Mrs. Wendy Whatmore started the Academy in 1940 with just five pupils. The success of these pupils at the exams held by the Trinity College of Music and Speech, London, attracted more pupils and also roused the interest of both Government and Private Schools in the subject of Speech Training.
In 1947, the Fellowship diploma of Trinity College (London) was awarded for the first time to a candidate in the Far East-- Mrs. Whatmore. The second and third Fellowships followed nine years later and were also secured by students of this Academy.
Soon the Academy had a staff of London qualified teachers, who had also been trained by Mrs. Whatmore in the special methods she had devised for teaching Sri Lankan children. The Academy also began conducting local exams in all grades, based on the requirements and standards demanded by Trinity College. A panel of highly qualified and experienced examiners conducts these practical exams annually, in the subjects of Speech and Drama, Effective Communication and Effective Text Speaking, Spoken English, Verse and Prose, Acting in Paris and Written English. We have also devised a Business English course, for which there has been a very good response.
Some earlier schools to include Speech training in the curriculum and to present students for examination, include Lindsay Girls’ School, Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya, Visakha Vidyalaya, Good Shepherd Convent and St. Bridget’s Convent. The Galle and Matara Convents were the first outstation schools to follow suit. Today, we are affiliated with even more local schools and some International schools as well.
On the death of Mrs. Whatmore in 1989, the reins of management of the school were taken over by her daughter Wendy and her husband Monte Holsinger under their guidance the Academy has expanded and now runs over a hundred and eighty Speech training centers around the Island. Many of these centres are in and around Colombo, and some of the outstation branches include Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura, Matale, Bandarawela, Welimada, Kandy, Kurunegala Galle, Matara, Marawila and Negombo.
The new Government policy regarding English Education has exerted enormous pressure on the Academy in recent times, and in order to meet the growing demand we have opened many new centres, which will serve more suburbs and outstation areas and towns such as Vavuniya. More centers are planned for the future.