Interesting thread. I would certainly welcome more British run schools, particularly for children. I have a couple of young children who have been through a number of ski schools in the last few seasons and I can definitely see the benefit of what can be loosely referred to as the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ approach. By that I mean the more North American approach to teaching which I understand that British schools have. Through my kids (and my own) experience, the best ski schools I have seen are in North America (especially Canada) and Norway (who also have the same pupil-focussed approach as in North America, I suppose this may extend to other Scandinavian countries too).
There are great instructors in Europe, but from experience you get the most out of the teaching in private lessons, as many people above have stated. Luckily, I have always tried to give a lot of thought as to where I have taken my children skiing, so have yet to have a bad experience, but I have gone past numerous ski groups in other resorts and thought how grateful I was my children/wife weren’t there. Once you get to the more advanced lessons things seem to be better, as presumably the instructor is less likely to be ‘bored’ plus the students are less likely to object to being pushed harder.
All in all, taking private lessons for a day or two (which won’t cost much more than a week in a group) seems to be the safest way of guaranteeing quality, wherever you are. This applies even for children, especially if you intend to ski with them. This way they give up a day or two to lessons and then can spend the rest of the week with you practicing what they have learnt. A telling comment from my eldest last season, still only 8, was that she wanted to learn to ski better not just follow the trail of skiers/instructors round the mountain for 3 hours – she could just as easily do that with me! So from now on, unless there is a British school (or local school with very good feedback) it’s private lessons all the way.
I really follow the comments in the book regarding people’s experience of ski schools – maybe this could be included as an added area on the website, focussing on ski school feedback specifically. I will contribute – I have about 3 seasons worth of resort reviews I keep meaning to send you but never get round to!