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

Flight of the Conchords

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Concorde International, UK

Here's another fine contribution to the list from Teflexpert. And this time, it' s one I can actually corroborate!

I worked for Concorde as a DOS in Canterbury one year. The age limit for students was 9 - 18, but we had a couple of six year old twins that turned up. We were told from higher up the food chain that we had to accept them, but we didn't realise that one of them had severe behavioural problems. She was impossible to teach, and eventually she installed herself in a metal cupboard and banged noisily on the sides all the way through a lesson, reducing her inexperienced summer school teacher to tears. When I managed to drag her out of the cupboard, she attacked me. Bruised and battered, (me, not her!) I dragged her to the staff room and she actually bit me so badly several times on the way that I had to go to A & E for a tetanus jab later.

We stood her in a corner in the staffroom, but if we took our eyes off her for a second she would go on the rampage and either destroy anything she could get her hands on or use things as convenient weapons against us. I refused to have her in the lessons - if I couldn't cope with her with all my experience, how could a new EFL teacher be expected to? I got no support whatsoever from higher up however, and was eventually told, with just a few days' notice, there would be no more work for me, and that the child would be allowed into class as before.

Yes, that sounds like the typical Concorde nightmare! I actually worked for them on a Summer school around 10 or 12 years back, and things were much the same then. There were several examples of Concorde's reckless attitude to the welfare of their children (and staff!) that I can recall.

For starters, underaged children arrived before the course had even begun - there were no staff and no facilities available for them! Even worse, busloads of children would arrive at our centre, as it had a pool, but completely unannounced. As the host school had refused to give us a key to the pool, we all had to scurry round and find some attractive activity for them to do. And I do remember one of the Big Cheeses being an extremely neurotic wiry old woman, who would call me up and shout at me for being disorganised!!

Awful company, awful experience - avoid like the proverbial plague!!

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Inspector McHammered of the Lard
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3 comments:

lolwhites said...

Allowing a child with behavioural problems into a classroom without qualified supervision must surely be a clear breach of Health and Safety law; if she had injured anyone (staff, pupils or herself), the school could (should) have had their asses sued off. In fact, just by not consulting with employees on H&S matters, Concorde International were probably acting illegally; employers can't hide behind the "no employee rights for the first 12 months" rule when it comes to H&S

Check out the ACAS website for booklets about workplace legislation.

Jamieson said...

For an equally ragged outfit, try my blog:-

http://eastlondonschool.blogspot.com

It might just be to your liking!

mcowans79 said...

It sounds like you guys had a bad time at Concorde, but my experience there was completely different - maybe things have changed.

I worked as a Course Director (£475/week! - much higher than most summer schools that I've encountered), teachers only had to work on 4 or 5 social activities (compared to 8 or 9 in previous schools I've worked for!) and there were masses of materials to use...it was all good.
Also, and this can't be said of many summer schools, all teachers and summer workers were paid all of their holiday pay.
I have to say that from my experience I would recommend them.