UK private schools expand overseas

  • 14th March 2023

Research by the Private Education Policy Forum (PEPF) shows that private schools with charitable status are making record-breaking profits from overseas subsidiaries and satellites, The Guardian has reported.

The research reveals that 40 U&K schools earned £29 million in 2020-21, up from £1.6 million in 2011-12.

A spokesperson for PEPF said: “This research shows that private schools are using their profits from operating in mainly developing countries to maintain their status in England. Given that only 1% of places in private schools are free for poorer pupils, and the average fee is now around £17,000 a year, the ethics of such a model may be seriously questioned by policymakers.”

Julie Robinson, the chief executive of the Independent Schools Council, commented: “As schools look for ways to reduce their reliance on fee-based income, some have taken up opportunities to establish international campuses and partnerships. The money generated is invested back in education in the UK, usually through bursaries and scholarships.”

Tom Fryer, a researcher at the University of Manchester’s Institute of Education and lead author of the report, said revenues from overseas satellites had increased substantially in the past decade, and show no signs of slowing.

In the past five years, the number of overseas satellites operated by English charitable private schools has doubled to more than 100, and Fryer estimates there are plans for at least 28 new satellites to open soon.

More than half of current satellite schools are in the UAE and China, there are now English schools in Kenya, Indonesia, Cambodia, India and Vietnam.

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