What DO our students think about Glasgow School of English?

At Glasgow School of English we like to think that we try very hard to provide good teaching, interesting activities and helpful support and advice.  Over the years, we have discovered that the best way to find out if we are getting things right is to ask our students, so every three months that’s what we do!

Our latest survey covers the first three months of 2019.  We ask our students a range of questions covering the teaching, the materials and books we use and the trips they have.   We’re pleased to say that the results are very good. All (100%) of our students like the friendliness of the School and they would all recommend us to their friends. 93% agree (or strongly agree) that the teachers make the lessons interesting and challenging and 92% like our trips and events. When it comes to the crucial question of whether their time spent with us has actually improved their English, 96% say it has.  You can see the full results in the table below, followed by some of the comments the students made about their time with us.  We have not given the students’ names, but have shown which country they are from and, as you can see, we really do have students from all over the world!

Thank you for all. (Spain)

The teachers are nice, kind. The students are really kind. The office staff are really hard working. I really liked the creativity in my morning classes. It made me have fun and learn. (Brazil)

It was great! (Hungary)

What an experience! (Italy)

The office staff were really helpful and they listened. My teacher was really great. I really loved this week with her. (France)

Thanks for this amazing experience! (Italy)

What I really liked about the school was how welcoming it is, giving support whenever it was needed. Wednesday’s conversation meetings are also great (Brazil)

Thank you. (Saudi Arabia)

I spend very good time. (France)

Thank you! (France)

Thank you for everything! And for printing my boarding passes. (Estonia)

I really liked the school. people, city and everyone. I really wished I could stay for more weeks. (Netherlands)

Brian is the best teacher ever. (Finland)

Everything was amazing! Thanks! (Latvia)

Six more interesting things about Edinburgh

Before Edinburgh became Scotland’s capital, the tiny Perthshire village of Scone was the capital. Edinburgh became the capital in 1437.

Stone of SconeThe Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny, is the ancient block of stone on which Scottish Kings sat to be crowned.  Since the union of the Scottish and English crowns in 1603, all British Kings and Queens have also been crowned on the Stone (it sits in a recess under the throne during the crowning ceremony).  It is now kept in Edinburgh Castle.

Margaret Dickson was hanged in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket in 1724 but later discovered to be alive.  Under Scots Law she was set free, but the words “until dead” were later added to the sentence of hanging.

Edinburgh has more heritage buildings than anywhere else in the world, some 16,000 from different periods in the city’s history.

bald manIn the 17thcentury, Edinburgh residents believed that rubbing burnt droppings from a dove would cure baldness (don’t try it, it doesn’t!).

Also in the 17thcentury, because people wanted to build their houses inside the city’s walls, Edinburgh became a pioneer in skyscrapers, with some houses having up to 11 stories.

Another five interesting things about Edinburgh

Many of our students take the short journey through to Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city.  It’s a fascinating place and very different from Glasgow.  Here are some interesting facts about Edinburgh.

The company that created Grand Theft Auto (RockStar North) is based in Edinburgh and the Forth Railway Bridge appears in their 2004 game, Grand Theft San Andreas.

Rose’s Lime Juice  is a very famous British drink. It was invented by Lauchlan Rose in 1867 and the first factory to make it was in Leith in Edinburgh.

“You’ll have had your tea?” is said to be the traditional greeting of any Edinburgh householder to a visitor.  It means that the visitor will have already eaten and therefore the householder won’t need to put the kettle on! Like all good stories, this has a bit of truth behind it, but don’t worry, Edinburgh people are actually very generous!

The first King of the united Great Britain in 1603 was James VIof Scotland who then became James I of England as the English had not had any Kings called James before then.  James was born in Edinburgh Castle.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica, one of the most famous encyclopaedias in the world, was first produced in Edinburgh.   It was published in three volumes between 1768 and 1771 and the first edition caused controversy because the anatomy section contained “unvarnished portrayals of the unmentionable parts of the human body.”

Yet five more interesting things about Glasgow

Glasgow University moved to its current location in 1871.  Before that it was on the High Street.

The University’s famous Lion and Unicorn Staircase and the Pearce Lodge nearby were originally in the High Street but when the University moved they moved too – stone by stone to the west end, along with the original gatehouse.

The University’s Hunterian Museum dates from 1807 and is Scotland’s oldest public museum. it has a large collection of art and scientific relics including the world’s first-ever ultra sound machine.  Students at Glasgow School of English can go on a trip to the Hunterian.

Glasgow claims to have invented the Indian dish, Chicken Tikka Masala. We don’t actually know if this is true, but the story is that local curry house the Shish Mahal invented one of Britain’s favourite dishes in the 1970s, allegedly by throwing together spices and tinned tomato soup!

Glasgow is often rated as the top place for concerts in the UK outside London. If you like music you’ll enjoy it here. There are eight venues in the Top 100 list of places to watch gigs.


Five interesting things about Edinburgh

The QueenThe Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, is the Duke of Edinburgh.  This title was created in 1726, for Prince Frederick, the son of George I.

The famous Royal Mile in Edinburgh runs from the Castle down the hill to Holyrood Palace.  It is actually one mile and 107 yards!

Edinburgh Castle  is built on a volcano.  Don’t worry though, it’s extinct and has not erupted for 350 million years!

Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own Fire Brigade, in 1703.

