CELTA nightmare?

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CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Velvet » 30 Sep 2008, 21:55

Hi all,
I am a non-native EFL teacher ,living in LONDON.Finding an EFL job without CELTA is really hard,even if I have an EFL degree.I decided to do the CELTA part-time course from this September.I live in south London and I found a language school not far from my workplace.I was really happy I don't have to travel to the City 2x a week.Well,I had my first day today and I am a bit confused,disappointed and upset.You have to know I did not have a good impression at the first time either.The school looked a bit disorganized and the receptionist with Polish accent did not know what CELTA was,she only understood TEFL.I still paid the 200 deposit and recently the 600 pounds as well. My feelings were just not good about it though..I was told I'd be in a group.1 week before the course they told me I'll be with a one-to-one teacher in the afternoon.OK.I was told Tuesday is with the teacher,Thursdays observations.OK.Time,date arranged,I appeared today at 4 on the dot,as agreed.Receptionist surprised,really? You have a one-to-one lesson? Really.Sorry,the teacher has gone.Hm.Let me call my boss...(he registered me the week before)Turned off.OK.Can you wait please?Sure...30 min later boss appeared,no apologies.You will observe today.Ok.I'll find you an observation sheet.30 more min.to get it...Can't find it,finally typing one himself.I've been sitting here for exactly 1 HOUR!waiting for my course to start.Finally.Go to this room,you can observe it till 6,(I have 1 hour-yeah!)I am going.3 students,filthy classroom,boring lesson.Teacher is not native and confesses she does not even have a degree,just an online TEFL course.I probably know more than her..Lasts for half an hour,and you can go home...Is it planning,organization?Or do I have too high expectations?Is it what I should get for nearly 800 pounds??What about my lesson on Thursday?Your teacher leaves at 4.30 on Thursdays.(agreed to have a lesson from 4-7)Will find another one,and we will call you.I didn't know if I should shout,cry or slap him on the face?Just didn't show it..I am looking forward to Thursday and tomorrow,when I will call them to inquire.What do you think?Is it how Celta part-time looks like???I've been saving and preparing for it for ages.And that's what I get...A dodgy school.I feel really really upset and cheated,how can I get a certificate in a school like this?Where can I complain?The guy I dealt with is the manager himself,unfortunately.I am thinking of asking for my money back if circumstances don't change.Please help me,I need advice,is it acceptable what they do?How can I find out if they are not fake and only want the money?Can I find it anywhere out if they are a legal school?
I am thinking of all the alternatives,just don't know what to think...Sorry for being upset,but I hope I get a few replies here about what to do..
Thanks very much in advance...
a devastated trainee student
Velvet
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Velvet » 30 Sep 2008, 23:47

I have checked them and could not find them in any of the accreditation lists.(British Council,etc.)They do claim though they are accredited-in an article.Unfortunately I cannot check their website because they changed their name recently and they're under construction.I know I should have checked it earlier,but I was careless..I blindly trusted them,thinking Celta is legal anywhere.Just read some scary articles about dodgy colleges around London,giving fake certificates and I am really scared of getting into their trap...I should have chosen quality ones I know in the City.I am not giving up though,I'd even sue them if they carry on with what they're doing.I also found some comments about them on this forum,about not paying their teachers,etc...
I am not naming them only because I am still their student,I don't know for how long.
Any ideas? I'd really appreciate any replies...
Thanks :(
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Alex Case » 01 Oct 2008, 14:44

First you need to check if your centre does actually have permission from Cambridge to offer the CELTA by searching here:

http://cambridgeesol-centres.org/centre ... g/index.do

Then you need to complain to Cambridge either way, either because they are pretending to be able to offer it or because they have permission when they are clearly not up to the job
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Velvet » 01 Oct 2008, 20:17

