A Caring School
Ever since Chris and Sarah Etchells set up English Country Schools over 30 years ago they have made the personal care and safety of pupils paramount. ECS is now a much bigger school - sufficient to provide a full and varied programme but still small enough to provide consistent care and individual attention for every pupil. Chris and Sarah still live in the school during the summer to oversee the smooth running of the course and you will often see them talking to pupils, getting to know them and checking on progress..
Sarah is Co-Chair of an organisation called Young Learners English UK that encourages excellence in the care and education of children visiting the UK to learn English. Her particular remit is Welfare and she had helped to drive higher standards of child safeguarding across the profession, including better risk assessments and safer recruitment.
At ECS pupils are divided into three age groups. This makes it easier to provide a programme suitable for each age group while ensuring a level of care appropriate to each child’s age. Younger pupils are closely supervised while older pupils have more independence, but still with the support and supervision they need when required.
Parents can follow the progress of their child during the course through the school’s proprietary on-line reporting system: house parents, teachers, activity staff and the pupils themselves all contribute, building a complete picture of each child's participation and progress on the course.
Port Regis is fortunate in being set in large grounds in beautiful countryside, well away from the traffic and distractions of town or city. The campus provides a safe, green, healthy backdrop for a wide range of outdoor activities.
The school makes use of the rural setting to strengthen the pupils’ connection with nature and is proud of its track record of environmental responsibility, for example eliminating single-use plastics and being one of the first schools to offset carbon emissions for the flights of every child. In fact, Chris is leading an industry effort to encourage environmental good practice in UK English language schools.
As Chris says, ‘At ECS we care deeply about our pupils and the world they will inhabit in the future. We always ask ourselves what we would want for our own children and embed that care in everything we do.’