The rise and rise of the international high schools market

There are three main drivers attracting investors to the international school sector: reliable long-term revenue, upfront capital through student fee payments and a relatively recession-proof product.

This is according to Ashwin Assomull, managing director at consultancy group Parthenon-EY.

In 2015, the number of English medium international schools reached 8,000, teaching 4.2 million students globally, according to International Schools Consultancy research. And international high schools, which enrol 16-18 year olds, account for more than half (56 per cent) of the worldwide tally.

Overwhelmingly, the surge in international schools has been and continues to be fuelled by demand for a top foreign university degree. Traditionally populated by children of expats, international high schools are now catering to the teenagers of wealthy locals.

Markets are also subject to outside influences like oil prices, surges in industry, demographics or currency devaluation. “It’s not that everybody has always been on fire,” comments Richard Gaskell, director for international schools at the ISC, before adding,“But there always seems to be something going on that gives us this nine, ten per cent growth every year.”