Quality language schools worldwide

Interview with Andrew Edwards from LSI Portsmouth

16/05/2013


LSI Portsmouth
(Language Specialists International)


About the school
LSI Portsmouth offers courses in:
- General English
- IELTS
- Cambridge Exam Preparation
- Executive and Professional Programmes
- University Pre-Sessional preparation

About Portsmouth
Portsmouth is a lively university city on the sunny south coast of England, just 90 minutes from London and with excellent flight and ferry links to continental Europe.


DID YOU KNOW?
Andrew Edwards is Chair of the IALC Best Practice Committee.


Favourite travel destination?
Travel is one of my biggest passions in life, so anywhere really, but if I had to say one it would be Italy since I lived and taught there and can speak the language. As a lover of sunshine, art, food and wine, the attractions are clear.

Favourite pastime?
Reading, running and supporting the Welsh rugby team.

Favourite meal?
Anything my wife Wendy cooks (in case she’s reading this!), but fresh fish and seafood would be my number one choice. I’m also rather dangerously fond of sweet puddings and cakes…

Dream dinner guest(s)?
My Dad, who I miss every single day and was both a friend and mentor to me, my darling daughter Emily, who’s currently teaching in Hanoi, her boyfriend Alex, my wife, mother and brother.
Fantasy guests – James Joyce, to drink with and talk books, Charlie Parker (with saxophone in hand preferably!), to talk jazz, and David Rudisha, to learn how he was able to run quite that fast at the London Olympics. Strange companions, I know…



This month, we speak to Andrew Edwards, Principal of LSI Portsmouth who tells us about the school and how it feels to be part of IALC.

Q: Hello Andrew, when did you join IALC and why?
I was already a member of IALC for many years with my previous school, the wonderful ELC Bristol, and now that I’ve joined the equally fantastic LSI Portsmouth it’s great to still be part of the IALC family for so many reasons. To be able to share ideas and best practice with so many experienced and like-minded people around the world is something I value massively. What makes an organisation it its people, and the people in IALC are really special.

Q: How does it feel to be part of this exclusive global community of quality language schools?
It’s a real pleasure and a privilege, to be honest. For me, despite IALC’s growth over the years, it still feels like being part of an exclusive and very supportive group of friends who are all working towards the same goal – to make their school as good as it can possibly be and to give their students the time of their lives. IALC is also great fun too and the annual workshop is always the highlight of my social calendar! (Anyone who remembers Jude Hands and the rendition of ‘Hey Jude’ at the Toronto workshop last year will know exactly what I mean. Still very much a YouTube hit, I believe :-))
View the Toronto workshop videos>>

Q: How is 2013 going for you and how does it compare with last year?
Well, since last year I have taken over as Principal of LSI Portsmouth, so it’s a massive shift in my professional role. Even busier, would be the simple answer! But I also feel incredibly lucky to have been given this role at such a great school and am really happy, to be honest.

Q: LSI Portsmouth was established in 1985. How have things changed at the school since then?
The founders of the school, Allan and Peter Gray, have done a wonderful job in building up a school of real quality and have now handed over management of the school to me (although Allan’s still with us on a part-time basis), so that has inevitably brought with it many internal changes and there are many new things I and the team have introduced in recent months.

Q: What are your main aims for LSI Portsmouth?
To make the school as good as it can be in every way. To continue building on the amazing work that Peter and Allan have done over the years and to make things even better if I can. We are currently running our first ever Cambridge CPE and CAE classes, are just about to open our second self-catering student house and have recently introduced a free Job Club to help students find work in the UK, as well as having an agreement with the University of Portsmouth for our students to join the university union clubs and societies. My main aim in all of this is to keep all our staff, students and agents as happy with us and as stimulated by who we are and what we do as I possibly can.

Q: Where do the majority of your students come from?
This fluctuates very much from week to week, but our current largest countries are Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, China and Japan.

Q: What are your most popular student activities?
Saturday excursions to places like London, Oxford, Brighton, etc., school parties and bowling.

Q: Finally, what would you say are the main benefits of learning English at LSI Portsmouth?
Our biggest strength is our staff – we have some amazingly gifted teachers and executive trainers and all our support staff take care of you in the best possible way. The school is large and dynamic and our focus is on academic quality. We’ve got a wide range of courses to suit every individual – Executive English programmes, General English, examination courses and University Pre-sessional programmes, and we’re also an official IELTS test centre. The city is lively and fun too – lots of university students, bars, cafes and restaurants, and the sea on three sides too (great fish restaurants!) – what more could you want!



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