Tuesday 27 November 2012

Running for his life!

What do you do when you are away from home, in a strange country and with some time on your hands? Run a marathon!

At the start of the race
Well this is what Jorge seems to do. Our lovely executive student Jorge Quidel, 37, from Syngenta S.A. in Chile, has been with us since the end of October and will stay until the start of December.  He recently found himself in exactly this situation. “Because of my job I travel quite a lot in South America, so I have run in Argentina, Panama and Chile and now England!” Jorge has been running for 7 years now, he told us; “I practise four or five times per week and enter important races two or three times a year.” 

On the 18th November, Jorge competed in the Gosport half marathon 2012.
He said he really enjoyed himself and was pleased with his time, although not his best, he said it was good enough.
We asked him what his goal was with his running; ‘My next goal is the ‘Ultra Marathon’ … a race that starts in Chile, and finishes in Argentina, going over the Corillera in the process.  In total it is 100 kilometres over 3 days.
Jorge at the end of the race
It is about 2000 meters above sea level, which means it is more difficult and takes longer to run.  Usually, when I run on the flat, a kilometre takes about 6 minutes, in the mountains it will take more like 12 minutes, so double the time.
The first day is 34 kms, which will take about 6 hours, the second is 42 km (8 hrs) and finally the third day 25 km (5 hrs).”  
We wish Jorge the very best for the ‘Ultra Marathon’, and thank him for letting us see his photos.
So, next time you are away from home and a little bored …

Wednesday 21 November 2012

LSI Exceeds Expectations in all Key Areas

LSI is very happy to announce to students, staff, agents and all other stakeholders that the school had a highly successful Educational Oversight inspection through ISI in its October 2012 inspection. LSI achieved Grade 1 (the highest possible grade) in all three sections of the report and ‘exceeds expectations’ in every area inspected:
- The quality of the curriculum, teaching and learners’ achievement
- Students’ welfare, including health and safety
- The effectiveness of governance, leadership and management

Saturday 17 November 2012

"Might as Well Swim It!" READY TO GO

The teachers at LSI can be quite an active lot and certainly do their bit for charity.  Here Cathy Willatt talks about her recent dip in the ocean all in the name of a very good cause.

"It all started, with a conversation in a pub, in Portsmouth, with an old friend. She was visiting me from the Isle of Wight. "It's SO expensive getting the ferry over from the Island." She commented, "Apparently it's the most expensive stretch of water to cross in the world."
'Might as well swim it" I joked.
Now, she's the sort of friend who knows about stuff, the sort of friend you shouldn't make jokes like that with. She replied, deadly serious, "I'd love to," adding, "You can definitely join an organised swim... I'll send you a link."

So, in a fit of over enthusiastic adventurism I said, "Cool, let's do it!" and (probably) went directly to the bar to get another drink. A fire of excitement lit in her eyes and I quietly contemplated a horrendous cold, British public appearance in lycra.

Wind the clock forward two years (it's quite difficult to get a place on those organised swims..)

Then the day arrives. A trial swim the week before tells me that I can tolerate the cold, just. Word on the Isle of Wight street says that a fleece lined rash vest is the ideal solution to the cold, for someone who doesn't want to spend £200 on a wetsuit. The weather forecast tells me that it's cold in there, 15.8degrees. Thankfully, it also predicts good conditions. I consume as much sugar and porridge as a 6 am. appetite will permit, and together with my friend, leave for the rendezvous point at the Yarmouth Lifeboat HQ.

We didn't feel brave. We didn't feel adventurous. On balance I'd say we felt a little under-prepared and very under-dressed, particularly when almost all of the other 62 swimmers stripped off to reveal super-sporty wetsuits, some even with wetsuit gloves! One, an ex-paralympian had trained diligently for months to bring down his time from last year. Another, a woman well into her eighties was so slim and fit that parts of her antiquated wetsuit were loose around her body. Meanwhile, in the background, a TV crew gathered to  interview a  beach blonde and beautiful 'minor celebrity', looking focused on delivering the result she'd promised her audience. We got a cup of tea out of the machine and pottered around in our flip flops until our names were called to join our group for the boat journey across.

Now, nothing gives you that 'James Bond' feeling quite as much as whizzing across the flat water on a speedboat in the early morning light, surrounded by people shrouded in black lycra, heading for a remote beach.  We turned to each other, grinned and laughed. It'll be fun, it'll be amazing, if we survive! As we approached the remote beach, a truly beautiful sight greeted us: 41 brightly coloured kayaks were lined up, their oars in the air, the spectacular Needles behind them on the horizon. They would be our escort for the crossing.

Ater a few minutes shivering on the shore, it was our turn to go in.  The cold stole our breath immediately. Only short little puffs of air came in or went out. Our arms moved slowly and gently under the water just to build up some blood flow, gently gently, then legs, and then finally we found our stroke. It was cold. Cold enough for the threat of failure to be there. Cold enough that we wished we'd trained harder, hydrated more. Cold enough that we simply had to keep moving. There was only one way home now though, and as we gradually found our rhythm and relaxed into the hypnotic, synchronised stroke we know so well, the metres started to pass. 'Keep breathing, keep moving, don't stop or the cold will get you' became the mantra going over and over in my mind.

A kayak oar was raised. Some activity. People moving in the wrong direction. Shouting. In the snapshots between breaths we could see someone being pulled from the water. Cramp maybe, or the cold? Nothing worse I hoped. Keep breathing, keep moving, don't stop or the cold will get you.

