For the first time ever children at our summer vacation courses have made their very own radio show. This has been broadcast as a part of our award-winning Radio show – UICLondonRadio – www.uiclondonradio.com and you can listen to the show they made there. Over the next few weeks we will be helping our studens to make more programmes and we will be broadcasting them over the coming weeks. The radio shows are an ongoing part of what we do at our school in London, student following our ‘Communication Station’ course learn how to make radio programmes and make a new one every week. These are also broadcast on the website and some are available for downloads as podcasts.
Archive for the ‘Summer schools for children and teens’ Category
This week has seen one of the great traditional British sporting events taking place. Ascot is one of the world’s famous horse racing courses and during the week 15 – 19 June there is a series of races culminating in ‘Royal Ascot’ on Saturday 19th June. One of the Queen’s homes is in Windsor – which is only a few miles from Ascot, and so it has become traditional during this week for the Queen and other members of the Royal family to attend the races – sometimes even entering their own horses in the races. During the week – usually on the Wednesday is ladies day, when you can see the racegoers dressed in traditional clothes – top hats, morning coats and the women with the most spectacular hats. The Ascot website describes it “Royal Ascot is the ‘must do’ event of the summer social calendar. Steeped in tradition, the Royal Meeting attracts over 300,000 racegoers each year to view the splendour of five days of the finest horseracing, pageantry and fashion. It is, quite simply, the essential day out.” There is a dress code – you may find this useful if you want to go! “Ladies with a Grandstand Admission ticket are required to dress in a manner appropriate to a smart occasion. Many wear hats although this is not compulsory. Gentlemen in the Grandstand Admission area must wear a shirt and tie, preferably with a suit or jacket. Sports attire, jeans and shorts are strictly forbidden.” You might think it’s all the upper classes and their froneds – but actually it’s a pretty normal day out for those who like horseracing and dressing up – it’s not even too expensive to get in. The only danger of course is if you have a bet too many and lose too much – but then that’s one of the fun parts of a day out at the races. Why not give it a go and experience somethign very British.
And just down the road form the racecourse is the UIC summer school where form mid July to mid August we host around 250 children and teenagers from all around the world. So – there are 2 reasons to visit Ascot this year.
Every year we at UIC open a vacation course in the town of Ascot for children and young people to come and learn English in a residential environment. There are only 5 weeks until UIC Vacations starts and the final preparations are ongoing. This year we are sure that things in Ascot are going to be bigger and better than the last.
Ascot is a lovely town just 30 mins away from London. Here are some facts about the Town in Berkshire.
- Ascot is in the Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
- It is home to Ascot racecourse which has been a favourite of the Royal family since 1711. In that year while riding on Ascot Heath, Queen Anne decided it would be a perfect place for a racecourse.
- In June 2006 the Queen opened a new £185 million grandstand.
- One of the most expensive houses in Ascot cost £7.25 million and have an indoor pool and tennis court.
- Ascot is separated from Windsor by the vast green space that is Windsor Great Park which includes Virginia Water, a large lake.
- Guards Polo Club is near Ascot and is the most exclusive polo club in the world.
Ascot really is a lovely place to spend the summer and an even better place to learn English. We hope you can join us.
David Morrow is the UIC summer School administrator and also the Summer School Director of Studies. That’s a wide range of responsibilities but it does mean that many of you will have one reason or another to work with David during the year as well at the summer schools. David has a rather unusual working year – it begins in the spring when we start the registration process for the summer schools. This means working with agents and students from all over the world to help them register students for the 2 summer camps we run in Ascot and to give them the admin support they need after this. You might imagine it’s a simple process for an agent to sell a course and just give us a booking, but it is never simple. Students decide to come late, the occasional one drops out because they are ill, flights change, the UK government might decide at the last minute it needs more information for visas – in fact the whole situation is quite fluid (!) from April until June and it’s only really a few days before we get to Ascot that we’re certain who we’re really going to have studying with us there. Once the Summer camps begin David moves down to Ascot for 6 weeks to run the academic side of things – working with another DoS and a couple of assistants / senior teachers to make sure the academic programme is top quality. Although many of thestudents we have want to come to the UK for a holiday course, we do take the academic side of things very seriously and want to ensure students go back home with more English than they came with. David says that the reason he likes coming year after year to Ascot is to see the students grow and develop – and not just as people but with their language skills. David is qualified as an English language teacher, and also has a PGCE – qualifying him to teach in state schools in the UK, this specialised in the ‘middle years’ from 8-12, which is probably the largest age group we have in Ascot. After qualifying David decided not to take a full time job in a school, and has continued his career having a varied (but interesting) life which as well as working at UIC includes teaching on a winter camp in Korea for a month in January and continuing to hone his skills working in a corporate office environment form September until Christmas. So, all in all no chance to get bored – the year divided up into nice different chunks and the opportunity to develop different skills. This gives UIC something quite unique!
