The English Language Advisory Group advises the English and Examinations leadership team and influences how the British Council’s vision and strategy are developed.

The English Language Advisory Group reports to the Executive Board. Its formation or disbandment is the responsibility of the Chief Executive. It is a forum for advice and has no decision making or executive powers. 

The members of the English Language Advisory Group are listed below.

English Language Advisory Group

Catherine Walter

Catherine Walter - Chair

Catherine is a researcher, teacher educator and materials developer.  She has recently retired as an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Oxford, and is the Welfare and Equalities Officer of Linacre College, Oxford.  Catherine is a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellow and a Past President of IATEFL (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language). 

English Advisory Group member Dave Allan

Dave Allan

Dave Allan is the Director of NILE, the Norwich Institute for Language Education, which in the last 20 years has provided professional development for 40,000 teachers from 65 countries. Dave has been in ELT for 40 years, has worked regularly worldwide with and for the British Council since 1982 and has served on a range of British Council committees and working parties. He’s also a fanatical supporter of Sunderland AFC.

English Advisory Group member Eric Baber

Eric Baber

Eric Baber is Learning Solutions Support Director for Cambridge University Press. In this role he is responsible for training delivery to internal sales teams, teachers and school management in particular around digital products and technology integration, along with a number of other support-related areas. He has published widely on technology and language-learning related areas and is Past President of IATEFL (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language).

English Advisory Group member Christopher Kennedy

Prof. Chris Kennedy

Chris was formerly a full-time Professor at the University of Birmingham and is now an Honorary Research Fellow at Birmingham and Warwick Universities. He is a former Chair of ETAC, and a past President of IATEFL, and has been a teacher, trainer, academic, manager, and consultant during his career. He recently edited a collection on ELT in Iran for the BC Teaching English series.

John McGovern English Language Advisory Group

John McGovern

John’s career splits into four distinct periods. The first is as a TESL (Teacher of English as a Second Language0 teacher in a London comprehensive (3 years); the second as an ELT specialist with the British Council in Iran, Jordan, London and Japan (13 years); the third as Director of the Institute for English Language Education and then Director of the International Office at Lancaster University (19 years); the fourth was a self-employed higher education consultant (7 years and counting).

English Advisory Groups member Shelagh Rixon

Shelagh Rixon

Shelagh graduated in Classics from the University of Cambridge. She was a British Council Officer between 1974 and 1991, working as Project Officer for the King Abdul Aziz ESP project in Saudi Arabia, teacher in the English Language Teaching Institute, Portland Place and English Language Officer posts in Italy.  At the University of Warwick she set up the MA strand in English for Young Learners in 1991.  She retired from Warwick in 2010 since when she has completed her PhD.

English Advisory Group member Philida Schellenkens

Dr Philida Schellekens

Dr Philida Schellekens is an expert in language learning with a particular interest in workplace, vocational training and study contexts.  Philida works as a consultant, speaker, researcher, author and teacher trainer in the UK and internationally.   

PIcture coming soon

Andrew Thompson

Andrew Thompson is a journalist and political risk analyst. After a politics and economics degree at Oxford he was a foreign correspondent in Mexico City (The Guardian), Buenos Aires (The Times) and Rio de Janeiro (BBC). He worked for BBC World Service, including as head of the Latin American Service and of the Americas Region. He was head of BBC Learning English. He won the King of Spain prize for a radio documentary on Latin America, and is co-author of a dictionary of Latin American politics.