I could see the tips of my fingers, not beyond. Below me the cloudy green water quickly turned to black. I thought vaguely of the huge ships that pass through here. Must be deep. Really deep. Keep breathing, keep moving, don't stop or the cold will get you.

Something brushed my face. What was it? A creature? A sea snake? A SHARK? Don't think about it. Keep breathing, keep moving, don't stop or the cold will get you.

Then a signal. We turned towards the beach. Each snapshot brought a new, clearer view. A colourful line; huts, people, tiny people, many many tiny people. Among them my boyfriend, my island friends, and maybe other friends who had travelled just to see me. This was something special indeed. Keep breathing, keep moving, don't stop or the cold will get you.

Then clearer water, what's this? Sand beneath us and sounds, clapping & cheering as we moved towards the slipway. 'Look triumphant' we were told, and so, on cold tired legs through waves and loose sand, seaweed and stones, we threw our hands into the air, big wet hugs, and cold-faced smiles as we stumbled, ungainly, out of the cold water and into the arms of warm dry loved ones.
We had swum 2.5km, the water was 15.8 degrees, it took us 44 minutes, my friend and I  raised £900 for charity, contributing to a total ₤23,000 raised for The West Wight Sports Centre. We were 64 swimmers, 41 kayakers, 5 speedboats, 3 'nanny' boats to warn shipping, and the Freshwater lifeboat.

The paralympian broke his previous record. The 80 year old woman swooshed out of the water fit and well, and the 'minor celebrity' was last seen high on a cliff, back in front of those cameras looking stylishly blonde and wet, as we had hot milky coffee and bacon sandwiches and looked on."

Thanks so much to West Wight Sports Centre for organising the swim and giving us this fantastic opportunity to swim across the Solent. Thanks also to my boyfriend, my family,  my friends, and my colleagues at LSI for their support and encouragement, and for their generous donations to the West Wight Sports Centre and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Cathy Willatt
November 2012

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Speaking with the British Ambassador

Emma Hoyle, our Marketing Officer for Germany recently had the pleasure of meeting Simon McDonald, the British Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany when attending HRM Expo - Europe’s largest Exhibition for Human Resource Management held at the Cologne Exhibition Centre. 
This year there were over 650 exhibitors and more than 14,000 visitors.  The exhibition is attended by keynote speakers and specialists dealing with every aspect of HR from recruiters and workers to CEOs and CFOs.

Emma was delighted to be invited to speak on a panel organised by EnglishUK to discuss “What exactly is Business English and how can it help your business?”  Simon McDonald CMG – the British Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, joined the panel as a guest speaker to emphasise the role of English language in today’s Business World.  On the panel were Emma,  Mark Waistell from Accent English Language Training & Consultancy and David Arrowsmith from Inlingua Cheltenham and John Barnet from Cambridge Academy of English.
From Left: Simon McDonald, Emma Hoyle, Mark Waistell and David Arrowsmith, (John Barnet not shown) 

Emma (Looking glamorous) being interviewed for a video

Back from the Grind - the Inspection has past!

Two weeks ago, we had our inspection by the ISI . Anyone who has been through an inspection, either by the British Council or the new inspection from the ISI, will have an inkling how much preparation goes into an inspection.

The school first heard they would be inspected (in the last quarter of this year) back in February or so, and since then it has been all systems on red alert, making sure all paperwork was available and that the building was up to scratch. Then in August it was full steam ahead, getting paperwork finalised and it seemed to just about every teacher, manager, director and even cleaner in the school that this was all their life involved.

We have now had our inspection, of course it went well (the update with our results will be published next month), so now we are back in the game of what we do best, teaching and having fun and the blog will now be back on course to be updated regularly.

Watch this space!

Thursday 1 November 2012

One of the Kindest Cuts of All.

In the UK this month, men from all walks of life and all ages are foregoing the daily tousle with the razor in the name of a good cause; to raise awareness and funds towards prostate cancer and men’s health.  1 in 9 men will be told during their lifetime that they have cancer, and as we all know, men’s health issues are still not something that is discussed as easily as women's health issues, so this is a very real problem that needs addressing.

From the Movember UK website:
"Once registered at movember.com each Mo Bro must begin the 1st of Movember with a clean shaven face. For the entire month each Mo Bro must grow and groom a moustache. There is to be no joining of the mo to the sideburns (that’s considered a beard), there’s to be no joining of the handlebars to the chin (that’s considered a goatee) and each Mo Bro must conduct himself like a true gentleman.

A Mo Sista is essentially a woman who loves a Mo. An individual that is dedicated to supporting the Mo Bros in her life through their moustache growing journey; whether it be a friend, colleague, family member or partner. These inspirational women are committed to raising awareness of men's health issues and much needed funds for men's health along the way.

Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November and through their actions and words raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health."

To read more please click here

Gordon Scruton, one of our lovely teachers has embraced the cause.  Gordon loves his beard, so for him it was a real wrench to take it off for the clean shaven 1st of November entry. As you can see below, he did and is now working hard at getting his lip to sprout again at full speed.

During - no going back

After - too late to change your mind!

Gordon is joined by the equally lovely teacher Mike Baldwin (sadly no photos available), and both our lovely bald chinned ones are looking for sponsors.  So if you have enjoyed watching the man above suffer, do pop over to their space on the site and sponsor them - it's all in the name of an extremely good cause.

Please click here to sponsor - anything - just a pound will do!   Team LSI