Is your private school ripe for Chinese investment?

  • Post category:Financial

An interesting article appeared in today’s TES by Will Hazell regarding Chinese investment in UK private schools.

In it he discusses how the opinion of the Independent Schools Council is that Chinese investors could be just the factor to ‘save’ some of the struggling British private schools

Save our schools

Barnaby Lenon, who now chairs the Independent Schools Council, said people should be “jolly pleased” that the Chinese were buying up UK private schools, and that those who objected had failed to realise “they’ve got the money now, we haven’t”.

Last week, The Times reported that a number of Chinese education companies have bought private schools in recent years, with investors preparing to swoop on more schools once the dust has settled on Brexit.

Speaking to Tes, Mr Lenon said he had personally witnessed this trend over the last three years, and that it was a “very encouraging development”.

He said that the schools targeted by Chinese investors are often small and offer boarding, and might otherwise struggle to stand on their own two feet.

“We know that the supply of UK parents who are available to afford boarding, which is by its very nature expensive, is limited,” he said.

“This obviously is the salvation of a small number of these schools. It’s a good thing for those schools because it means they can remain viable.” Lenon also said Chinese investment could be positive because it would presage the arrival of Chinese students, who are “often quite high quality”, and that it would help schools cultivate an international outlook.


“It gives UK pupils in those schools a sense of globalisation, which all children need to have these days,” he said.

“Here we are in the middle of Brexit, looking in on ourselves rather, but what schools need to do is to open the eyes of children to the immense opportunities that are going to profoundly influence their lives in places like China.”

Mr Lenon said the Chinese wanted to send their children to British private schools for a number of reasons, including the English language, high standards of pastoral care and access to UK universities. He also said Britain offered things “which the Chinese education system doesn’t offer in quite the same degree”, such as “greater emphasis on creativity” and team sports.

You can read the full article here.

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