In July this year International House Newcastle was inspected by EAQUALS and the International House World Organisation. Now the results are in and the school has received excellent reviews:
'International House Newcastle was inspected by Eaquals in 2023 and met the high standards required for Eaquals accreditation. The teaching, the course programmes, as well as the course organisation, the learning resources, testing and evaluation were all judged to be of high quality. It was found that the institution takes great care to protect the welfare of its clients and staff, and all publicity materials produced by the institution are accurate and truthful.'
In more detail the verdict goes on:
The Inspectors identified points of excellence in the following categories:
As well as gathering formal feedback, IH Newcastle takes a very proactiv
e and attentive approach to feedback, engaging students in conversation and/or joining conversations in the front office and in the student café, always with an ear open to pick up any unhappiness or wishes in the course of informal chats. There are exceptionally well-organised systems for recording and analysing feedback results and assigning and tracking any action to be taken, so that excellent use is made of this feedback to drive improvements in services. An exceptional level of commitment to improving quality across all services is apparent among all staff.
Communication with Staff
The senior academic team, comprising the Academic Director, Director of Studies, Head of Teacher Training and Senior Teachers operate extremely well as a cohesive team, covering for one another as needed and always ready to help teachers as needed. There is an exceptionally effective mix and level of formal and informal communication in the language centre with evidence of problems being raised and addressed. There are regular opportunities and established mechanisms for all staff to contribute their opinions and ideas for the development and operation of the language centre. Information about the language centre’s structure, its mission, and strategic aims is exceptionally well disseminated, with regular updates, to all staff.
Communication with Students and Clients
The School website and social media are attractively designed and informative and the videos and photographs give a good picture of how well the students enjoy N
ewcastle and each other’s company.
The student communication system, the Hub, is an exceptionally easy and convenient way for students to communicate with staff and get access to useful information and resources. Information on contractual terms and conditions and other important information is exceptionally thorough. There is evidence that there are highly proactive systems to ensure action is regularly taken where necessary to rectify situations/ conditions that have given rise to complaints or concern in student feedback.
Teaching and Learning
The methodology and content of the teaching observed clearly embodies the stated educational principles and approach to teaching. This is true of all lesson segments observed with no, or very few, exceptions. Learning is extended beyond the classroom in creative ways (e.g., student projects, portfolios, self-study assignments, tasks linked to a leisure programme). There is evidence of advice on and practice of learning-to-learn techniques and study skills to promote student responsibility and self-directed learning.
Before arrival care is taken to provide students with useful advice about studying in the UK and their academic programme. Once students are in the school, they are kept informed and given advice from the website, social media, the Student Handbook, the student Hub and face-to-face interaction.
Exceptional care is taken to keep students safe and promote their mental wellbe
accommodation, in free time in the student lounge and in classes, different nationalities are
encouraged to mix as an explicit policy to raise cultural awareness. There is an outstandingly personalised and responsive leisure programme, which takes account of
students’ requests where possible. Cultural differences are catered for and events are very well promoted and attended.
The attention to detail in matching students interests and requests in homestay accommodation is exceptional. The procedure for encouraging communication before arrival is excellent. In student flats, the policy of mixing nationalities where possible is testament to the school’s policy of integration. Meetings are arranged for homestay providers twice a year so they can feel part of the wider school community.
Staff Profile and Development
At IH Newcastle, there is a high proportion of staff with an above basic level of competence and experience. There are facilitated opportunities for a significant number of staff to take part in external training courses and conferences as well as encouragement to participate in seminars and to give presentations. The school is supportive towards staff undertaking additional training or professional development by for instance: allowing flexible working hours and/or covering staff during associated absence and/or providing a degree of financial support for training, study, attendance at conferences etc.
Staff Employment Terms
The School offers a good package of terms and conditions, including generous paid holiday allowance and promotes an active awareness of causes of stress in the workplace, advice on how to avoid it together with steps to take to promote the health and well-being of staff. There are opportunities for permanent or continuous employment for a significant proportion of staff.
The learning environment at IH Newcastle is very attractive, recently refurbished, comfortable and well- designed and includes many up-to-date facilities which enhance course delivery and opportunities for learning, such as reliable and free internet access for students, the Hub communication and information system, and classrooms well-equipped with computers, data projectors and internet access. All or almost all of the premises
and facilities are accessible for students with special learning needs or disabilities. The student lounge, with free tea and coffee and kitchenette provided, the table football and large TV screen, is an exceptionally sociable area, where students and staff mix. There is particular attention paid to the health and safety of students and staff with regard to emergency evacuation procedures. The installation of an air heat pump system is innovative
in terms of environmental awareness.