Worldwide boom in international student enrolment

Worldwide boom in international student enrolment

Data from the International Schools Council shows that British independent schools now enrol more children internationally than there are foreign students in ISC schools in Britain. The ISC represents around 80% of international schools.


The headcount of students at ISC international schools has jumped by 15% since 2016 but the number of pupils schooling in Britain whilst their parents are based overseas has decreased slightly by 1.2% in the same year.


The appeal of British-International schools continues to grow


The speed of international school expansion is a result of several new campuses growing up over the last ten years, which are now increasing in capacity. The popularity of English-medium teaching and the growing local economies has resulted in high demand in regions of global business strength. The Middle East in particular hosts 17 of the 59 ISC schools, with China in a close second at 15 schools.


The governments of those countries are now realising the potential of this sector.  Local law changes in Vietnam mean that international schools will now be able to dictate their own ratios of local and international students. Decree 73 in Vietnam currently caps the enrolment of local children at 10% at primary level and 20% at secondary level at internationally-invested schools, meaning that waiting lists for local children are long. The demand for international and private schooling is high but the restrictive cap has proved to be a threat not just to their young people’s education choices, but to their economy.


As a result, families looking for this quality of education are leaving their own country or sending their children to board in other countries, whereas more K12 international school choices locally may encourage them to stay. Furthermore, it is hoped that the industry itself will grow, generating revenue. The growth of international schools in Vietnam has been relatively slow in global terms at 29% from 2011 to 2016.


International student numbers in the UK continue to fall. Can we blame Brexit?


At the same time, the 1.2% fall in internationally-based families schooling their children in Britain is likely attributed to the increasing difficulty in obtaining Visas, an issue which is set to worsen as the UK negotiates its exit terms from Europe over the next two years and crafts a new immigration policy.  The largest exporter of school-aged learners to Britain’s schools is mainland China, currently with 6,662 children and Hong Kong with 4,731 children in Britain’s schools this year. 


With such an increase in career choices, British-trained teachers are in high demand at English-medium schools globally.  Last year, more teachers left the UK to teach in international schools than qualified as teachers via the PCGE university teacher training route.


For support marketing your school globally as a career choice to quality teachers, please get in touch with the experts at School Recruiter.

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