Welcome to our newest member – Riviera English School
Interview with James Nicholls, Principal
Tell us your story. How did Riviera English School get started?
My wife Alex and I are former teachers, who, armed with the experience of working in several schools in different countries were confident that we could do a better job than our former employers (who shall remain nameless!). It’s true to say that it wasn’t as easy as we had thought, but with dogged determination, we created a company of which we are immensely proud.
What makes Riviera English School different from your competitors?
I don’t think it’s one thing in particular, but a combination of several factors. The location in a beautiful building with sea views in a UNESCO global geopark certainly helps, as does being the only language school to operate an ocean sailing yacht – an interesting USP. I shouldn’t forget the staff either, without whom, we wouldn’t have the atmosphere that students love.
What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
We have really high rates of customer satisfaction, reflected in repeat business. One particular school in Germany have been coming to us since our first year in business, back in a time pre-British Council Accreditation, so we were really grateful that they put their trust in us, and continue to do so. We have now welcomed over 300 school groups, contributing to a total of around 25000 students – it’s quite special knowing we have been a part of so many lives, from so many backgrounds.
What can we expect to see from Riviera English School in the future?
More happy customers, and more experiences shaping lives of the students that spend time with us.
How do you work to ensure the health and safety of young travellers involved with Riviera English School?
As we are accredited by the British Council (Accreditation UK) we have exacting standards to follow. Not only do we meet the standards, we strive to exceed the minimum requirements in all aspects of safety and care of students- this was reflected in a recent inspection report, which awarded us many strengths in these areas.
What was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
We already work with some WYSE members, so we were well aware of the good name of the organisation. We are now looking to meet more of the membership, so don’t be shy in introducing yourselves!
Have you attended a WYSE Travel Confederation event? (World Youth and Student Travel Conference, STAY WYSE, WYSE Exchange Australia, WETM-IAC) If so, what was your experience with the event?
Not yet, but as new members we are looking forward to attending WYSTC in Edinburgh.
What is an industry challenge your organisation is facing at this time?
Obvious I know, but I would have to say Brexit. It seems nobody seems to know how to react to us Brits at the moment. Unfortunately, the state of flux looks like it’s going to be around for a while, so we will all just have to take what’s thrown at us. As a staunch “remainer” it is very frustrating to say the least.
Established in 1996, we are a family-owned independent school in Devon, offering a range of English Language courses – specialising in the Junior/Teenager and young adult markets. Our location is fantastic – in the centre of England’s most beautiful seaside resort of Torquay, Devon. We have an impressive school building with amazing sea views. Torquay is a great location even in the winter, when it is warmer than other parts of the country.
Torquay forms part of the “English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark” There are only 3 Global Geoparks in England, so you can be sure you are visiting somewhere really special.
For more information, visit their website: www.riviera-english-school.com
Membership: WYSE Travel Confederation Associate Member
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