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ISP expansion gathers pace with second Gulf school

International Schools Partnership has acquired its second school in the Gulf in five months, taking its total number of schools to 10 across Europe and the Middle East. The acquisition is part of a rapid and wide-ranging expansion that has four more new additions in the pipeline, The PIE News has learned.

Park House English School teaches some 1,000 pupils each year.

“This marks our second acquisition in the Gulf in 2016 and underlines our commitment to grow our partnerships in the region"

Park House English School, ISP’s most recent purchase, is one of the longest running British curriculum institutions in Qatar, teaching around 1,000 children. It follows the acquisition of Reach British School in Abu Dhabi, which opened in September 2015.

“This is very much a push into international education”

“This marks our second acquisition in the Gulf in 2016 and underlines our commitment to grow our partnerships in the region,” commented ISP’s CEO, Ryan Robson.

The latest acquisition will enable Park House, which was founded in 1994, to expand its campus and to build new sites across Qatar, according to a letter sent out to parents by founder Heather Brennan.

“We are delighted to be working with the [founding] Brennan family, who add tremendous value with their knowledge of the Gulf,” added Robson.

And there is further expansion slated for the near future, as ISP plans to grow its stable of schools, including one in the UK and seven in Spain, which currently teach some 8,000 students. It also has a strategic alliance with a group of schools in Mexico, focusing on collaborative projects as well as student and staff exchange programmes.

There are handful of deals currently underway: it has exchanged on its third Gulf school in Dubai and is about to exchange on another in an undisclosed location in the Middle East, development director Charles Robinson revealed to The PIE News.

ISP has also bought two pieces of land in the region intended for schools, which will take its tally up to 14.

The expansion is “very much a push into international education” for the group, which was until recently focused on domestic provision, said Robinson.

ISP is targeting four geographical areas in its expansion: Europe, North America and Latin America, as well as the Gulf.

“We’ve realised that to make groups work, you’ve got to have a cluster of schools together in some sort of regional grouping,” Robinson said. “Otherwise it doesn’t make sense for schools and also it doesn’t make sense in terms of management either.”

The company has also appointed a new director of schools in the Gulf, Christine Simmonds, to oversee growth in the region. Simmonds was a founder member of the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau, before working for the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.

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