From 10 January 2011 English language students who wish to attend only English language courses in the UK will be able to apply for a student visitor visa which allows them to stay in the UK for up to 11 months. The extended student visitor visa will only be available to applicants outside of the UK.
The visa will only apply to students wishing to learn English. If you wish to study other courses in the UK for longer than 6 months you will need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa.
The Extended Student Visa has similar restrictions to the current student visitor visa route. Students are not allowed to work, take a work placement, bring dependants, extend their stay, or switch into other courses at the end of their stay. The fee is the same as for the current student visitor visa.
This change does not necessarily mean a more liberal student visa policy in other areas. It is likely that there will be further changes to the Tier 4 student visa in future which will make it more difficult to study in the UK for many prospective students.