International education: The Future

Where to open a British school, how to do it – and the pitfalls to avoid. This week’s conference organised by the International and Private Schools Education forum (IPSEF) examined international education in the post pandemic landscape.

International Education - The Future

This article is taken from the Autumn 2023 issue of

Think Global People magazine

Click on the cover to access the digital edition.
View your copy of the Autumn 2023 issue of Think Global People magazine.

The best countries to open an international school right now include Singapore, Thailand and the UAE, according to this week’s Private Schools Education Forum (IPSEF) global conference held in London.In an informative day of panel discussions, talks and networking, experts in international education looked at how to solve the international teacher crisis, adding value to international schools and took part in in-depth sessions on Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Asia and emerging markets.Speakers included Ashwin Assomull, a partner at L.E.K consulting; lawyer Ross Barfoot, a partner at Clyde and Co who provided information on the legal considerations of expanding overseas; Diane Jacoutot, managing director of international school recruitment specialist Edvectus, Anita Cleave, founder and CEO of Chatsworth Schools and Akshat Singh Rathore, business development manager of the Ras Al Khaimah economic Zone (RAKEZ).IPSEF to L.E.K’s Assomull, who shared intelligence on global K-12 market trends and opportunities for British schools abroad, the international school landscape has experienced a seismic change: “China, the market everyone was focussing on, is increasingly challenging to enter,” he says. “There is a resurgence in the Middle East, and markets such as Thailand and Singapore remain interesting and attractive.”Despite the hype around an emerging Indian market Assomull favours watching and waiting. Two offshoots of premium British schools will open in India in September, Wellington in Pune and Harrow in Bengaluru “I would love some British schools to come  to India and be successful, but I don’t think now is the time,” he says. “Land is hard to find and the Indian curriculum schools which teach in English are very successful.”According to Anita Gleave, founder and CEO of Chatsworth Schools, which owns 48 schools across the world, the middle east represents real opportunities. “Saudi is insatiable. It is a real growth market and the land of opportunity and Qatar is on the brink of exploding again,” she says. Russell Speirs, chariman and founder of RSA Academics believes Abu Dhabi and Riyadh are ALSO markets to consider: “There is huge demand for international education,” he says.IPSEF sessions highlighted the chronic lack of teachers who have trained in English speaking countries, particularly in STEM subjects, and looked at ways of attracting them to less popular destinations.“Teachers are much more targeted in what they are looking for post covid,” says Edvectus’ Jacoutot. “It used to be travel and cultural experiences but now it’s money.” The day’s biggest takeaway was the importance of choosing the right in-country partner who shares the mother school’s values and vision. Historically, schools have partnered with real estate companies, but increasingly they are working with specialist education providers. “Due diligence is crucial, says Paul Cabrelli of international school consultancy Consilium Education. “Get an independent feasibility study done and be prepared to walk away from a deal that doesn’t feel right.”Look out for more in-depth coverage of the international education market coming soonISPEF 28.6.23

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