Some clips of Flight of the Conchords. "Business Time" and "Jenny" are partcularly great. Two very talented and funny Kiwis!

Flight of the Conchords


Monday, May 22, 2006

East London School of English [UPDATED]

A recent contribution to the list...

This school sacked me from my DOS position for gross misconduct. So what had I done? Deleted my personal emails. Yes, honestly, that was it. Apparently, that is 'destruction of company property' and therefore qualifies as 'gross misconduct'. Incidentally, it happened just as my salary was supposed to increase (as negotiated when I started there). And legally, could I do anything? Of course not - I had been employed (in London) for less than a year, which meant I had fewer rights than a goldfish.

Thanks very much! Please keep these comments coming...



Thanks for your support, Sandy. I did contact a solicitor, but as I had been employed under a year, I had no rights at all! I threatened to take the school to an industrial tribunal and frightened them a bit, but that was all I could do.

Things were not much better for the teachers there. They were paid no holiday pay, which should be illegal now, but the boss got round that by saying that it was already included in their measly £10 per hour. The teachers had to buy their own tea and coffee, and I had to constantly monitor the counter on the photocopier to check they weren't doing too many photocopies.

Students had to pay for anything they asked the office for, i.e letters of attendance (£15 and was due to go up to £25) and bank letters (£15), and the boss even tried to introduce a charge for giving students the transport for london oyster card application forms!! He would also come up with any excuse he could think of for not refunding fees in cases where students had their visas refused.

The boss was just soooo mean. When I first arrived, I suggested that we add a 79p box of biros to the stationary order I was doing- he refused, saying that we 'acquired' pens. What he probably meant was, everytime he went to the bank he could pinch a load! I am so glad I don't work there anymore!


Inspector McHammered of the Lard

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The TEFL Blacklister said...

The ELSE have tried to get the thread about them pulled from Dave's ESL Cafe - and with some success, unfortunately!

But here it will remain.


Audrey said...


I am not sure if this is the right place to express my opinion but I believe you have your right to say what you think, so as an ex-employee myself I'll do the same. The Principal is a very nice man. I have to say I have learnt a lot from him. If he sacked you there must have been a very good reason. It is ridiculous what people will do out of desperation! Anyone who is sacked would try to defend themselves but that is not a reason to throw dirt at others.

It seems your problem that you interpret things incorrectly (maybe the reason why you were sacked). No-one can be sacked for deleting personal emails, so it must have been some other reason, which I notice you don't mention, nor do you give your name. I worked very closely with the Principal for over a year and the idea he would sack someone for no reason is simply not at all credible. I enjoyed my time there and if you think he is so stingy why did he buy me a £100 present? I find this idea about the pens laughable. When I worked there, like in any school, there are lots of them lying around. Why should anyone buy stuff that’s not necessary? Anyway, pens at the banks are usually chained, aren’t they?

Most people would feel ashamed of what they did and keep quiet about it or if they had a case at least have the courage of their convictions and put a name to their post.

Let me just say one more thing – if the school were so bad why would the same teachers come back to work there?

Actually thinking about it

Audrey (and my name IS Audrey)

Ex PA to the Principal

The TEFL Blacklister said...

Hi Audrey,

Thanks for your comments. You're welcome to try and put the other side of the case, although I do find some of your reasoning a bit lame - "If he sacked you, there must be a very good reason"! I can see why you didn't take up a career in law...

And as you're an ex-PA, you can be expected to defend your boss - especially if a good reference depends on it! However, your comment that "Most people would feel ashamed of what they did and keep quiet about it" explains exactly why your former boss has threatened the former teacher in question with legal action!


Anna said...

As an ex-employee I would like to express an opinion here. I worked there from the start and also returned after a travel break. I wouldn't hesitate to return should I wish to work in a London language school again. I enjoyed the atmosphere and worked closely with the pricipal. The pay was as stated and that's what I accepted when I interviewed. I chose to work there because I was happy there. I loved the atmosphere, environment and students. I would agree with Audrey (whom I worked with on my return) that money was spent according to the considered need. In workplaces this is often a matter open to interpretation, though I believe that the principal always acted responsibly. I believe that the school was set up with the intention of providing quality lessons at affordable rates. And I honestly believe that this is being achieved.
Perhaps your expectations went beyond what was actually offered in the first place.
I am sorry that you are having trouble accepting that you were sacked. It HAS happened and I hope you are able to MOVE ON and find/have found a suitable new position.
(Marketing assistant 2003 & teacher 2004-5).

