Meet the team

Meet the team

The staff at English Language School are friendly and professional. We help students to enroll before they come to South Africa, and look after students while they are in South Africa.   We recommend courses to match your needs and help you enjoy your homestay family by giving you support seven days a week.  Finally we will arrange activities and trips to great places in South Africa.


Kim Barker  Director:  Academic

Kim started her career as a speech therapist and is therefore well suited to assist students with pronunciation.  She has an MPhil in Applied Linguistics from Cambridge University which focuses on the teaching of English as a second/foreign language.  She has written text books on English as a second language and done research on accessibility of texts to learners.   For twenty years she has worked with students in various capacities.

Kim is currently completing her PhD.

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David Barker:  Director Support Services

After his first degree in the biological sciences David did a postgraduate diploma in education and taught for four years.  After completing a honours degree in psychology he moved into adult training and education and has spent about twenty years in this field in one way or another.

He has written a number of school textbooks. 

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Jessica Cockburn: Teacher

After completing her TEFLE course Jess taught English as a Foreign Language for two years in public schools in South Korea.  

She taught at a University for a period and is currently doing her PhD, Jess speaks four languages, enjoys travelling and meeting new people.



Ann Smailes:  Teacher

Ann has a Honours Degree in Linguistics and English Language Teaching and a Higher Diploma in Education. 

 She has 13 years of experience teaching English and two years of teaching French as a foreign language. 

Ann also works at Rhodes University  in The Institute for the Study of English in Africa and teaches English language teachers who wish to upgrade their qualifications from a diploma to a university degree.  

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Ruth Woudstra: Teacher

Ruth has two Master’s degrees, and enjoys balancing academic learning with teaching, writing and travelling.

After acquiring a CELTA certificate in Cambridge in the UK, she taught foreign students at the University of Pretoria for 18 months. During this time she passed her TESOL certificate.

Ruth stayed in Japan for three years and taught conversational English and lectured to English as a Second Language to first year university students. While in Japan, she completed a Certificate in Teaching English to Young Learners. 

Finally, Ruth has three years experience in South Africa, teaching English to school learners, where English is not their home language as well as first language English.

She speaks six languages and enjoys interaction with a wide variety of people.


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Helen Holleman:  Teacher

Helen is a CELTA-qualified teacher with a BA in English and ten years’ experience of teaching English in Taiwan. She is passionate about teaching and has taught all levels of English from Beginner to Advanced, and has taught all ages, from classes of young children (5-6 years old) to post-graduate students and one-on-one sessions with corporate clients.

Helen is also the author of books on exhibition English, public speaking, and writes for a Taiwanese company.



English Language School : a modern language school in an historic city

Our vision is to be an internationally sought-after destination for English language learning with a reputation for achieving excellent results and offering an exceptional, life-enriching all-round learning experience.

Our mission is to provide world class English teaching, and TEFL courses, using the latest materials and technology, in learning environment that offers a warm welcome and lots of fun.