Once upon a time, in a town called Ipswich, lived a little girl called Debbie. This little girl loved singing, dancing, dressing up and performing in plays. At school, she loved learning to play the recorder and singing around the piano in music lessons.
Whilst Debbie was mastering her performing arts, another little girl was born in the kingdom of East Anglia, called Emily. This little girl also loved music. She enjoyed playing the recorder and trumpet, but also playing outside.
Who would have thought that these two little girls would fall in love with learning languages and where it would lead?
Debbie started learning French at secondary school, which she hated at first. She didn’t see the point of it, as she was never going to go to France. However, one day her French teacher said, ‘You could be fantastic at French if you would only try.’
Not one to back down from a challenge, Debbie decided to try in French lessons and as it came to pass, she achieved the top grade in French at GCSE.
Emily, on the other hand, loved learning French from the very start and couldn’t wait to learn more languages. She always loved all the academic subjects at school and gained top marks in the majority of her GCSEs. You could say she was a bit of a nerd!
By the time Debbie gained her A-levels, including French, she had decided to go to university to read foreign languages. She studied French, Spanish and Italian and spent a year abroad split between Pau in France and Murcia in Spain. In fact, Debbie’s French teacher at school had inspired her so much, that she now wanted to become an MFL teacher…or did she? Dreams of being an entertainer tugged at her heart strings.
Emily, on the other hand, knew what she wanted to do with her life. She definitely wanted to be a languages teacher. She studied French, Spanish and Russian and spent a year in Russia living with a Russian family.
After six years of singing and dancing for a living as both a coat-type entertainer and an Entertainment’s Manager on various holiday parks in the UK, Debbie decided she needed to grow up and get a more secure job. So, she moved from the Isle of Wight where she was living and came home to Ipswich.
By the time Graduation Day came around, Debbie had made her mind up that she wanted to follow her dream of being an entertainer. After all, she could become a teacher when she finally grew up.
Emily graduated, and then completed her teacher training. She started working as a teacher at Sir Charles Lucas in Colchester and she loved it. Emily never deviated from her love of languages or her passion for teaching them. Although, there was another love in her life, Adam. The only time her attention detracted from her teaching career was when she was planning to marry her Prince Charming, Adam, (and she briefly thought about becoming a wedding planner), and later when her little princess, Grace and little prince, Joshua arrived. However, it would be at least another decade before Debbie met her Prince Charming. Let’s say, they were a lot of frogs along the way!
After a year of teacher training, Debbie too became an MFL teacher and took up her first teaching post at Farlingaye High school in Woodbridge which she loved.
Meanwhile, Emily was going strength to strength in her teaching career, working her way up to teaching and learning roles, and then team leader in various schools, ending up at Westbourne Academy.
After ten years at Farlingaye as a French and Spanish teacher and lead teacher of Spanish, Debbie went to Northgate High School as Head of Department for a year, before deciding to go part-time and do supply teaching for a while whilst she planned her dream wedding. Yes, finally she had met her Prince Charming, Martyn.
By now, Emily was Head of Department at Westbourne Academy and was looking for an MFL teacher to replace a teacher who was leaving. So, she phoned Debbie to see if she would like a job at Westbourne. Debbie said, ‘No,’ at first as she was adamant that she didn’t want to teach full-time anymore. However, Emily persisted, so Debbie decided to go to Westbourne for an interview, because she was intrigued to see what Westbourne was like now, since this was the school where Debbie’s love for languages had begun. This was the school that Debbie went to as a student.
So, in January 2017, Debbie and Emily started working together at Westbourne, sharing teaching and learning ideas and enjoying school trips to France and Spain together. However, in 2019, after 13 years of fun-filled teaching for Emily and 15 years for Debbie, a dark cloud was beginning to descend over them. All the fun for teaching and learning languages was being sucked away by exam league tables and harder exams.
So, one day, Debbie said, ‘Why don’t we create a rainbow of exciting language learning experiences to bring the fun back?’. ‘What a great idea!’ said Emily. ‘But we don’t have any experience in starting a business,’ said Debbie.
All of a sudden, their fairy godfather, Toby Durrant appeared. ‘I can provide office space and help you start the business,’ he said.
The end? No! This is just the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. Keep following our story for the next chapter. It’s going to be exciting!