Kris Hair is Managing Director at The International Teaching Partnership
The International Teaching Partnership is a specialist recruiter and CPD provider for international independent schools, mostly in South East Asia, the Far East and the Middle East. We predominantly work with UK-oriented schools as well as other English-medium international schools. The company was established less than a year ago (January 2019) as a specialist international agency of the Bluestones Group, which has been providing recruitment support for UK schools since 1999.
What makes us different to other recruitment companies?
We’re able to respond quickly to the needs of international schools because of the size and scale of our wider business which includes an extensive database of UK qualified teachers, NQTs and supply teachers. We have a team of experienced education recruitment consultants and are quickly developing our knowledge of the international schools market supported extensively by ISC Research, as well as by our memberships with BSME and COBIS.
The challenges we’ve faced within the international schools market
We place teachers into schools in twenty different countries and our biggest challenges have been learning about the different government regulations regarding teacher recruitment and requirements regarding visas, as well as managing the bureaucracy within the different countries and the pace of decisions. We’ve had to feel our way on the different requirements and learn by our mistakes.
Why we’re working with ISC Research
We would not be able to do our job, or expand as we have done, without ISC Research.
ISC Research has a unique data platform that enables us to learn about the international schools, allowing us to filter to identify specific schools and then engage with them. The mapping and the contacts are very accurate, and the live data is excellent. ISC Online is essential for our business, and always will be. I can’t see how we could do our work without it; we simply couldn’t map the market and keep up with the changes which happen so rapidly within this sector. In particular, staffing changes are occurring all the time; even for headteachers, many contracts are only three years.
ISC Online allows us to filter down to different groups of schools, such as schools using different curricula and in different locations. We can quickly play around with the filtering options and get ourselves a list of schools that are absolutely relevant, then create a concise go-to-market list and get in touch or pick up the phone to them and make really good business development as a result. That’s where we’ve seen really big wins – we couldn’t do it without ISC Research!
As part of our new ISC Online licence we were given a Global Report which was really useful. We came from a standing start into this market; we knew there was an international schools market out there and the report gave us the insight and intelligence to understand the market better.
We love the news section on ISC Online, and find that the support webinars ISC Research offers are really valuable, especially the webinar about timings and different pinch points in the year that international schools have; it allowed us to understand times in the year when we should be contacting the schools.
It’s not just the data on ISC Online that’s so valuable; it’s the information and market advice that comes along with it which is supporting our strategic development. Some of the information ISC Research shares, especially on social media, has given us a head start to align and change direction. For example, we initially thought the international schools market was predominantly in the Middle East, but it was something we read on Richard Gaskell’s LinkedIn about the size of the market in China that led to us to having new conversations and, as a result, strategically aligning to China.
Advice for other education suppliers about ISC Online
The ISC database is excellent and intuitive, we wax lyrical about how fantastic a tool it is! And it’s very unique; there’s nothing else like it available. I don’t know how you could set up and run an international school recruitment business without it. You can easily see how to use it, but it’s also the support from ISC Research that makes a huge difference. If you’re new to the international schools market, embrace all the support that’s available from ISC Research, and even if you’re well established within it, their information is so valuable, and ISC Research provides plenty of it – the news, the webinars, the reports - it’s accelerated our understanding of a market that is constantly changing, that’s fast moving and fluid. It’s vital to remain informed because of this.