Echo Language School

For over 30 years we have welcomed more than 3695 students aged 12–17 years old from all over Europe.

Who We Are

Alex, Carmen and their children Nico and Ana live at Sefton Place with the students, helping provide the ‘learning and living under one roof’ experience.


Alex is a King’s College London History graduate and Cambridge Oral Examiner with a Distinction in Cambridge DELTA M1 (Understanding Language, Methodology and Resources for Teaching), a Merit in Cambridge Delta M2 (Developing Professional Practice), and Cambridge DELTA M3 (English Language Teaching Management). He has a lot of experience in teaching and examining English, training teachers and managing schools: 28 years teaching, 26 years managing language centres and organising courses, 14 years training teachers and 14 years as an examiner. He has been involved in ECHO, collaborating with his parents Charles and Estrid, since it began in 1988.

“…relationships are forged with our students and their families…”


For the past 26 years Carmen and Alex have been directing courses at the English schools they own in Spain. There, Carmen is a specialist in teaching Young Learners. She has a talent for getting the very best out of each of her students, and also helps other teachers to do the same. In the UK, she worked very closely with Estrid during the summer periods since 1995, organising housekeeping and administration, ensuring the welfare of the students and liaising with the host families. She was also ‘mother’ to many students who stayed in her and Alex’s house. In 2013 Estrid retired. Carmen’s experience, organisational skills and caring nature ensure the students continue to be very well looked after. She is also a fantastic cook!

“The atmosphere is much more like a large family than a school…”

Why Choose Echo?

We have over 30 years experience providing English language courses, and since 2007 have designed and given courses exclusively to teenagers. All our teachers are experienced, selected for their ability to teach and build rapport with teenagers.

ECHO is first and foremost a school and not a summer camp. Of course, we make sure that our students have a lot of fun during their time with us, but our priority is to ensure that the English skills of all our students improve as much as possible.  Students come back year after year because they know that ECHO is where they can make excellent progress as language learners.

At ECHO, only English is spoken, 24 hours a day!  This means that our students live and learn in a totally immersed environment, making friends with each other very quickly. No other languages are allowed during the whole course. To help students value and comply with this rule, anyone who breaks it then helps with domestic chores, thus giving something back to the community, and if further measures are required, extra academic tasks are set. Please be aware too that in extreme circumstances, thankfully very few since ECHO started back in 1988, we have been forced to send home students who cannot work and live within the system.

Having children ourselves, we are well aware of the concerns parents may have for their children while they are abroad.  Students studying at ECHO live in a very welcoming and safe environment. All our students are under the age of 18 so they are carefully supervised and looked after, and since we live in the same house as them, we can attend any need or emergency immediately.


30 years ago Charles and Estrid started welcoming small numbers of students into the family home to learn English in an immersive environment. Charles, a Cambridge Masters graduate and ex-school teacher, helped students achieve excellent results with his innovative, strict yet compassionate approach. Estrid meanwhile, a trained chef and a wonderful listener, made sure everyone was well looked after. Between them they created an environment in which students would be happy relaxing as well as studying. The school continued to expand throughout the 1990s. In 2007 Estrid decided to put ECHO’s 20 year experience with teenagers to good use and dedicated her time solely to their needs. At the end of 2013, Estrid retired, leaving the school in the experienced hands of their son Alex and his wife Carmen.

Since 2016, Alex, Carmen and their family have lived at Sefton Place, sharing their home with the ECHO teachers and small groups of students as a ‘big family’. Together they enjoy the house and garden, home-cooked meals, free time and stimulating activities and excursions. This approach has built long-lasting relationships with students and their families: students, their brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, and, more recently, sons and daughters come back year after year. Nearly all the students come on direct recommendation.