Boom in British schools overseas

In an article in the Telegraph, 20/08/13, Justine Harper reports on the boom in British schools overseas.

British schools based overseas now contribute almost £1 billion in revenue to the UK economy, government figures reveal.

Private and independent schools are enjoying a boom internationally as the number of British expats grows, along with rising demand from foreign-based students. A British education is often seen as a passport to a British university place and ultimately a good job.

In response, British schools have been setting up overseas branches. Notable openings include Marlborough College building a school in Malaysia, while Wellington College has expanded into China and plans to open next August.

Joanna Ackerley, a spokesman for Marlborough College Malaysia, said the school opened one year ago this month with 350 pupils, and now has more than 600.

She said: “The admissions team have received a great deal of interest through the year and the school intends to increase at a steady rate, through a process of selective entry, until it reaches a maximum capacity of approximately 1350 pupils, in 2018.”

British schools overseas generated £960 million, with another £30 million coming from colleges’ overseas sites. The University of Nottingham has a campus in Ningbo, China, while the Manchester Business School has bases in Dubai and Singapore.

The number of British schools is expected to grow as education becomes part of the GREAT Britain marketing campaign to raise the profile of British brands abroad. The British Council and the UK Trade and Industry department are running campaigns promoting education in a host of countries including China, India, the US, Brazil, Indonesia, South Korea and Russia.

Recently, UK Export Finance (UKEF) helped set up a consortium of UK further education colleges in Saudi Arabia to develop a vocational training college. This resulted in a £75 million contract being secured by the consortium, with teaching starting this autumn.

In Brazil, the UK’s education unit and a number of schools are working on a new approach to education in response to growing demands for English language teaching.

In India, British telecoms company Vodafone is developing the online delivery of affordable English language courses on mobile devices to help educate students in locations where they don’t have access to classrooms.

Figures show that there were more than 6,300 international schools around the world last year, compared with less than 2,600 just over a decade ago. The UAE currently accounts for the most British schools, with around 370.

Click here to read the article © Telegraph.