Educational Journeys to Normandy

Who We Are

Stella Powling

I think learning languages is great! I’ve also loved France ever since spending 6 months there as an au pair, aged 18 – so this is definitely my dream job.

With a degree in linguistics, French and Chinese, I started my teaching career in Sarawak, Malaysia (VSO) and working with Vietnamese refugees (UNV), before coming home to teach French from Year 7 up to A2 level as well as English as an Additional Language in London secondary schools for over 20 years. It was as Language College Manager in a specialist language college that I first had the opportunity to teach modern foreign languages in primary schools as well. That is definitely the age at which to start learning languages!

Since giving up my full-time secondary teaching work in order to help set up Learning French in France, I have also set up and I continue to deliver MFL pedagogical and language training courses for primary teachers in Thurrock LA and written the Big Books to accompany the Rigolo primary French scheme, published by Nelson Thornes. (I fit in teaching botany and environmental studies at the Schools’ Education section of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, whenever I can!)

The variety of training I’ve undertaken for my current role has likewise been fascinating, from First Aid, through Off-site Safety Management and minibus driving, to a course here in France in Food Hygiene organized by our local ‘Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie’.

As director of our centre at Commes I now have the wonderful opportunity, not only to garden to my heart’s content, but even more importantly to teach young people French in the best possible environment – France itself. Nothing beats, for instance, teaching pupils how to buy things in a market – and then being in a local market with them an hour later and hearing them actually using the French we have taught them to buy their strawberries and their souvenirs; job satisfaction writ large.


Bob Sulatycki

With a background of teaching of history and economics in a London secondary school, I came to value school journeys as genuinely enriching experiences for children – educationally and socially. Our intention is to give children, from all backgrounds, the opportunity to find out first hand about the French language, as well as all the history associated with Normandy – from William the Conqueror to the D Day landings. It has been really rewarding and encouraging to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback from children and teachers who have stayed with us.

My own role is divided between doing a lot of the administrative and finance work for LFIF from our office in London, and getting out to Normandy to assist in the journeys. There are many aspects to the job. Being a trained first aider, and having qualifications in Off-site Safety Management as well as food hygiene, and with over 20 years of teaching experience, it all helps in dealing with most things that crop up.


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