Alex, Carmen and their children Nico and Ana live AT SEFTON PLACE with the students who ECHO wants to give an excellent ‘learning and living under one roof’ experience.
Alex is 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).He has a lot of experience in teaching and examining English, training teachers and managing schools: 28 years teaching, 26 years managing language centres and organising courses, 14 years training teachers and 14 years as an examiner. He has been involved in ECHO, collaborating with his parents Charles and Estrid, since it began in 1988.
One of the aspects of ECHO which I most enjoy is seeing how relationships are forged with our students and their families, sometimes over decades: students, and their brothers, sisters, cousins and friends, come back year after year. Now we are also welcoming the sons and daughters of students who came when they were teenagers. Nearly all our new students come on direct recommendation of students who have been with us before. This is the best feedback on our courses, and also a pleasure in itself. It makes my job very rewarding and tells me that what we do makes a difference.
For the past 26 years Carmen and Alex have been directing courses at the English schools they own in Spain.There, Carmen is a specialist in teaching Young Learners. She has a talent for getting the very best out of each of her students, and also helps other teachers to do the same. In the UK, she worked very closely with Estrid during the summer periods since 1995, organising housekeeping and administration, 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. In 2013 Estrid retired. Carmen’s experience, organisational skills and caring nature ensure the students continue to be very well looked after. She is also a fantastic cook!
What I most like about Echo is its size – small! The atmosphere is much more like a large family than a school. 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 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.