The TEFL Blacklister said...

Well, there you go - two in favour and one against the ELSE! However, it has not escaped even my puny un-eagle-eye that none of the people who are defending the school were actually working at the school at the time the alleged dismissal took place. They are both ex-employees who were probably 'invited' to make their postings by - I wonder who??!!

Would any current employees care to shed some light on the matter?If they haven't been 'invited' already, I'd like to ask them to do so.

The TEFL Blacklister said...

The nice boss at ELSE has threatened to prosecute for 'defamation'. Why is he running so scared? He must have something to cover up - I wonder what??!

Jamieson said...

The ELSE saga will be continuing here:-

Give it a try - you might just like it!

Anonymous said...

Let me put this very plainly. A manager was sacked for gross misconduct. This decision was upheld and the decision was not appealed against despite the person being given three opportunites to do so, and of course it was not taken to a tribunal as the evidence was indisputable. Since then (18 months ago) she has been trying to damage the school by all means at her disposal.

Let us review the type of manager we are talking about here:

An inability to work out which staff were teaching at which times,
appalling record keeping skills so it wasn't known which students were on which courses,
annoying students and teachers by bursting into classes to make silly annnouncements,
losing essential documents,
leaving the school unlocked in the evening,
not coming to work on several occasions when there was a bit of snow,
locking herself in the school at 8.45am with students and teachers waiting outside,
endless downloading and playing of games instead of organising classes,
so disorganised that basic tasks like creating documents left undone,
time wasting so students withdraw from courses,
never following up enquiries,
refusing to collect fees from students and suggesting that we should never give refunds,
giving students and agents the wrong prices.
So it could go on and on into more minor things such as ordering 1000 spoons for some unknown reason, creating incomprehensible administrative systems, smashing coffee pots, breaking locks and pulling off door handles. Luckily she was very rarely left in charge and if so there were administrative assistants to keep an eye on her.

For none of the above was any sort of action taken bar discussion but when she started destroying files to cover her tracks, that was too much and of course for the good of everybody she was dismissed. I really would have thought you of all people would thoroughly approve of this action.

I used to think it correct that those who behave badly or criminally should be exposed as you do (and as I have also done on several occasions) but one can't possibly lend any credence to your assertions made about schools or managers unless they are confirmed by other parties. You won't find your assertions confirmed by anyone as far as this school is concerned no matter how far you "dig." Our student feedback is extremely positive (on record) and the number of staff who come back to work here proves that most people are pretty happy here and have been over a considerable period of time (barring the time when a certain DOS was employed here)

I simply don't understand why you are directing a campaign of hate based on the "evidence" of a DOS dismissed for gross misconduct and no other evidence whatsoever.
I would have thought you would approve of a bad DOS being made redundant?
I really don't know what you want. You criticise schools, managers and now it seems you are criticising teachers.
Why do you hate everyone so? What exactly is your agenda? Are you ill?
Have you ever heard of "the lost honour of Katerina Blum?"
Don't you think if you are going to spend all this time on a project it might be worth checking out the validity of your assertions?

Why don't you come and visit the school and see a lot of nice people having a good time? Or will you be too busy inventing lies and being unpleasant to everyone?
I believe Hitler followed exactly the same modus operandi.

East London School

Jamieson said...

Oh dear, another anonymous plonker has risen to the bait. Let me elaborate, please...

Firstly, there are several hundred EFL schools in the UK, and those that come in for the Sandy treatment are but a very small minority. So I hardly feel that there is any truth in your assertion that people might believe that they are all bad.

Likewise your statement that I sling mud around indiscriminately and irresponsibly. I'm very careful as to where my shit goes, and there has to be a reason for it. Usually I get alerted by somebody else, a (former) teacher or such. And I believe firmly in the 'no smoke without fire' approach to life - anything wrong with that?

Your final comments are entirely risible. Do you really think I'd reveal the true facts of my whereabouts, past and present, and thus place myself in danger?! Most of those 'facts' were designed to be a smokescreen, really.
4WD?! Russia??! Don't make me laugh!!

And no, I'm not going to pull your little article, as it makes you look a lot more foolish than you think!!