Thanx Alex.I have checked it but they are not on it...Can you give me a website or contact of Cambridge where I can complain? I am afraid I need to claim my money back and I do not know much about the procedure,therefore I need some professional advice.The 'manager' didn't call me today,of course.I called them,and the receptionsit said he is away,as I expected.Then I broke out...I told her I paid too much money and I am not getting a service,after she said she has no clue if I have a lesson tomorrow.I asked for his mobile number,she did not give it to me.She said she will call him and then she will let me know.She called me back saying she could not reach him,but 'she will pass the message and he will call me tomorrow'.Just like today...What should I do? I am afraid I am going there and make a scandal,instead of enjoying it and have a lovely time like anybody else.....I emailed British Council about it but there is no reply yet.According to an article they are accredited by Cambridge,so I think the best thing is to complain there.
Does anyone think I have a chance to get my money back,because I'd like to start a proper course somewhere else.
Does anyone have similar experience?
Thx,
Velvet
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Alex Case » 01 Oct 2008, 23:05

It sounds like a proper criminal rip off. If they are not a Cambridge CELTA centre then Cambridge won't be able to help you get your money back, but they will still need to know about it in case they want to sue them for offering their qualifications without permission etc:

http://www.cambridgeesol.org/contact.html

Once you are absolutely sure that they cannot offer the (real Cambridge) CELTA, demand (not ask) for your money back and threaten to go to the police or sue them if they don't give you a real refund. If they don't comply, go to the police and the Citizens' Advice Bureau for help
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby martinmcmorrow » 02 Oct 2008, 12:45

Your experience really does sound like a nightmare. The CELTA can't be offered on a one-to-one basis, so what you're doing clearly isn't one. By the way, you'd also have to had had an interview and completed a pre-interview task and then a pre-course task before the CELTA course started. And on the first day of a CELTA course you need to be given documentation from Cambridge - this includes the CELTA 5 form, which you need to sign and a blue form which you need to sign and then retain the second half, which describes the complaints procedure. All CELTA centres need to display their centre agreement prominently (usually at reception or on the wall of the training centre).

Although I am based in New Zealand, I come from South London and know the area pretty well. I don't know of any language schools in South London offering part-time CELTA courses. There are relatively few CELTA courses of any kind. I think the longest-established CELTA centre is probably Eurocentres - they have (or had) branches in Lee Green and Forest Hill (as well as their Victoria HQ). Some of the FE colleges in S. London offer CELTA - Lewisham College used to, I think, for instance. Anyway, as Alex said, you just need to check the Cambridge website to see all the centres there. But this 'school' clearly isn't. By the way, unaccredited schools in the UK will very soon be prevented from having overseas students on student visas - and it doesn't look like the school you're at would pass the standards required by the accrediting body (Accreditation UK). In which case, it will soon be closing down.

Feel free to write to me confidentially if you'd like to talk about your situation more. I don't see what you've got to lose by naming this course. And why waste your time continuing - what possible benefit will any certificate awarded by the organisation be?

You probably need to find evidence to show you've been defrauded or missold a service. Does any receipt or acceptance letter you have include the word 'CELTA'. Can you post it here? Were you told it was a CELTA course. You see, if they said 'CELTA equivalent' it gives them more wriggle room - though you would still certainly have a good case in the Small Claims Court - which is probably where this is heading. But see if you can get a refund directly from the 'school' first - you might have to kick up a fuss to do that though.

Anyway, you have my sympathies,

Martin McMorrow
New Zealand
mmcm@hotmail.com
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Velvet » 03 Oct 2008, 00:44

