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Our history & governance

Life in a Liberty Bodice – a book written by ESB Founder, Christabel Burniston.

The history of ESB and Christabel Burniston

English Speaking Board (International) Ltd. was founded by Christabel Burniston in 1953. Burniston was a true pioneer of her time; becoming one of just a small number of women to start their own enterprise in an incredibly male dominated society.

ESB’s early assessment methods were different from the norms, opting to deviate from the widely used ‘elocution’ learning for teaching articulation into a more group-friendly setting, helping learners develop general communication skills. 

ESB’s early ethos; to inspire and place great value on every individual, still holds true today. The provision of clear communication skills enables ESB learners to become more confident and able to contribute more in professional and social spheres.

Progression has been rapid for ESB. We now have a full range of qualifications for learners of all ages. From our traditional oracy-focused qualifications to Debating and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), ESB’s suite of products all aim to promote clear, effective communication skills. Today, we have a strong European presence due to our major partners in Greece and Italy, and our reach continues to expand internationally.

ESB’s vision is to continue to be a leader in the development and provision of high quality and relevant communication qualifications both in the UK and internationally.

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Our governance

Registered as a Charity No: 272565 
Company No: 01269980
Company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital.

Download the ESB Memorandum & Articles of Association here.

Our members

The support from our members is crucial to keep Christabel Burniston’s legacy and vision alive. Their main areas of responsibility for ESB include:

  • To support the Christabel Burniston Fund via fundraising or donating.
  • To contribute to the ESB archive with oral histories or donated items relating to ESB’s history.
  • To nominate other members suitable for the role of Trustee.

Members stay connected to the work of ESB through automatic subscription to ESB News and invitation to events. Their personal insight and stories continue to be of great interest to the organisation, and the membership continues to play a key role in celebrating the legacy of ESB and the ground-breaking work of its founder.

If you would like to become an ESB member, or if you would like to contribute to our archive, please get in touch with us, we’d love to hear from you.

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