About us

Your children are important to us and registering them with Roaming Schoolhouse is an investment. You need to know as much about that investment as possible.

Starting up

Roaming Schoolhouse was set up by Cate O’Connor in 2006. At that time, a substantial number of English speaking children in Paris were missing out on the opportunity of speaking English in an academic environment and with their peers.  She started giving private lessons to some of those children and the word spread. The first summer camp was held in 2007. By 2011, there were 250 children registered with 4 teachers at five different locations.

One of the children being taught was Alice Ferguson and when Cate decided that she wanted to return to Ireland after 9 years in Paris and close the Roaming Schoolhouse, her Dad was very upset.  He decided that RSH had to live on! There were three things that sold the idea to him (other than the fact that Alice obviously enjoyed it so much):

  1. The teachers — Cate had always insisted on having qualified, native speakers as teaching staff. Teaching is a vocation and our teachers are passionate about what they do and the children they teach. 
  2. The programme — this was based on the subjects that children would be learning in the UK and Ireland.
  3. The atmosphere — the style of teaching was very much the antithesis of the French public system.  Team work, creative writing, show and tell, enjoyment and encouragement are the order of the day.

Since that time that Derek took over, a lot has happened – Alice graduated from Balzac, and is is starting her second year at university in the UK. Her younger brother Thomas has attended many of our camps over the years and has often been a helper in classes. We have students who have been with us since primary school, and now in one of our lycée classes, and we have new families joining us every year and at various camps. Covid didn’t stop us either, pushing us to expand our online offerings – classes and one-off offerings like our author event with Sarah Roberts, a “real adventurer” (direct quote from one of our eager student participants).

As of this school year, Roaming Schoolhouse became an association, allowing us to create more opportunities for what classes/ camps/ events we can offer (and how). It will also give us more access to different and viable locations, and facilitates an increase in your participation as parents.

Derek is president of the association, and Jennie, Gillian and Pardiese are responsible for the day-to-day management of RSH.


Who is the management team?

Some of you already know us but for those who don’t, full profiles are also on the Teachers’ page here.  

Jennie has been with Roaming Schoolhouse since 2011, becoming Head Teacher in September 2020. With her two Masters in Education, CELTA certification and experience teaching IELTS, Jennie is highly qualified to act as the Pedagogical Manager for the association, in addition to the teaching she will be doing. Having had a bilingual daughter go through an English section in France, and who is now at university in the UK, Jennie also knows the questions and issues that many RSH parents face.

Gillian joined RSH in 2013 and was appointed as Head Teacher in March 2014. She has taught at all levels in the UK, as well as having trained with OFSTED and advising on literacy and languages. In 2020 she stepped back from some of her duties and became Head of Online Content and Camp Director for RSH. Gillian continues in this role in a management capacity for the association, in addition to the online classes she will be teaching. 

After being an RSH parent with her younger son Benjamin, Pardiese jumped at the chance to join the RSH team. She has been helping on the administrative side of Roaming Schoolhouse since late 2019, leveraging her MBA and years of experience working with small and large businesses in the nonprofit and private sectors. She is a first point of contact with families, managing the financial and registration questions, and is responsible for communications for RSH – not to mention a few other things! Being the mother of 2 bilingual children going through the French education system also helps add to the experience she can share with the RSH family.


What does Roaming Schoolhouse do?

Roaming Schoolhouse provides after-school classes for English-speaking children in English. We are a mobile school: classes are held where there is sufficient demand.

Children are in the French school system and therefore are not sufficiently challenged in terms of English.

Classes are limited to 10 students.  Only English is spoken during class.

“Some bilingual parents worry endlessly about correctness of grammar, accuracy of vocabulary, not mixing two languages, and skilled interpreting and translating. Instead, the most important factor in raising a bilingual child is to make their language development a pleasure, a positive and enjoyable experience.” – Colin Baker A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism.


Our teachers

Our teachers are all qualified native English speakers.

See our teachers' bios.

Why parents send their children to Roaming Schoolhouse

Who better to tell you about us and what we do than the parents who have entrusted their children's education to us for so long?

Video by Charlie Budd.