In its early years, the business was run entirely by Charles and Estrid. Charles, a Cambridge Masters graduate and ex-school teacher, helped students achieve their maximum potential with his innovative, strict yet compassionate approach. Estrid meanwhile, a trained chef and a wonderful listener, made sure everyone was well looked after. Between them they created an environment in which students would be happy relaxing as well as studying. Both excellent hosts, Charles and Estrid worked towards the enjoyment and success of everyone who came through ECHO’s doors.
The school continued to expand throughout the 1990s. Estrid’s son Chris, also a Cambridge graduate, joined as Director of Studies in 1993, bringing his top academic skills and EFL Diploma experience. With a friendly, modern approach to teaching as well as business, his enthusiasm and enterprise were key to the school’s progress.
In 2007 Estrid decided to put ECHO’s 20 year experience with teenagers to good use and dedicated her time solely to their needs. Estrid’s other son Alex, a University of Cambridge oral examiner who has his own schools in Spain and has collaborated in the running of ECHO from the very beginning, took over as the new Director of Studies.
At the end of 2013, Estrid retired, leaving the school in the experienced hands of Alex and his wife Carmen. Thus, after 25 years of continued success and development under Estrid, 2014 marked another milestone under new leadership full of vision and energy, with eyes set on an exciting future dedicated to teaching, learning and the full immersion experience that ECHO affords its students.
That future is evolving quickly, with its clearest manifestation in a move to larger premises in 2016. Just outside the historic town of Arundel, within easy reach of the cities of Brighton, Chichester and Portsmouth, Sefton Place is a large country house, imbued with the same family atmosphere that has always been a cornerstone of ECHO but at the same time providing fit-for-purpose fully equipped installations and grounds. Alex, Carmen and their children Nico and Ana will live there along with the students who ECHO aims to provide with an even better full-immersion experience.