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

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hull's School Zurich Switzerland

It's been a bad day. The bloody yak had to be put down after it hurtled down one of the Black slopes in Val Ferret, totally out of control and shot over a particularly sheer drop, landing with a nasty splat on the valley floor. Just knew those cucumber skis wouldn't bear the weight! No problem I'll get another one to continue the eighty day TEFL journey around the world.
The Inspector feels a bit of a tease this morning and has therefore decided to tease a school out of the woodwork.
For those of his regular readers, Cicero Languages International of Tonbridge Wells, will be a familiar name. Some shenanigans had gone on donkeys years ago in Russia, of which nobody currently working at the school strangely remembered anything. The new owner, Christopher Hills, can count himself extremely lucky to have been removed from The TEFL Blacklist, as his initial response was aggressive to say the least.
Not one to be vindictive (as you well know), The Inspector took note of the consequent outpourings of devotion from the Cicero Languages International staff and decided that the evidence against the school was not strong enough to deserve a blacklisting, but nevertheless he was deeply suspicious of the pompous tone emanating from Christopher Hills.
So what is the connection with Hull's School Zurich Switzerland you are no doubt asking yourselves. Well to put it bluntly, can a Hull be a Hill?
Is Robin Hull of the same ilk as Christopher Hills? Is he simply someone who enjoys trophy collecting and inspecting other schools, with the ego trip that this provides, or is he just a nice misunderstood bloke? Maybe Christopher Hills is a member of Greenpeace and donates to Doctor Barnados but I personally have my doubts, unfair as they may seem to Mr. Hills & Co.
Well we'll find out by flushing Mr. Robin Hull out!
The Inspector came across Hull's School, the other day during a day trip to Zurich, and decided to post it here partly because Hull's School seems to be obsessed with badge collection, you know member of this and that, all designed to impress and partly because Hull's School is a member of International House! Read this:

How do you recognise a good language school?
Good language schools have one or more of the following quality seals:
• International House
• Bell ’s
EAQUALS (European Association of Quality Language Services)
• British Council (nur für Schulen in England)

What guarantees do these quality seals entail?

Qualified teachers
• Goal-oriented and structured programmes of study
• Individual learner support
• State-of-the-art facilities (including a self-access centre)
• Efficient administration
• Veracity of any information provided in the school’s publicity
• Professional placement of new students

So what's missing?

Yup absolutely no mention whatsoever about the poor mugs at the coal face - the teachers. Who honestly gives a stuff whether a language school has Bell's approval, or for that matter Johnny Walker's or Teacher's. None of these badges seem to tell you anything about how they treat their teachers. Your beloved Inspector is fed up reading about these "quality seals" which are about as much use as performing seals, in telling you anything meaningful about a school. It's mostly propaganda designed to push up sales. And guess what? The punters fall for it like lemmings.

The final straw for The Inspector was this passage:
"Robin Hull, himself a long-standing member and a school inspector of both International House and EAQUALS has visited most of the schools personally."
Most? What about visiting ALL of them squire?

If you want to pay Hull's School a visit they can be found at:
Hull's School
Seehofstrasse 3
8008 Zürich

A bizarre element is their slogan "Zurich's Downtown International School". Considering how much they witter on about the Cambridge exams, it seems an unusual lapse into American English. Perhaps the eminent Robin Hull is American, or perhaps he's just trying to sound cool.

P.S For those of you wondering, The Inspector's photo in his profile was taken when he was a much younger Police Constable (plain clothes). He was known in the Force as a bit of a ladies man, which unfortunately led to the break up of his sixth marriage to Lady Florence McHammered. The Inspector would like to take this opportunity to vehemently deny the scurrilous allegations published in The Times concerning a scuba diving outfit, riding whip and a certain Miss B. Ondage (apparently known as Big Bertha).

Click here for the soundtrack.

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Val Ferret, Switzerland