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International schools end 2013-2014 school year with increased options for expat children

The international schools market has expanded significantly this school year, providing English-speaking education around the world for more children than ever before.

In just one year, the number of students aged between 3 and 18 attending international schools has increased from 3.3 million (in May 2013) to 3.7 million (May 2014).  The demand for places, particularly those in non-English-speaking countries, continues to be driven by two expanding sectors; local families and expatriates. Although the number of expat children attending international schools continues to increase, the largest number enrolled are local children hoping that an English-speaking education will get them a place at an English-speaking university.

According to ISC Research (part of the International School Consultancy Group ISC) which researches the international school market, over the 2013-2014 academic year, families of international school students have paid USD 36 billion in tuition fees alone.  ISC Research predicts that demand and investment in English-speaking international school education by parents around the world will continue to rise year on year.

This year has seen a fight for places at the best international schools in several countries in Asia including Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates. Demand is extensive in Singapore and Qatar, and has the potential to soar in China if government restrictions are relaxed in any way.  However, school developments are happening in many countries.

Amongst the many developments this year, there has been an announcement by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority that it is planning for 90,000 additional international school places over the next five years, there’s also continued expansion of government-sponsored international education hubs in Malaysia, and a major expansion of bilingual schools (where English is one of the languages of learning), particularly in schools in South America. This year has also seen a rise in debentures and capital levies to respond to the huge demand for international schools places in Hong Kong

UK-based curricula continue to have the largest share of the international schools market, but international options, notably the International Baccalaureate, have also gained ground.

“It’s been a very successful year for international schools,” says Nicholas Brummitt, Chairman of the International School Consultancy Group. “Investment and development in the market continues to rise.  As a result, there will be a significant number of new international schools opening this August. Many others will have completed extensive expansion work ready for the new school year.”

Within five years, ISC predicts there will be over 5 million students around the world studying in international schools. More details about the international school market are available at