray added: “We are delighted that Caroline has been able to secure agreement for ministers to attend a cross-party delegation.

“The English language industry in the UK is a vital component of our international education offer and centres are keen to reopen and welcome students from around the world.

“However, ongoing travel restrictions and the legacy of the pandemic mean that the industry needs targeted government support now in order to survive. We urge ministers to listen to our concerns and offer us the help we need.”