Blog December 18, 2013 by St Giles

Retirement after fifty eight years of success

In 1955, Paul Lindsay was struck by the demand for learning English in London and had a vision of providing high quality English courses to students around the world.  He received a £100 loan from his grandfather, rented a small room in Soho, London, and there launched a new school of English called St Giles.

Since then, St Giles International has grown into an international organisation with seven year-round adult centres and many junior summer centres in the UK, USA and Canada.  In 1970, Paul Lindsay set up the St Giles Educational Trust to provide intensive training courses for teachers of English language. In 1998, he retired as Managing Director of St Giles International to be succeeded by his son Mark Lindsay.

After 58 years of dedication to English language teaching, Paul Lindsay has decided to retire from his position as Director of the Educational Trust.  We would therefore like to extend our sincere thanks for his commitment to the organisation’s prosperity over these many years and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.  His Deputy Director, Diane Mullen, will take over the management of the Trust from the 6th January 2014, and we wish her every success in her new and exciting role!

In a recent interview, his son, Mark Lindsay, talked about the hurdles that his father had to overcome and the factors that led to the company’s success:

Why did your father decide to start up a language school?

My father started off his career as a secondary school teacher but found it frustrating teaching children who did not want to be there. He spent a brief period of time working for Pitmans in the early 50s and thought that he might be able to run his own school better.

What were the key hurdles that he had to overcome?

The key hurdles were finding suitable premises, finding students and financing. My parents could only afford the most basic premises and started by renting three rooms in the top floor of a run-down office building in Soho, London. They lived on £8.00 per week (roughly £9,000 per annum in today’s value). I think he felt he had nothing to lose!

What factors have helped your school develop and thrive?

My father has always believed in combining high quality courses with moderate fees. Running good courses, offering good facilities and providing competitive salaries all costs money, which cannot be financed if the organisation is not established on a sound financial basis. We have also always favoured a policy of heavy reinvestment and constantly striving for higher standards. Furthermore, my father always tried to embrace change. For example, in the 60s, St Giles was one of the first schools to have a fully fitted language lab. I have always tried to honour this policy, for example this year all St Giles year-round centres achieved a target of 70% of classrooms with Interactive White Board facilities. My father has always been passionate about teaching and teacher training and continues to lecture on the subject even in his 80s. Most of our centres have teacher training departments and we feel this benefits the whole organisation because of the level of expertise amongst our staff.

If you would like to learn English in the UK, USA or Canada, you can find out more about our English language schools on the St Giles website.  You can also find out about the key activities of the St Giles Educational Trust here.