Our History

LAL Language Centres was set up in Torbay in 1980, and offers language courses with leisure programmes for adults and young learners around the world. The LAL group of schools is owned by a large German tour operator, FTI. We have schools for adults in Boston, London, Torbay, Florida, Cape Town, Malta and Gozo. We also run residential summer schools in the UK, USA and Malta.

The 1980s

1980: LAL Language Centres founded in England

LAL was set up in Torbay in 1980 to bring German tourists over to the English Riviera to learn English. Students were taught in various locations around the towns, including their host homes.

1981: LAL Sprachreisen founded in Germany

Following the success of LAL in Torbay, A dedicated language travel agency was set up in Germany to deliver students to LAL Language Centres.

1983: Frosch Touristik opens in Germany

The Frosch Touristik travel company opened in Germany in 1983. LAL became part of FTi in 1986.

1984: Torbay Language Centre opens in Paignton

After successful trading and teaching students in diverse locations around Torbay, LAL bought part of a former private school in Conway Road, and opened its first year-round school.

1985: IELS opens in Malta

The Institute of English Language Studies opened as a joint venture between LAL and the Festa company in Malta.

The 1990s

1992: Florida Language Center opens

LAL opened its third school in Fort Lauderdale, USA.

1996: Cape Communication Centre joins the LAL Group

The Cape Communication Centre, which had been founded as an independent company, became an LAL school in 1996.

1996: Unified branding

As Cape Town joined LAL, all the schools received unified branding based on the companies’ initials. TLC, IELS, FLC and CCC were to be seen for the next ten years.

1998: First CELTA course run in Torbay

Teacher training was launched at our school in Paignton in 1998, and has continued ever since. We have an almost unbroken pass record, and we now offer the advanced DELTA course as well.

1998: First Summer School

The Torbay Language Centre opened a residential Summer School at Shebbear College, a boys’ boarding school in Devon. It was to prove a winning formula.

1999: First LAL website launched

LAL launched its first website in 1999, with information about programmes for the year 2000.

The 2000s

2000: Airtours buys FTI

British holiday company Airtours, which became MyTravel shortly afterwards, bought FTI.

2003: FTI bought back

Dietmar Gunz bought back FTI from MyTravel, to run it as an independent company again.

2003: Summer School at Kelly College

The popular Summer School for young learners moved to Kelly College in Tavistock.

2005: Major refurbishment of Torbay Language Centre

The group’s first school was closed for the winter, and teaching transferred to our junior centre in Torquay, while major refurbishment was carried out. New entrances, a landscaped garden, an improved general lounge and a new lounge for adult students, as well as a large reception area, took shape in time for reopening in March 2006.

2006: Schools rebrand as LAL

All the LAL schools were renamed to reflect their membership of the LAL Group, and new branding was introduced. It was to prove short-lived.

2007: Second Summer School in Taunton

After eight years of successful summer schools in Devon, a programme at Taunton School was launched in 2007.

2008: Summer School opens in Boca Raton

Following the success of Summer Schools in the UK, LAL Fort Lauderdale started its own Summer School at Lynn University.

2009: Third UK Summer School opens in Winchester

St Swithun’s School became the host for our third Summer School in England.

2009: New corporate identity

A unified brand for LAL Language Centres and LAL Sprachreisen was introduced in 2009, introducing the red LAL roundel for the first time.

The 2010s

2010: LAL London opens

Our second year-round school in England opens in Twickenham in January 2010. The first student surprised our staff by arriving an hour early by mistake.

2011: LAL course book published

“Round the World” is LAL’s first course book for young learners. It is devised and designed in-house, with five levels from Elementary to Advanced

2011: First Summer School in New York

LAL opens a Summer School at the Rosehill Campus of Fordham University.

2013: Summer School opens in Berkhamsted

Berkhamsted School becomes our latest Summer School campus in the UK

2015: LAL Boston opens

LAL begins trading in Boston, Massachusetts, having acquired and refurbished the Language Skills school in Friend Street.

2015: New Summer School in Brighton

LAL Launches another Summer School in England at the American Express Community Stadium and the University of Sussex.