The newest members of the English UK Board are both ELT school owners with a long history in the business.
Spencer Fordham and Chris Moonie were elected in one of the most contested votes for years, and are looking forward to their first English UK Board meeting in June.
Chris is the director of the Mackenzie School of English in Edinburgh, which he founded in 2008, while Spencer is managing director of the Capital School of English, which he founded with his wife Paulina in 2003.
Board members who are innovators in UK ELT
Both are also innovators, with Chris recently moving his school into a larger, iconic building and expanding to include adult learners while Spencer launched Future Success in January, two-week programmes to encourage students to collaborate, share and innovate on real-world projects.
Meet Board member Spencer
Spencer came into ELT after ten years in advertising and marketing with a national newspaper, and met his wife in his first language school job when she was one of the students. He is proud of his latest venture which engages local businesses and schools with international English students and believes it is important that the Board includes member who have started and grown their own businesses.
"I am there to listen – I have a lot of other experience and I am not completely out of the loop academically. I think it will be incredibly worthwhile to be involved at this level and hope the trickle down of decisions made collectively in London will positively affect the industry and my own school. It could be a very strategic opportunity for everyone involved in and around my local area too – they did put me forward for this.
"Hopefully I'll be an asset for the next three years – and if the government wants a fight, bring it on!"
Meet Board member Chris
Chris had a background in youth work before moving into ELT, which influenced the way he developed Mackenzie. "We were pioneers in some ways, keeping the school open seven days a week and during the evenings so the kids had somewhere to hang out and be safe and relaxed," he said. That focus on student welfare is now to be turned on his staff, with ambitious plans for the next couple of years. I want to create an environment where not only our students are having amazing experiences but our staff are too, and that they are happy and have a positive work-life balance - that's my strategy," he said.
After ten years he feels established and confident enough to be on the Board, with enough knowledge and experience to contribute positively, he says. He wants to see more unity between England and Scotland, for English UK to drive forward on more international campaigns such as English is GREAT, and to ensure the right visa outcomes post-Brexit.
"Mackenzie has been known as innovators and risk-takers and I think we can use something like that on the Board – we need to take risks, positive risks, be confident and know we're good. We're in challenging times at the moment and we need people on the board that are going to drive things forward in the right areas and I think I can help with that. It's a time of revolution, and I want to be a part of that." previous entry << >> next entry