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UK independent schools group rebrand: BAISIS

The British Association of Independent Schools with International Students (BAISIS) has recently undergone a rebrand to attract more top line schools to its group as it seeks to become a lobbying group for the sector and recognised as a badge of quality within the international marketplace.

Taunton School was one of four original members of BAISC which formed in 1997

“The more associations like ourselves, like ISC, like BBSW that can band together, the more likelihood the government will listen to us”

Formerly known as The British Association of International Schools and Colleges (BAISC), Chairman Caroline Nixon told The PIE News that the group has naturally evolved from schools with international study centres to mostly boarding schools offering additional pastoral care and support for their international students.

Quality schools were also previously being put off applying for membership as the group’s former name wrongly implied that schools had to be international.

“ “We’re having to work even harder to differentiate ourselves”

“The international market is becoming increasingly selective so independent British schools are now competing not just with each other but with markets like the USA and Australia,” said Nixon. “We’re having to work even harder to differentiate ourselves.”

Nixon described the UK government’s decision to include international students in net migration targets as “ludicrous” and noted that of all the educational sectors, primary and secondary schools’ international students “always return home.”

“The more associations like ourselves, like ISC, (of which most our members are also members), like BBSW that can band together, the more likelihood the government will listen to us,” advised Nixon.

Dwindling UK boarding school numbers have also meant that schools that had previously not been used to catering for international students are increasingly driven by revenue needs, expecting international students to “slot in” without catering for their additional needs, claimed Nixon.

“And these aren’t unknown schools, some of these schools operating with questionable international strategies are well known independent schools at the top of league tables,” she warned.

Emerging markets for the sector are Russia, Myanmar and Latin America while Hong Kong numbers have dropped off due to a lack of available government scholarships.

BAISIS currently has 36 members but with eight new members in the pipeline this month, Nixon is hoping to grow the organisation to around 50 by this time next year.

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