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English Vinglish! the 'Kollywood' (Tamil-language, made in the Kodambakkam studio district of Chennai) blockbuster film, follows the fortunes of an Indian housewife who goes to learn English in New York to please her family. Featuring surprisingly accurate Esol classroom interaction, the film is doing very well in its subtitled Cantonese version in Hong Kong. The film's title is, apparently, a Tamil-language expression of frustrations experiencied in learning English. Photo: Eros International Media Ltd & Hope Productions

March 2013

Into the money

By Melanie Butler

A US private equity company has paid over $100 million for a 25 per cent stake in Into University Partnerships, valuing the total UK-based international education company at over $400 million, or quarter of a billion pounds. The sale to New York-based Leeds Equity Partnerships, which invests exclusively in education and knowledge-based industries, is designed to provide Into’s university partners with access to external capital, according to Into chairman Andrew Colin, who said he was ‘delighted to confirm that we have secured this significant new funding to support the continued development of public-private partnerships’.


By Matt Salusbury

In a rare crossover between the worlds of EFL and state-sector English as an additional language (EAL), the charitable arm of global commercial EFL school chain Bell Educational Trust is funding and developing courses to train state primary school teachers how to support students with EAL.

The Bell Foundation, started in 2012 in a Bell restructuring and funded by profits from the schools operation, will run pilot courses for primary teachers from the east of England, a region including Cambridgeshire, where Bell is based. Bell’s PR and marketing executive Caroline Davidson said courses will be ‘tailored to reflect the diversity of nationalities in different localities’. Polish is now the biggest language after English in eastern England counties.

The initiative is in partnership with the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (Naldic), the UK EAL teachers’ association. Naldic executive committee member Carrie Cable said the project has come at a time of ‘increasing numbers of bilingual learners in schools’ and ‘cuts in dedicated central and local government funding and services for EAL’.



Bean there done that: Rowan Atkinson (left), best known for portraying the characters Mr Bean and Blackadder, rehearses his role as ‘utterly hopeless’ language school English teacher St John Quartermaine. Atkinson said of his character in this year’s revival of the play Quartermaine’s Terms at London’s Wyndham Theatre, ‘I don’t think I had any teacher as bad as him.’ With him in the staff room are Louise Ford and Malcolm Sinclair.