Statement from ISC Research following the International School Development workshop at the HMC 150 conference 1.10.19:
At the recent HMC Conference, Richard Gaskell, ISC Research Schools Director reiterated that schools considering expanding their brand overseas, regardless of location, must be thoroughly and accurately appraised of the current market, future potential, investment challenges and government regulations.
He reported that during recent, on-the-ground interviews by ISC Research field researchers with school Principals, some felt that the regulations for school development at grades 1 to 9 in China, as the market matures, were becoming more challenging. On a positive note he also highlighted what owners and operators of schools in China were saying; “that school development in China is not alarming to those who understand the realities”.
Responding to his presentation at the HMC Conference, The Times newspaper quoted data on the market in China (not sourced from ISC Research). The reality is that there are currently 41 British independent schools and campuses in China (or schools with service agreements connected to British independent schools) enrolling 19,533 students.
Richard said that there is massive demand for international education in China by Chinese families. They are especially attracted to the British brand of education.
The purpose of ISC Research intelligence reports and briefings are to ensure that operators and investors receive the latest information and trends. This ensures that at any point in their decision-making process, they are fully informed about the market they are entering, the investment partnership possibilities, and the current regulatory frameworks for schools looking to establish themselves in that region.
In conclusion, Richard emphasised that development in China, as with all other geographical areas, does come with its own unique set of challenges. China is a maturing market that has set out to fully embrace international education as part of its school landscape, particularly during the non-compulsory years. The focus of the regulation concerns right now is specifically around the compulsory years of 7 to 15 years.
Unfamiliar challenges are always part of the expectation of overseas expansion projects. Therefore, access to the latest research and intelligence should always be in an overseas project team’s toolkit.