Our Team

Hamish McIlwraith MA, MSc, Dip TESOL

Hamish is an international education specialist who has 35 years of experience as a teacher, lecturer, trainer and consultant in China, the Indian subcontinent, Latin America, North Africa, the Middle East and Eastern & Central Europe. He advises a wide range of public and private educational institutions as well as government departments on education policy and its implementation. Up until recently, he was a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Open Learning where he developed an online English language testing service for the university’s vast range of online Masters postgraduate courses across the University’s three Colleges. He also supervised Masters’ students through their MSc TESOL dissertations.   

Hamish founded McIlwraith Education in 2004, and has steadily built the company’s client-base to include the UNICEF, DFID, the British Council and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He has written and edited five books on different themes on education including English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) and implementing language policies. He has also written two other books including an oral history of farming communities in Scotland. His main professional interests include English language testing, national language polices, project evaluation and military English.

Dr Claire Whittaker DELTA, MA (TEFL), EdD (TESOL)

Claire is an English Language Teaching consultant and trainer with approaching 25 years of experience gained as a teacher, trainer, project manager and consultant in countries in Central, East, and South-East Europe, North Africa, South and Central Asia, and Latin America. She holds a Doctor of Education in TESOL from the University of Exeter and is on the editorial panel of the ELT Journal. She jointly edited a British Council publication entitled Blended Learning in English Language Teaching: Course Design and Implementation, and has chapters in Using Technology in Foreign Language Teaching, Managing Change in English Language Teaching, and The Status of English in Bosnia & Herzegovina (see publications page for more information and for links to the publications). Her professional interests lie in teacher and trainer training, teaching with technology; monitoring and evaluation, and quality assurance in language education.

Robert Buckmaster BA (Hons), Dip. RSA, ADLTM, M. Ed

Rob has been a McIlwraith Education consultant since 2013. Prior to that he worked for the British Council in Warsaw, Poland, then managed the Justice and Home Affairs Peacekeeping English Project in Tallinn, Estonia, from 2001 to 2006, and was the Director of Studies at International House Riga from 2009 to 2013. He has a Masters in E-Learning and Diplomas in language teaching management and teaching English to adults. He was part of the McIlwraith Education team working on the British Council/MOD Programme for English Language Teaching in the Western Balkans; works with the STANAG Testing Team in Macedonia for the British Embassy; and has delivered training and courses in Algeria and in Belarus for the British Council, as well as teaching military English in Namibia. He has published regularly in English Teaching Professional and Modern English Teacher magazines, has published books on pedagogical grammar and methodology, and most recently he published a pre-deployment course for soldiers going on peacekeeping missions.

Emma Valahu MA, Celta, Dip. RSA

Emma has been a teacher of English for over 25 years. She taught at the British Council in Poland from 1997 to 2001, returning to the UK in 2001. She focussed on teaching English for Academic Purposes at the University of Aberdeen until 2007. After 2 years in Romania, she returned to the UK to be the EFL Co-ordinator and then the Student Services Manager for Bell Educational Services from 2010 to 2012. During this time she trained to be a CELTA Teacher Trainer, and worked as the Assistant and Main Course Tutor on CELTS courses in Ecuador and Wales. Since 2014, Emma has worked freelance online as an English teacher where she specialises in teaching IELTS to students from all over the world.