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Europe goes international – ISC Research

Interest in English-medium K-12 schools around Europe is increasing, latest data by ISC Research shows, in a shift which can be partially attributed to Brexit.

Frankfurt is the city experiencing most additional demand for international school places right now.Photo: 12019/Pixabay

The growth in demand also stems from an increased appreciation of an international education

Demand has been growing particularly fast in cities like Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris – the American School of Paris reported a 54% jump in enrolments for next year – but also in Eastern Europe.

“Several European cities are experiencing higher demand for school places than they have had in many years, within what was already a very healthy, stable market,” ISC Research head of field research and consultant for Europe Susan Krumrei said in a statement.

“As Britain’s departure from the EU approaches, more change is likely”

“In some cities, this may mean new school development or campus expansions to accommodate the admissions demand. As Britain’s departure from the EU approaches, more change is likely.”

Although school leaders said there are other geo-political factors and economic developments causing a heightened interest in international schools, it is Brexit-related relocation of companies from London has had an impact.

The European Medicines Agency, due to move to Amsterdam next year, has held meetings at the beginning of 2018 between its employers and representatives of international and European schools in the Netherlands, which are bracing for a ‘Brexit surge.’

International schools in Frankfurt have also experienced a surge in applications – with the city attractive to the eye of banks looking to move out of the City of London.

At the beginning of 2018, Deutsche Bank ‘block-booked’ thousands of places at international schools in the city to anticipate its rivals.

According to ISC Research, several school leaders in Frankfurt are reporting that demand is stronger than it has been for many years. The city’s seven international K-12 schools currently accomodate 4,100 students, according to ISC Research.

Demand for international K-12 education is also growing in Eastern Europe, where some schools are experiencing “the highest demand in history” according to ISC.

“While many European Union locations may be seeing similar inquiries and growth, the NATO presence and electrical hub status of Poland in the energy exchange market continue to be a draw to a variety of corporate areas,” Jon Zurfluh, director of The American School of Warsaw, explained.

Increases in demand means that some schools are at capacity and expansion work on existing campuses, or even new school projects, are underway in many cities around Europe.

But beyond political and economic factors, the growth in demand for international schools may also stem from an increased appreciation of the benefits of an international education, explained Marc Ott, chair of the Swiss Group of Schools and head of Leysin American School in Switzerland.

“Ongoing dissatisfaction with public schools in many countries is having a positive effect on international schools, and a general increase of awareness of the value of international schools,” he said.

Demand, he said, is shifting to a combined local-international education: schools offering bilingual and national, combined with international programs.

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