Cambridge English CLASS: A Bespoke Service Helping Students From ‘Cradle to Graduation and Beyond’

Ann Muston
Ann Muston
17/06/21
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I have been in education for more than 45 years. I grew up in a small Lancashire village in the North West of England, and I’m the second eldest of nine siblings and the eldest girl. There is dyslexia and other educational needs in the family but I prefer to call them educational differences.

Providing Educational Support to K-12 and Higher Education Students

At school, I worked hard and my efforts led to a place at Homerton College, Cambridge, where I studied Education. Many things happened between then and my founding Cambridge English CLASS, an educational consultancy specializing in cultural awareness and integration, language, and academic skills, where I’m the Managing Director and Senior Leader. I have always been interested in other cultures and through my work in state schools, language schools and, finally, at an independent boarding school, I realized that more support was needed for students, parents and teachers—particularly for international students and those who found accessing education a challenge.

Knowing our learners and their needs is important, and listening to them and finding educational products that suit their style of learning is a must today.

Through our work at Cambridge English CLASS, we work with families ‘from cradle to graduation and beyond.’ As staff often change in schools and teachers change within year groups, it is helpful to have someone who knows the child/student and the family well. This continuity of care and integrity is the bedrock of our philosophy. We believe that everyone matters and we aim to help them to be the best they can be. This type of education accompaniment is often hard to achieve within the school system, and learners with educational differences or needs can be left behind. I certainly felt like that in my formative years, which is why I felt so compelled to offer this type of support as an educator myself.

Our services involve online bespoke tutoring and mentoring sessions, school and university searches and help with applications, CPD sessions for schools, a lecture program, and cultural visits. With the years of experience we have, we can provide bespoke services that truly are tailored to our families’ needs. 

Since 2015, I have traveled to more than 10 countries teaching, lecturing and supporting families, in addition to gaining knowledge to help me in my work. Due to the pandemic, most of our work shifted online, and it’s been truly amazing to see how eLearning has allowed us to continue working both locally and internationally. I have certainly learned a great deal about virtual education tools and delivery in the last year.

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The Educational Landscape Today

Education has been disrupted. 

I feel now is the time to re-evaluate what is taught in schools, colleges and universities, and there needs to be more communication between the world of education and the world of work. Knowing our learners and their needs is important, and listening to them and finding educational products that suit their style of learning is a must today. 

ELearning can help us do this. I don’t believe it can ever replace the face-to-face experience, but it can offer a great deal. Funnily enough, I decided to leave my last full-time job due to all the technology being introduced. It’s not easy keeping up with it, but since the pandemic started, I greatly appreciate eLearning tools and the possibility of reaching learners at a distance. Modifying the teaching methodology is a must, however, and I think hybrid learning will become more predominant going forward. 

Having all the classic symptoms of dyslexia and an extensive family history of specific educational needs, I don’t think I’ll ever fit back into the traditional education system. I have had to work very hard for all my achievements, particularly because my learning and teaching style are often seen as unusual. What I hope is that teachers and parents can recognize when a child needs extra support to achieve their educational goals and seek help. Services like mine exist so that no child gets left behind. That’s my mission and I feel I’m in a privileged position to be able to do this for today’s learners. I am particularly interested to see how school systems begin to adjust to skills-based learning and assessment and I think eLearning can provide a non-pressured space for students to perform under a different set of circumstances rather than the traditional face-to-face education. 

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