Many people nowadays like body piercings. However, not many have as many as Edinburgh’s Elaine Davidson who is the world’s most pierced woman, with more than 9,000 piercings!

Another five interesting things about Glasgow

Glasgow City Chambers, pictured above and a short walk from Glasgow School of English, is said to have more marble than the Vatican.  It was built in 1888 at a cost of £578,232 – the equivalent of £40 million today.

The City Chambers have been used as a stand in for the Vatican and the Kremlin in films.

Glasgow’s subway – the metro/underground railway system – is the only one in Scotland. It’s also the third oldest subway in the world. It is nicknamed the Clockwork Orange, because of the colour of the trains, and it’s an easy and cheap way to get round the city.

In the late 18thcentury, over half the tobacco imported into Britain came through Glasgow.

Although the one in Scotland is the original, there are more than 20 towns named Glasgow in the United States, with several more in Canada.

Five more interesting things about Glasgow

The Horseshoe Bar in Glasgow city centre was established in 1884 by John Scouller who was a captain in the cavalry. The Horseshoe has the longest bar in the UK, measuring 104ft 4in in length.

The film star Roy Rogers and his horse, Trigger, rode all the way round the Horseshoe Bar in 1954.

Glasgow also has the tallest cinema in the world, the Cineworld in Renfrew Street. It is 62 metres high, has 18 screens spread across six floors and up to 633 people at a time can attend.

Unlike Edinburgh, Glasgow no longer has a castle. However, we do have Castle Street, near the Cathedral. That’s where the castle used to be, but all traces were finally demolished in 1792.

People from Glasgow are called Glaswegians (or ‘weegies’ if you are not from Glasgow). However, the term is relatively new, being first used by Sir Walter Scott in 1817.

A couple of other things you might not know about Glasgow

If you like football you probably support your local team and your country’s team. But did you know that the very first international football match was played in Glasgow? It was played in 1872, at the West of Scotland Cricket ground and was between Scotland and England. The game ended in a 0-0 draw.

The Glasgow Subway (underground/metro). It opened in 1896 and is the third oldest underground railway in the world. It is often referred to as the “Clockwork Orange” because the carriages are very small and are all painted orange!

Yet more things you need to know about Glasgow


Glasgow Cathedral is the most complete medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland (pictured above). Our social programme at Glasgow School of English often includes visits to the cathedral and the nearby St Mungo Museum of Religious Life.

While we know that some of our students don’t drink alcohol for religious reasons, many others do. If you like a beer (or even if you don’t!) then when you come to study with us you should go to the Horseshoe Bar in Drury Street in the city centre. It is a very old bar, established by Calvary Captain John Scouller in 1884. It is famous because its bar, measuring 104 feet and three inches, is the longest continuous bar in Europe.

Ecole Diagonale – Our Sister School In Paris

École Diagonale is a private High School in the 5th arrondissement in the heart of Paris, with its four buildings located within a very short walk from the historic and magnificent Jardins du Luxembourg. It is a school that strives to combine the exceptional artistic and sports talents of its students with a rigorous academic programme and very responsive follow-up by its dedicated professors.

In the distant 1990, the establishment Diagonale started as a small education centre for additional classes in various subjects to help students improve their academic scores at their respective schools.  Quite rapidly, with the innovative teaching approach and the amazing ambition of our Principal and school owner, Mr. Michel Naniche, the education centre became a French State-recognised High School in 2008. These past years, we are proud to announce our excellent results at the National Baccalauréat with up to 92 % success rating. While, our school tends to be flexible towards the students ranked at high national level in various sports in France, our teaching methods of constant availability for our students proves to be very effective and productive. Although it started as a small education structure, today, we have about 600 students aged 14 to 18 in our establishment, and we plan to expand and be able to accept 800 students, next autumn!

As the main English professor to our senior students, I have always been trying to develop international projects and ways of co-operation with other schools abroad which would be a beneficial and enriching experience and opportunity for our ambitious students. Therefore, as part of my personal efforts and with the tremendous support of Ecole Diagonale, I initiated and am currently working on the development of our first international agreement of cooperation with another group of schools, the Glasgow/Global Schools of English in Scotland, with its two centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Filip Zafirovski (left) with Principal Michel Naniche.
Filip Zafirovski (left) with Principal Michel Naniche (wearing the Edinburgh sweatshirt!).

I have been a full time professor of English and Specialised English at Ecole Diagonale since 2011 and my personal international education background confirms my firm belief that language and international training are indispensable for any young person seeking to succeed personally and professionally. Since the age of 16, I have been travelling and studying abroad, earning my certificates and diplomas in foreign languages, international education, politics and international affairs, co-operation and development, cultural diplomacy and globalisation, which was crucial in my decision to teach my students to become well-rounded citizens of the world. Moreover, having done parts of my education in New York, Berlin, Bordeaux, Paris and southern Italy and Macedonia, I encourage my students strongly to travel, explore the world and study abroad in order to broaden their horizons.

Finally, I sincerely hope that this sister school arrangement with the Glasgow/Global Schools in Scotland will be an excellent asset and option for our students to visit Scotland, learn about the Scottish culture, while above all, they improve their English skills at very reasonable prices. As the person responsible for developing this collaboration, I will personally do my best to enhance this joint project between our two schools, for the benefit of our students and all our staff members.

Filip Zafirovski