Talking Heads: how does your international school remain competitive?

As international schools continue to grow all over the world, we asked three school heads how they are maintaining the success of their schools

Shrewsbury School was an early mover in the expansion of British international schools. Ensuring that the first overseas entity carries the genuine DNA of the parent school is top priority. Then, it is a matter of delivering the highest standards of academic excellence – this is the cornerstone of the reputation of British education across the globe. Once established, the usual market dynamics apply, requiring a school to communicate its points of difference and retain a clear and distinct presence. It is important to listen carefully to the expectations of existing and prospective parents and to keep monitoring the activities of new entrants to the market. Keeping linked to the core identity of the UK parent school is essential. Above all, as with any fee-paying school, it is the unerring focus on the excellence of the pupil experience that will help an international school to thrive in an increasingly crowded context.” 

Leo Winkley, headmaster, Shrewsbury School

Leo Winkley


“Haileybury has considerable experience of working with partner schools; Haileybury Almaty opened in 2009 and our partner school in Astana opened two years later. These schools are now the market leaders in the region. They remain competitive by offering the very highest standard of education. We are in the process of signing a contract to partner a school in Europe to open in September 2020 and we are in discussion with other interested parties who would like us to partner schools elsewhere. We have successfully managed this growth through the creation of a fully staffed partnership office. Exciting times lie ahead.” 

Martin Collier, master, Haileybury

Martin Collier



“There is currently something of a gold rush mentality amongst independent schools operating internationally, and it is important to manage growth sustainably and to continue to provide real value to our partners, parents and pupils overseas. One way in which we are able to do this is to exploit the competitive advantage we gain through having a growing group of schools. This provides us with opportunities for collaborative curriculum work across multiple campuses, for example, in addition to more traditional opportunities such as teacher and pupil exchanges.”

Allan Walker, director of international schools, Malvern College

Allan Walker



You might also like: What is it like to lead an international school in China?

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