So, ever wondered how Concorde International came about, well you are about to find out all about its history and how it became such a success!
Concorde was established legally in Nov 1972 by Colin Stone and two other shareholders, one of whom was a French businessman from Sens who had worked with Colin on a summer programme in the summer of 1972. The name ‘Concorde’ was selected as an Anglo French title “bringing people together” - additionally the Concorde aeroplane also took off in 1972 for its maiden flight - breaking the sound barrier. Concorde International’s vision was to “break the language barrier”.
The first cohort of students - 30 French teenagers- arrived for the Summer School in July 1973 accompanied by the French business partner. Students were accommodated in Darwin College on the University of Kent campus where Colin had graduated in Law.
Many of the first students came from Reims (a French city twinned with Canterbury), and from Sens - the town which also had an historical link with Canterbury as William of Sens was responsible for re-designing the Westgate Towers in Canterbury in the 12th Century.
One of the early students Christophe le Sech from Sens subsequently sent his teenage son to the Canterbury Summer school in 2011 - ensuring another generation continued the great experience of learning English with Concorde International!
Year Round Programme in Folkestone
In 1975 the partner retired and the School then started recruiting students from across Europe for the summer programme. It was decided to set up a year round programme with homestay families providing accommodation in Folkestone, this destination was particularly popular at that time with German groups who would arrive by train from all parts of Germany.
Colin Stone took the RSA Diploma to teach English as a Foreign Language, and then worked marketing extensively in France, Italy, Spain, and Germany.
Many of the agents from that time became firm friends and loyal clients- indeed they and their successors still represent the School. Some of even came to the 40th Anniversary luncheon in December 2012.
Concorde International Study Centre in Folkestone flourished for 18 years under the leaders of Mrs Jean King and an excellent team of teachers, however it was decided that the Study Centre should be amalgamated with the year round Business School in Canterbury - since in the winter months more and more students preferred to study in Canterbury.
Happily Mrs King and the teaching team elected to drive to Canterbury and some of those teachers are still with our Canterbury team today! The team includes Sandie Warren who trained with Concorde as a teacher many years ago and is now the Director of Teacher Training for the Cambridge CELTA programmes. Each year more than 60 Cambridge CELTA trainees graduate with Concorde International, going on to teach for the Summer Schools and then for overseas schools in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
The story of Concorde International has been one of steady growth, built on personal contacts, a reputation for quality teaching, and a loyal team of teachers and administrative staff, many of whom have worked the School for more than 20years.
Students recognise that their progress is carefully assessed and that they can achieve their aim to speak with confidence and understand both their English families and their fellow students who now arrive from more than 40 different countries - truly an international experience.
To meet the increasing demand for young learners and junior programmes, the choice of summer school destination has expanded to include not just Canterbury and Folkestone but also Ashford, Broadstairs, Cambridge, Rochester, London, and Worcester in the heart of England.
Accommodation is offered with selected homestay families or in traditional English boarding Schools and university halls of residence. These summer schools combine English classes in the mornings with an integrated activity programme in the afternoons and evenings. Excursions for local sightseeing and trips to London are all part of the cultural language experience - with many students returning the following summer to visit another destination.
Home Tuition Courses
Alongside the development of English Plus programmes and summer school has been the development of the Home Tuition courses which now offer opportunities.
Alongside the development of English Plus programmes and international summer schools has been the development of the Home Tuition courses enabling students to learn English and experience the culture of the country while living in the home of their teacher. This very popular option has been extended with carefully selected homestay teachers in the United States, Australia, Canada, Hawaii and Malta.
Students take One to One classes with their teacher and can join in activities and excursions with the family.
This concept has been very successful for busy managers seeking an intensive study programme which effectively meets their particular needs in business and social communication.
Many younger students also take advantage of the intensive One to One study to prepare for school and university entry. The study programme is carefully checked and monitored by local Coordinators in each country to ensure maximum progress and student satisfaction.
The School celebrated its 40th Anniversary with the launch of our E- learning programme.Fully tested and updated this programme enables student to prepare on line before their course starts and to reinforce with practice lessons on their return home - providing a fully integrated learning experience.
If you’d like to explore Canterbury and improve your English, get in touch today on +44 (0) 1227 451035 or send us a message to ask about booking. Places always go fast so don’t wait too long – you can even book your place now with our downloadable form.