Alex, Carmen and their children Nico and Ana will live AT SEFTON PLACE along with the students who ECHO aims to provide with an even better full-immersion experience.
A King’s College London History graduate and Cambridge Oral Examiner with a Distinction in Cambridge DELTA M1 (Understanding Language, Methodology and Resources for Teaching), and Cambridge DELTA M3 (English Language Teaching Management), Alex has ample depth and breadth of experience in teaching and examining English, training teachers and managing schools: 25 years teaching, 24 years managing language centres and organising courses, 12 years training teachers and 12 years as an examiner. He has been involved in ECHO, collaborating with his parents Charles and Estrid, since it’s conception in 1988.
One of the aspects of ECHO which I most enjoy, and which contributes to its uniqueness as a language school, is seeing how lasting relationships are forged with our students and their families, sometimes over decades: students come back year after year, and year after year many of the students we welcome into our house are brothers and sisters, cousins and even the sons and daughters of ECHO alumni. This, together with the fact that nearly all our new students come on direct recommendation of students who have been with us before, is not only the best possible feedback we could hope to have on the learning impact of our courses, but also a pleasure in itself. It makes my job evolve into a much deeper, rewarding experience which reinforces my conviction that what we do makes a difference.
For the past 24 years Carmen, together with Alex, has been directing courses at the English schools they own in Spain. A specialist in teaching Young Learners, not only does she have a talent for getting the very best out of each of her students, but also helps other teachers to do the same. In the UK, she worked shoulder to shoulder with Estrid during the summer periods since 1995, sharing the organisation of the housekeeping and administrative tasks, ensuring the welfare of the students and liaising with the host families. She was also ‘mother’ to many students who stayed in her and Alex’s house, and in 2013, she took on overall responsibility for the welfare of all our students. Certified with Safeguarding Children and Health and Safety qualifications, she makes sure that our students’ courses in the UK are conducted in accordance not only with current legislation but also with ECHO’s own internal policies. These are designed to promote the best immersion courses available to teenagers within a safe, friendly and collaborative framework. She is also a fantastic cook!
What I most like about Echo is its size – small! Rather than a language school, the atmosphere is much more akin to that of a large family. I get to know each student that comes through our door very well, and they also get to know us and each other very well. There is a real sense of community, and students from different countries often keep in touch with each other for years afterwards, or arrange to return together. It’s always a pleasure to see familiar faces come back again.