Ten reasons why independent schools are expanding overseas

Why is there so much interest for the development of independent schools overseas?


There are many reasons why more independent schools are opening sister schools in other countries. Here are ten reasons (in no particular order) why:

·         As countries develop and their economies improve, so many families who can afford it invest in education for their children as a route to improved career and lifestyle potential. 

·         English, as the language of learning, is growing in popularity the world over; so much so that it’s now considered a global phenomenon with families from many non-English-speaking countries seeking out education in the language of English for their children.

·         The experience of overseas boarding at a young age, within a culture very different to their home, is very challenging for many children. Negative stories in the press and on social media have raised awareness of this to parents who, as a result, look for other solutions.

·         In many leading cities of most countries, there are now alternatives to state school provision and parents are increasingly aware of the selection of education options accessible for their children.

·         The expanding sector of educated parents from non-English-speaking countries, whose own experiences of didactic learning, inadequate English language proficiency, and limited personal learning skills resulted in challenges for them at Western university search out schools that offer better preparation for their own children. 

·         There’s a growing desire by parents to keep their children closer to home until university age.

·         Independent schools in or originating from English-speaking countries where education is renown are often sought after as a preferred quality choice.

·         Taking an independent school into a foreign market increases enrolment potential and raises awareness of the school brand overseas.

·         Brand conscious, educationally aspirational parents seek out schools with name recognition and brand prestige for their children.

·         Schools that assure pathway potential to the most respected universities are in high demand by families all over the world.

ISC Research helps schools throughout their journey from the very first question of ‘should we expand abroad?’. That journey begins with an introduction to the international market and its potentials; helps schools to know where growth is currently happening, where supply doesn’t meet the demand, and where there’s future potential for the market; and then provides the data, intelligence and partnerships to ensure that the process of international school development is well informed and fully supported.

For more information and market advice about independent school development overseas contact Nalini Cook at nalini.cook@iscresearch.com

Nalini Cook is Business Development Manager at ISC Research. Nalini worked in the Middle East for 14 years and was ISC’s Head of Middle East Research for 3 years before becoming Business Development Manager for the EMEA region. Nalini now spends most of her time advising independent schools about school development for the EMEA region. Her colleague, Arlo Kipfer specialises in school development for Asia Pacific and the Americas.

Picture shows Dulwich International School Beijing


  • independent schools
  • international school development