Buzz of activity as students return to English at Margate language school – The Isle Of Thanet News
The classrooms and outdoor areas of the English in Margate language school are packed with students from all over the world.
After a virtual shutdown during the two years of the pandemic and associated restrictions, the Hawley Square property is now back in full swing with between 60 and 130 youth and adult students each week.
For students, it’s a place where they can improve their English skills and explore Thanet and beyond. For the school, it’s a return to business, to hiring staff, and to knowing that they help people grow and learn.
And for Thanet, it’s a huge boost to the local economy and a chance to learn about other countries and cultures from visitors.
English language schools play an important role in the visitor economy in Thanet, creating jobs and supporting large numbers of host families.
In 2013, the total revenue associated with study visits in the district was estimated at £47.8 million, and around £6.3 million was paid to around 2,800 host families in the district. Total student expenditure at Thanet was estimated at £33.6 million, which equates to an average daily expenditure of £67.95 per day per student, including their tuition fees. These visits also supported approximately 1,000 jobs.
Figures from the 2020 Economic Impact Assessment Report, released this year, do not cover language schools as the pandemic has resulted in an extended period of closure. However, the tourism industry as a whole for Thanet saw its value estimated at £126,266,000.
Adam Wilton, from Ramsgate, opened the language school in 1995 having been in the industry since 1986.
For him, the history of the Grade II listed site means that the circle is complete. He said: ‘When this building came up for sale it belonged to the MoD and was a drill hall. Long before that it was connected to the Theater Royal and was the Sarah Thorne School for Actors, so it has come full circle and is now a school again.
“I grew up in Thanet so it has a place in my heart and I love bringing young and mature students to the area and showing them what a great place it is and what it has to offer. ”
And, Adam and his team are thrilled to see the students returning after the covid-enforced break.
Adam said: ‘It’s been a weird two years, shaking the building alone, so good to bring people back, to be busy and to help revive the local economy after a few lean years.
“Language schools are an essential part of tourism in Thanet, they bring in a lot of money through things like coaches, homestays, employment, expenses. I would say the students are the backbone of tourism in Thanet.
Activities manager Patrick Grant says the language school is also helping to increase Thanet’s popularity and profile, as well as bringing multiculturalism to the district.
Ramsgate resident Patrick, 35, added: ‘It’s a great job. We work with people all over the world and are constantly learning new things. To see people improve and learn, and to see them come back, it’s beautiful.
“Adult leaders are making friends around the world and having such multiculturalism here means people are becoming more open-minded.”
What the students say
Emilien Kohaanicki, 22, from France: “I’ve been in Margate for a month and I’m studying basic English to improve for my engineering degree. We have to spend 12 weeks in other countries for the degree.
“Margate has a lovely beach and I’ve spent a lot of time in the city and have also been to Canterbury, Ashford, Ramsgate and London.”
Pierre Machat, 23, from France: “I like this (school) for the teaching, the different activities and the meeting with many people of different nationalities. I’m staying with a family in Broadstairs and it’s nice to discover other (towns) and it’s good to talk to the people back home as it’s very good practice to talk and listen to help me improve my English.”
Bastien Tiset, 21, from France: “It’s very good to be here to talk. In France we have a teacher but they are French so they don’t have a British accent. It’s better here because the teacher is British.
“Being here helps me to improve my speaking thanks to the contact with the British. The southern accent is easier to understand for foreign visitors.
Group leader Andrada Stiibei, 21, from Spain, is responsible for a group of 19 young teenagers. She said: “I have traveled with them from Spain and making sure they are safe and happy. Thanet is quite small but that means you can go anywhere and there are so many things to do, like going to the beach.
“They are here to learn English and have classes in the morning. They stay with families and practice their English both at school and also at home where they have to communicate with their host family in English.
All host families are subject to a full DBS enhanced disclosure, gas safety check and will be visited by one of the school’s accommodation teams. If you would like to host a student, email [email protected] or find the school online at https://www.leolanguages.com/