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United Kingdom

03 Mar 2017

Cheap pound brings foreign students in the UK

The cheap pound is attracting foreign families that are searching for a good education for their off springs to the United Kingdom. The fall in the value of the pound combined with the good reputation of British private schools make this an ideal package for parents around the world.

UK private boarding schools are seen as the gold standard for many of the rich families in Asia, Europe and Africa. 30% of the students at boarding schools come from countries out of the UK. With the pound remaining cheap, this creates an excellent opportunity for both foreign families, but also for private schools which will increase the numbers of their students. Currency, a good quality of life and access to some of the best universities in the world are the key trends boosting demand for British education. In Knight Frank’s annual Wealth Report it is suggested that factors like the extend of the extra-curricular activities that a student can have in the UK are very important when foreign families think about their child’s education.

China is holding the first place as the country with the most students in boarding schools in the last 10 years. Second comes Hong Kong and at third place are the Russians who have a slight decrease in numbers because of the troubled economy. Ed Richardson, Director of Education at Keystone Tutors, said in the report that “wealthy families of Singapore up until now were sending their kids to the United States for school, not because there were better schools but because of the high cost in the UK. Fall in the pound value is making Britain look very attractive after many years”.

Mr. Richardson added that, although well-famed British schools have expanded in the form of franchises in the Far and Middle East, the genuine article is still the preferred one by the parents. He noted that this happens because of the mentality of different people bringing as an example how the Chinese prefer to spend for luxuries in the West despite having the same luxuries at home.

According to the Report, families from Middle East countries believe that UK schools provide better access to both US and UK famous universities while US schools were directing their students to US establishments only. UK private boarding schools may be facing a rapid increase in the number of foreign students enrolling but they try to limit their percentage in total in low levels. This might sound weird because it hurts the income of the schools but it has a perfectly logical explanation. When foreign families ask for information one of the first questions that they do is if their kid is going to have compatriots in his classroom which is something that they do not want.

Being in a class with a mix of other ethnicities is what wealthy foreign parents want for their child. They believe that it is good for cultural integration and it is going to be very useful if their child meets the next James Cameron or Boris Johnson in some of the classes.