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Our School

John Eckersley established Eckersley School of English with his business partner in 1955, and it was one of the first English language schools in the city. The school was initially located near the Ashmolean Museum, in a building with three classrooms and offered a General English course, an Intensive English course, as well as Exam Preparation.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s the demand for English language courses grew considerably and the school was often full to capacity. The school expanded in 1963, renting another building across the road, before moving to its current premises in Friars Entry 11 years later in 1974, where it remains today.

The courses have developed over its 60 year history to reflect the needs of the modern language learner, and the school now offers a range of courses called Octorial programmes, including Exam Preparation courses and specific subject studies for students looking to progress in their academic and professional career.

John Eckersley and the ethos of the school

John Eckersley is the son of the renowned linguist C.E Eckersley, author of Essential English for Foreign Students, which aimed to provide students with a solid basis of grammar and vocabulary. Through his father’s work and early exposure to other cultures, John developed an interest in languages and ELT from a young age, and went on to study French and German at Oxford University.

John then went on to train as a teacher in the Army Education Corps as part of his National Service, before meeting John Burbank, who had experience of teaching in various countries throughout the world. They both shared a dream of opening a language school in the centre of Oxford and so they set up the school together as business partners.

From the beginning, Eckersley School of English has demonstrated an innovative approach to English language training. The school was the first in Oxford to introduce a language lab in 1963, used for both speaking and listening practice. The school has also integrated many new teaching methods throughout its history to maintain the challenging and rigorous nature of its programmes, including Suggestopedia and Silent Way.

John Eckersley’s approach was to create a welcoming, family atmosphere within the school, to help promote students’ learning. John Eckersley taught many of the classes himself, and his wife Angela assisted with the secretarial duties and co-ordinating student accommodation. They often took students out on cultural excursions to help them make the most of their time in the UK.

Eckersley School of English has helped hundreds of students from all over the world achieve their goals. Many students have gone on to live and work in English speaking countries in various professional and academic sectors, including the oil and gas industry and English language teaching.

Today, John Eckersley’s vision for the school is maintained by a dedicated team of academic and support staff who are passionate about making a positive difference to students’ lives, through linguistic and cultural development.