International House London has a rich and prestigious history, dating back to the 1950s. As one of the leading English Language schools globally, where the CELTA qualification was originally founded, we take pride in where we come from. In this blog, we take an in depth look at the history of our school, and of its founders.

IH London Founder, John Haycraft, was born in India but soon moved to England. He studied his degree in Oxford University, and a postgraduate in Yale. After completing his postgraduate degree, he began working as a Tourist Guide and teaching private English Lessons. He found that he enjoyed sharing his language with others and quickly it became his full time career.

In 1953 John and his wife, Brita Haycraft, were living in Cordoba, Spain. They had been teaching English for some time, and decided to open their own language school. They believed in international communication and building communities across cultures. This became the focus and guiding methodology of the school, allowing them to share English with their students in a meaningful and effective way. After just three weeks of opening, through publicity and word of mouth, there had over 60 students.

After a few years, the Haycraft’s began to consider expanding their school, to be able to share their work with even more people. So in 1957, they returned to England, and International House London was established on Endell Street, near Covent Garden. Here the Haycraft’s offered students interactive courses where they could improve their English language skills. Over time the school grew, offering more courses and moving to larger premises, such as Shaftsbury Avenue in Soho in 1961.

The Haycrafts began to consider how they could share the knowledge they had gained through their experiences with other teachers. It was an opportunity to raise the standards of English teaching, and to provide practical training for teachers entering the classroom. So the Haycrafts decided that they would create an intensive teacher-training course to prepare other teachers for multi-lingual classes.

Inspired by his passion for connecting international communities through language learning, John created the first training programme which blended teaching theory and practice in 1962. This qualification has evolved and progressed over the years, but is still held in the highest regard today. It is now known as the CELTA, and is assessed by the University of Cambridge.

In 1974 the Haycraft’s set up a non-profit-making educational trust committed to raising the standards of English language teaching and teacher training around the world. Here some of the best minds in the industry worked, created new methods and trained a new generation of English language teachers. This trust is known as International House.

As the school continued to grow in the 70’s, the premises moved to 106 Picadilly in 1977, where it stayed for 30 years. In 2007 the school moved to its current location, Covent Garden, very close to where the first London school was located 50 years prior. Now each year International House teaches over 8,000 students from over 150 countries!

In 1982 John Haycraft was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1982.

When he passed away in 1996, John Haycraft left behind over 150 schools in over 50 countries, which all grew from his first school in Cordoba over 40 years before. In his obituary, John Haycraft was said to have ‘shaped the evolution of the profession of English language teaching.’ We could not be prouder to be continuing his legacy of pioneering language education today. International House London still believes in inspiring teachers to be the best they can be.

If you’re interested in gaining your CELTA at the school where it all began, visit our CELTA webpage. 

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