About Andrew James –

Who I am, What I do and Where I live:

I am part of an ‘Anglo-Magyar’ family based in Kecskemét, Hungary, where I have been teaching English since 2011, as well as examining, writing, training, consulting and editing. My wife is a Hungarian citizen and Head of English at the secondary school in Kecskemét where she was a student in the 1980s and where my younger son (17) is now studying bilingually. My elder son, born here, is now twenty-nine and teaching Modern Foreign Languages at a school in Suffolk. He is also active in his local community church.

I was born in Sherwood Forest, or at least in a town, Arnold, on the edge of where the forest once stood. In the 1950s it was more famous for long-johns rather than Little Johns! Being born at home, I can truly claim to have been a ‘son of the manse’, since my father was a Baptist minister, having begun his working life as a draughtsman in a Black Country steelworks. My mother was the daughter of a Warwickshire coalminer and a silk ribbon-weaver and was brought up in war-time in a village on the outskirts of Coventry. Both of my grandparents were from good, honest, working-class stock. Seymour Gulliver, one of fourteen children, traced his ancestry back to the tradesmen Gullivers of the seventeenth-century Banburyshire of Swift’s ‘traveller’, and from them back through Gunpowder plotters to Norman barons who came over with the Conqueror. Family history was always in the atmosphere during visits across the Midlands, especially when we moved as a young family to our second manse on the western boundary of the city of Birmingham, where I attended George Dixon Grammar School. In the late sixties and early seventies, Birmingham had become a bustling, multi-cultural second city, and I went to school with an array of sons of ‘immigrants’ – Irish, Welsh, Polish, Yugoslav, Caribbean, South Asian, Greek Cypriot and Jewish. This experience and the emergence of the National Front had a major impact on my historical and political interests at university. Since most of my teachers were Welsh, I suppose it was a logical choice to go the University in north Wales when I left school.

Candy Corner, a recently completed jigsaw (in ‘lockdown’)

While in Bangor, I learnt Welsh and became an active student representative, while my interest in history continued to flourish. My academic skills and abilities developed rapidly under Gwilym Usher, R. Tudur Jones, Keith Robbins, Michael Lynch and Emlyn Sherrington. I secured a First Class Honours degree and with it a Major State Studentship, which enabled me to study for a PhD. I moved from early modern period to the twentieth century and exchanged the beautiful surroundings of Snowdonia for the human-scale city of Cardiff and the post-industrial coalfield valleys. My tutors there were the irrepressible Gwyn Alf Williams and the dynamic Dai Smith, both prolific historical craftsmen. They deliberately gathered around them a group of ‘apprentice’ historians of which I was one. I also remained active in the Welsh branch of the NUS and spent a sabbatical year in Dylan Thomas’ Swansea as a full-time officer, or ‘Cadeirydd’. Returning to Cardiff, I completed my research in London, Coventry and Oxford, as well as in the valleys, before doing a PGCE in Religious Education at Trinity College, Carmarthen.

After eight years as a student, by 1983 I was flat broke, and so took the first teaching job offered (in difficult times for teachers) in the former mill-towns of Lancashire, where part of our induction was to listen to the recollections from the senior staff of children coming to school in clogs. Returning to Coventry following my father’s death, I went to work at one of the city’s first comprehensive schools, built near the site of the colliery where my grandfather had worked before and during the second world war, latterly with the ‘Bevin boys’. Both in Lancashire and Coventry I taught history to the second post-war generation, with an emphasis on the use of primary sources. Trying to find a way to finish writing my thesis, I took a part-time role with the Quakers in education for peace and international understanding, and finally submitted my thesis in 1988. I gained my PhD the following year, while continuing to teach history at Halesowen College. The following autumn I came to Hungary with a group of Quaker teachers, returning with an exchange group from Coventry visiting its twin-town of Kecskemét. During our visit, I met my wife, a teacher of English and History at a local school in the town. We married in the spring of the following year, when I came to work for the first time as a teacher-trainer at the College of Education.

I also organised a further echange programme through the EU’s TEMPUS fund in conjunction with Newman and Westhill Colleges in Birmingham. After three semesters in Hungary, I moved back to work in Selly Oak, training primary teachers in History and Religious while continuing to co-ordinate the programme from its other end. Returning to Hungary in the summer of 1992 with my wife and young son, I set up a longer-term in-service teacher-training programme with Devon County Council and Baranya County Assembly, receiving a public service award in 1996, when we returned to the UK. Whilst in Hungary, I also taught English and British Studies at the University of Pécs and studied for an M. Ed. in Teacher-training for ELT at the University of Education in Budapest, including a dissertation on Ethnographic approaches to in-service teacher-development in Dual Language Schools. For the next fifteen years, I taught English (IELTS and IGCSE) and History (at IB level) to international students at a variety of boarding schools in the West Country and Kent, including a year in the south of France, before a further return to Hungary and Kecskemét in 2011. Since then, I have been teaching a variety of courses in English, including Historical Linguistics, Inter-cultural Studies, European Studies, Comparative Education and Behavioural Economics.


As a not-for-profit ‘family’ co-operative, Anglo-Magyar Training only charge fees for training sessions, formal consultations (including video conferencing) and translations, by the hour, character-count or page, agreed in advance. Andrew is the main consultant and editor, providing services in English & Welsh, while Stefi provides training services & translation from/to Hungarian and English, and son Steffan in French and German. Other language users, including Spanish, Russian, Polish, Georgian, and Ukrainian, can be sought through our ‘Interlace’ and ‘Anglo-Magyar Media’ network groups on Facebook. These providers are all fully fluent and expert users of English. We also run an online magazine page and a resource exchange group for teachers, ‘Chalkface’. Those who are looking for more detailed research on inter-cultural topics and Communicative English Language teaching and training, can visit the archive ‘blog’, chandlerozconsultants.wordpress.com

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