Apart from working David likes swimming, and his favourite songs for the summer are” There must be an Angel” by the Eurythmics and “Walking On sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves.
If you’d like to see David in action then come on down to Ascot this summer. If you’d like to know more about the courses then have a looka t our website.
The British Council Accreditation Scheme is probably the best known scheme for reporting on quality in language schools in the world. The UK was at the forefront of a voluntary accreditation scheme for private language schools – originally the government directly ran the scheme (as the Department for Education) until the British Council took over the scheme in the early 1980s. The process is still voluntary, but following some major changes to the visa situation in the UK which were introduced last April (2009) it has effectively become impossible to operate a language school in the UK without being accredited. It is only as an accredited school that you can now be one on the UKBA (UK Government) list of sponsors, and it is only possible to issue documentation where students can apply for student visas by being on the list of sponsors. So you can see how important it is to be accredited.
The actual accreditation scheme covers all the aspects of running a language school – the inspections are carried out at least every 4 years and in between inspections schools are expected to provide information and make sure they follow the regulations. There are 3 main areas in the inspection – Management, teaching and Learning, Welfare and Student Services. If you are interested you can look at the BC website and see the detailed inspection criteria.
We think that what is really important about the scheme is that it sets a standard. It is very difficult to compare different schools – for example trying to compare a small school in a country town to a big school in the middle of London is not easy but at least withthe BC Accreditation scheme you can be sure that some things will be guaranteed – for example teachers will have minimum qualifications, the school is managed in a professional way, the publicity describing the school is fair and accurate, the premises are safe and suitable for the kinds of activities. It also guarantees that if a student or an agent has a problem with the school that there is a mechanism for complaints and for guaranteeing that these are looked at seriously. During the inspection there will be at least 2 inspectors who will watch all the teachers, visit accommodation and talk to all the management and admin staff in the school. UIC has 2 accreditations – one for the main school in London and also a separate one for our summer school for teenagers and children. Even though it is not necessary for our summer school (none of the courses are longer than 3 weeks!) we choose to be a part of the scheme as we feel it gives not only the public a guarantee of quality but helps us to focus on being as good as we can. In addition to the BC, UIC is also a member of English UK which is the association for language schools (both private and public) in the UK and which offers further guarantees to students and support. English UK says ” English UK is the world’s leading language teaching association with more than 400 members – all accredited by the British Council – including private language schools, educational trusts and charities and language centres in further education colleges and universities.”
So, if you are interested in quality you need look no further than the accreditations and memberships that UIC has. We are:
Accredited by the British Council (both centres)
A member of English UK (both centres)
UK Border Agency Sponsor – number FPVW2PXQ3
It is not just a vacation. It is a UIC vacation.
I speak on behalf of the activity staff when I say that the UIC vacation course is not just great for the students; it is our vacation too, and we enjoy it just as much as they do! In my opinion the UIC junior vacation courses are the best language courses in the world. They are a great opportunity to experience a vast variety of cultures from all over the world and create a wide network of lifelong friends. The work that the activity staff team does is both rewarding and really good fun. The activity staff plan and carry out a wide selection of games and entertainment for the students when they are not learning the English language. Not only that, the activity staff have the important job of bringing the camp to life and it is great to see so much energy and enthusiasm in one place.
This is a short blog about who I am and what I do when I am not on UIC vacation. I have a Masters Degree in Physics from the University of Nottingham and I now work full time in radar design and development. I look forward to going to work every day; the work is both enjoyable and challenging, and I get to design some really cool and sophisticated inventions! I am motivated to work hard by the reward of creating a world class piece of modern technology which can do things people only dreamed of about ten years ago.
I am a very outgoing person and like all types of outdoor sports. My passion is mountaineering and I spend much of my free time walking and climbing in any mountain region I can. Last year I went to the French Alps to experience some really big mountains. It was an exciting and inspiring experience; some of the best weeks of my life. Imagine climbing the highest mountain in Europe, four thousand eight hundred metres straight up, under your own steam! The feeling when you reach the top is one of euphoria. I often think about going back when my motivation is waning. If that fails, the only thing left is to think about the next UIC vacation!