Thanks very much Martin! I will email you with some details,thanks for your help in advance.
I have some 'news' though and I would like to share it with the forum.Apparently I had a class today,as I was promised on Tuesday.They canceled it 1 hour before the class.The school is in Wimbledon,so I rushed there as I got the message.I asked for the manager,he was not there and my favourite receptionist was really surprised I was there,as she canceled it already.She could not give me an explanation why it was canceled, was embarassed and cornered-didn't expect to see me.She said the manager will be back in about 20 min,I said I can wait.She said I'd better come back..Why? He must have been hiding somewhere in the school,I thought.I left,took some deep breath,and went back in 20 min.Surprise,he was there,waiting for me.Looked disturbed,hardly looked at me.Suspicious,isn't it?Then we sat down and talked.I told him it seems it is not a proper CELTA course.And I am not satisfied with the quality-he apologized,they don't have a teacher.How come you had one 1 week ago when I gave you 600 pounds?-I asked.Oh,she left after that.What a simple lie!Then,he said it is NOT a CELTA course,it is a TEFL course.Their website clearly said CELTA when I applied,which is 'under construction' after recently they changed their name.Therefore I cannot get the proof from there.He thinks I am a fool after we definitely talked about CELTA during registration.The receipts and my application form says TEFL though.It is partly my mistake as well,as I thought CELTA is part of TEFL.It was definitely on their website in the course options,I remember searching CELTA,and it appeared.So I asked for a refund on the basis of not getting the offered course and of course he said he cannot give it back.Then I left him saying he should find me a solution soon because I am not intending to carry on with his course,even if it is TEFL,I want CELTA.I did not say anything about police,yet.Then I came home,looked at my course material which he gave me a month ago,when I paid the deposit,and thank God!It is about CELTA! CELTA course this,CELTA course that..He gave me this and now claiming it is a TEFL course.I got the proof! I just did not realized it earlier as it was obvious for me it was a CELTA.I can now contact Cambridge saying he is selling this document.I also found several websites saying this school have CELTA courses,that's another proof as well.When I told him this he said nothing.
Anyway,there was a pre-course task and interview on my application form,but they said I do not have to do it as I am a teacher.There was no Cambridge documentation,of course.That form looked professional but did not mention CELTA.He said he will call me on Monday to give me a 'solution' but I am not expecting much of it..
As far as I know TEFL is quite good,internationally recognised as well,but they don't accept it everywhere like CELTA.Do you know who accredits the TEFL course? If it turns out they are really TEFL I can still complain about the quality.
Yes,I don't know about many CELTA part time in the area either,that's why I was happy at first they have one in Wimbledon,near my place.I am thinking of the next step now and I will email you about the rest.
I feel it's like a blog,perhaps I should open a blog about it... :D I will see,how long this nightmare will last,but unfortunately I am still deep in it..Thanks for reading.
Velvet
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Alex Case » 03 Oct 2008, 01:02

"TEFL" is just a general description of any qualification for teaching English as a foreign language, and therefore the quality could be anywhere from a CELTA (which is also a kind of TEFL course) to a single afternoon with no observed teaching practice to a complete rip-off. There is no regulating body saying what people can call a TEFL course and what its standards must be
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Velvet » 03 Oct 2008, 01:20

That's what I thought as well,I never heard about TEFL course as a particular one.But does it exsist as a course at all,or is it just a fake name? (by him)
He calls his course TEFL which is 'like CELTA' and they accpet it as well for jobs.Oh yeah,and he does not need accreditation and can cheat people by saying it is like CELTA,while giving out CELTA materials..?He probably forgot he gave me those in summer,which might be my luck to prove it against him..
Velvet
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Alex Case » 03 Oct 2008, 01:49

You certainly have enough evidence. Tell him you plan to go to Cambridge, the police and a lawyer and tell him what evidence you have, and then if he doesn't give you a full refund please do exactly that. If you wish to name the school to protect others, may I suggest this site:

http://teflblacklist.blogspot.com/
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Velvet » 04 Oct 2008, 21:48

