A few highlights in the history of Languages International …


Languages International is formally incorporated. Small classes are started in our first house in Princes Street (described by a European retailer as ‘one of the most beautiful language school locations in the world’).

1980Chris and Frances Woolcott

Chris Woolcott is the first New Zealand school principal to visit Japan to promote New Zealand as a destination for individual study. During the eighties, Chris and Frances Woolcott spearhead the marketing of New Zealand education in Europe, North Asia, South-East Asia, Central and South America, and the French Pacific.


Frances Woolcott is a founding executive of the Federation of Independent English Language Schools of New Zealand (FIELSNZ), later to become English New Zealand.


The University of Cambridge gives approval to Languages International to run the first RSA/Cambridge certificate-level teacher training course in New Zealand for English language teachers (now known as the Cambridge CELTA). This leads to the creation of the Languages International Teacher Education Centre, which has subsequently run Cambridge diploma-level courses (Cambridge DELTA) and created its own TESOL Professional Development Course for non-native speakers.


Languages International becomes the first language school in New Zealand to gain ISO accreditation.
Languages International reaches agreement with the Auckland City Council for long term leases on historically protected houses in Princes Street in exchange for serious renovation work. Since 1994, the Woolcotts have renovated five of Auckland’s heritage buildings for the school.


The company’s board is formalised. Brian Corban BA LLB QSM agrees to take the position of Chairman. Brian is well-known and respected in New Zealand. He also later went on to become Chairman of Radio New Zealand and of New Zealand’s largest power company, amongst others.


The school opens its state-of-the-art learning centre and new student cafe.
The New Zealand National Business Review describes Languages International as ‘One of New Zealand’s Most Exciting Educational Companies’.
Senior academic staff publish English language teaching titles with Macmillan-Heinemann and Oxford University Press.


Languages International moves outside Auckland for the first time, opening a new branch in Christchurch and renovating another of New Zealand’s heritage buildings in the process.
Languages International becomes a member of Quality English, an international group of English language schools that are among the best in the world.


Languages International wins the Study Travel Magazine Star Award for the best English language school in the Southern Hemisphere. The awards are voted for by language travel retailers all around the world.


Languages International branches in a new direction: providing literacy support for New Zealand companies and agencies. Beginning with English language support for applicants to the NZ Police, The Literacy Professionals has since helped many New Zealand workers to gain more enjoyment and benefit from their work by improving their key language and literacy skills.
Languages International becomes a member of IALC, the International Association of Language Centres, a global association of independent language schools that share a passion for language teaching and high professional standards.


Languages International starts administering the Occupational English Test (OET), a test of English for healthcare professionals, on behalf of Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment. The school has since started providing services to help OET candidates to prepare for the test.


Languages International’s Director of Teacher Training, Craig Thaine, works with co-authors and Cambridge University Press to publish Empower, a 6-level series of General English textbooks. This adds to Craig’s impressive list of ELT publications with CUP in the areas of Teacher Training, English for Academic Purposes and General English skills.


Chris and Frances Woolcott pass ownership of Languages International into the hands of a team that has worked for and with them for much of the school’s history, marking a key transition in the history of not only the school but also the English language industry in New Zealand.


Languages International is one of the first three English New Zealand schools to be allowed to offer an Approved Pathway Assessment (APA). Under an agreement between English New Zealand and Universities New Zealand, the APA enables students to fulfill English-language entry requirements for courses at NZ universities by way of an assessed language course, rather than a single examination.