Vince, UIC Vacation Activity Staff Since 2006
My name is (St) Mary and I’ve been teaching with UIC Ascot Summer School for…let me count 1,2,3,4,5 Summers! Yeah, a true veteran as I am, I can share some thoughts with you on why I keep coming back there. Do you want to know why? Because no matter what the weather’s like (might be scorching, can be pouring) the atmosphere at St. Mary’s School brightens up your day for sure. It’s a golden chance to unwind and mellow out for up to 5 weeks from the daily grind of our lives, when we can’t get on stage as often as we can during the assembly mornings or fabulous theatrical/musical extravaganzas on the Camp .No buts about it; It’s a chance to not only teach/learn English language 24/7 in and outside of the classroom, but also get your cultural awareness on a top level of understanding through meeting and becoming friends with people from all over the world J. Not that I can complain about the luck of colourfully spirited events in my ‘Ascot-less’ time since I’ve lived in Italy for almost 3 years now. I must say Italy leaves me sometimes jaw-dropped in wonder. However, it also gives me an opportunity to evolve as a TEFL teacher, the concept of which seems to be quite a novelty here. To cut the long story short, since my Italian life makes me quite zapped sometimes, I always welcome the idea of a stress relieving, not excluding challenging job at St Mary’s Ascot Camp. So, without further ado, who wants to splash with a shower of smiles? Now, it’s time for me to say ciao, have a blooming Spring and hope to see you soon,
Veronica has worked with UIC at the summer schools for two years now.
I started at UIC in the summer of a gap year between College and University. I had been offered an unconditional at a music college to train in singing, but I felt I had to gain life experience before I started my degree. UIC was by far the most rewarding aspect of the jobs I had in my GAP year, which is why I found it very easy to return to the school after my first year of a hectic degree. There was a kept promise of fantastic, lovable children and imaginative, enthusiastic staff. Both would always keep you constantly entertained.
With the children, there was nothing that you didn’t enjoy, especially where you as a leader, with no particular interest in football, turn around to loving the sport, when playing with the fantastic young Turkish ladies; or when on a day trip around London, and whilst the students are mesmerised by the historic city, you still have the Georgian boys at the back of the line, helping you keep order because they find your job so exciting. I had to agree with them. The mixture of nationalities and languages helps you realise that you aren’t the only one communicating in a foreign language. As a musician, I was allowed and encouraged, with fellow staff member and legendary pianist Darren Sheridan, to hold music sessions with the students, which was a fantastic opportunity to see how talented these kids were. You were entertained by the members of staff singing and dancing to Blue and Elton John, the Beegees and B*Witched, but the stars of the night were definitely the fantastic quality of the Nigerian students singing Gospel. I was very nervous when I had to get up and sing for everyone when I knew they were straight after me, and I’m used to competition!
This type of quality and excitement in a job is why I will be returning next year.
Today – 2nd February - is Groundhog Day a traditional US festival! According to folklore, It is the day that the Groundhog (a small animal) comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow. If he sees it, he regards it as a sign of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole. If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground. You can find more detail on the ‘official’ website!
It’s a good thing we don’t have such a tradition in the UK – we’ve had quite enough of the winter (it’s been the coldest January for 23 years) and we are happy now to be seeing some signs of spring!
Groundhog day is probably better known becasue of the 1993 film in which Bill Murray is forced to live the same day over and over until he can give up his selfishness.
In the UK there are similar traditions concerning the weather – perhaps the most well-known is St Swithuns Day (July 15th) where it is claimed that if it rains on that day it will rain for the next 40 days! That’s right in the middle of the UIC summer camp so we will have our fingers crossed that day!
Jon has worked with us in Ascot for 2 years now
UIC is a fantastic organisation to work for; I have had the pleasure of working in the summer camp for UIC for two years now. I have been an activity leader and a team leader both highly rewarding and enjoyable jobs. UIC also sponsored me to go volunteering in Peru in which I went with a group of students from Leeds Metropolitan University, we had to raise a thousand pounds each before we went. I lived in a refuge for 5 weeks in Peru looking after the children, helping them with their school work and teaching them English. I also set up a wide variety of activities such as football, volleyball, cricket, basketball, arts and crafts and outdoor adventures activities to name a few these activities helped keep the children fit and active but more importantly have fun enjoyable experiences. The experience I got from working at Ascot with students from all over the globe helped me with the language barrier in Peru and therefore helped me communicate with the children better. Furthermore while the students were at school, we went to a local shanty town to help build a soup kitchen from scratch, the thousand pounds each we raised went towards building cost and labour. It was very hard work but highly rewarding and the surrounding community will really benefit from it. I’m so grateful for the sponsorship UIC gave me because without it I wouldn’t have been able to help so many people out in Peru, it shows how much UIC is willing to help so many other people and countries enhance their future prospects.