Education & Family

Language school ditches 'Isis' name

Greenwich language school Image copyright Sean Coughlan
Image caption The language school in Greenwich has replaced the Isis signs with Oxford International

An English language school and education group called "Isis" is having to change its name because of the associations with extremism.

A spokesman said it had become increasingly difficult to attend international language events under the Isis banner.

There were also a few "negative comments" for staff wearing Isis T-shirts, said the spokesman.

The re-branding has adopted the name Oxford International Education Group.

The chain of language schools and education providers has been called Isis since 1991, taking its name from the part of the River Thames at Oxford that is called the Isis.

Recruiting students

But the group has decided it is no longer practical to keep the name, when there are so many negative connotations of violent extremism, with Isis one of the names attached to the so-called Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Image copyright Isis
Image caption The use of the Isis branding was dropped because of the negative connotations

A spokesman said a decision had been taken not to wait for a change in the political situation but to go ahead and switch from Isis Education to avoid any further risk of embarrassing confusions.

"To have our staff in certain markets operating with Isis business cards, Isis group email addresses, Isis banners, was not an option. Thus, after 24 years as Isis the rather sad decision was made to re-brand," said a spokesman.

Branches such as the language school in Greenwich in south London have changed their signs.

Apart from the problems of the branding within the UK, the group had concerns about international perceptions of the Isis name.

Recruiting students, including from the Middle East, had become more difficult with the Isis name and there were concerns about difficulties for staff working overseas.

There were also concerns about internet search engines and the results that might follow from someone looking for the Isis training centres.

The education group, which runs English courses for thousands of overseas students, was started with funding from the Prince's Trust.

Image caption The Isis branding, still visible in places. is being replaced by the language school

It is the latest example of the name Isis no longer being considered appropriate.

Last week, the World Meteorological Organisation said that it would remove Isis from a list of potential names for hurricanes.

It had been on a list for future hurricanes in the Pacific, in reference to the ancient Egyptian goddess, but it has now been dropped and replaced with Ivette.

A private equity firm and a software brand are among the businesses which have dropped using Isis as their name.