Thanks.I am definitely going to name them after I get over it,posting it all existing forums,blacklists,etc.
I am going to speak to him on Monday,getting ready with all my documents and points against him,saying hopefully we can agree so I do not have to take this further.If we can't,I am going to make a big fuss and apply to the proper quarters with my complaints.I am giving him the last chance to sort it out between ourselves,if it does not work,I am ready for the fight..I am going to bring my big tall fiancé with me as well,just in case :D
Anyway,could someone tell me if TEFL exists as an individual course?As you said,Celta is a Tefl course and there are many other Tefl courses,but is there a course only called Tefl with its own materials and certificate?
That's what the man claims they have,to deceive me and confuse me more,so I need the information about it to turn it against him.
Thanks,good night
Velvet
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Alex Case » 05 Oct 2008, 08:59

Good luck with that

In answer to your question, no there is not as far as I am aware (and I am fairly up on such things) any TEFL course called simply "TEFL"
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Velvet » 05 Oct 2008, 14:20

Thanks.But I found this: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/language-centre/Co ... escription
It seems to describe a course called TEFL.Even is he is right he doesn't run his course properly,either Celta or Tefl and I can complain in both cases.
I hope the best...
Velvet
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Velvet » 10 Oct 2008, 14:36

Hi everyone,

This guy (the manager)seems a complete ....hole.I sent him an official complaint letter,he did not read it,I went to see him twice to discuss it and handed him the letter to read it finally,no reaction.I mentioned all my evidences, no explanation.He could not explain why he advertised Celta or gave me Celta materials.He is completely indifferent and unable to negotiate with.Now he 'promised'to come back to me in a week,but that's what he does,keep promising and he never calls me back.I tried this,warned him,told him what I want.Now I am going to start a war against him and I am going to go as far as possible.Not just because of my money but because I can see he is cheating others too.
He keeps telling me he will find a teacher for my course,AFTER I paid the fee and agreed on a starting date.In the meanwhile he is advertising on gumtree,looking for teachers for his school.By the way,this dodgy college is called:
ACCESS COLLEGE (FORMERLY ELITE COLLEGE) and is in Wimbledon.Never,never do apply for a job there if you want to get paid,because he won't pay you.You can read more infos on this forum about them,some teachers complained already about not getting paid.And never go to study there on any courses.I am going to open another topic with their name and will say everything I know about them.The dodgiest 'school' I have ever seen!!!!!!
I am making the legal steps now to destroy them,and I am really hoping I can win in the end.
Velvet
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Alex Case » 10 Oct 2008, 14:38

If you have a legal case, make sure you act quickly before the school and/ or the manager disappear.
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Velvet » 10 Oct 2008, 14:39

Sorry,not on this forum,here is the link: http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=60205

Esl cafe.They are famous already and I am going to make them even more famous...
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Velvet » 10 Oct 2008, 14:45

I am trying to do my best but unfortunately it takes some time.I started the process but I need to wait for authorities' reply now.
Even if they disappear I am going to report the guy as a person for cheating.
Velvet
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Alex Case » 10 Oct 2008, 14:50

Very odd webpage for Elite:

http://www.elitecollege.com/

Did you phone that number?
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby Velvet » 10 Oct 2008, 15:56

Elite is their old name,they changed it to Access College.
www.accesscollege.co.uk
The new one is 'under construction',especially their teacher's training courses are not available...
Their number changed too,I think it is on their new website too.They only have foreign receptionist with strong accents,I think all the British ran away from there,only foreigners tolerate their law pay..a shame..
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Re: CELTA nightmare?

Unread postby superwelshman » 15 Oct 2008, 19:19

Can you remember the names of any of the Managers you spoke to?

I worked for this place when it was called Elite and they didn't pay me. Now they've changed the name and have a brand new sign but it seems to be the same place - eager to take lots of money but the service is poor, if non-existent.

Sue them my friend. The reason they had to change their name before must have been because of all the money they owed in back salaries so I think you should do it again. Did you pay them under Elite or Access?

It's a complete disgrace that they continue to operate. I tried contacting the Government about them but to no avail. The local newspaper printed the report a year after I told tnem!!!

If the person who said that they were prepared to take any legal steps necessary to close this outfit, let me know and I will support them in any way I can.
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