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UK: Wycombe Abbey, BE to open schools in China

A leading UK independent girls boarding school, Wycombe Abbey, has partnered with BE Education, an education provider in China, to launch Wycombe Abbey International Schools later this year.

BE’s Oxford International College of Changzhou will be rebranded as Wycombe Abbey International School from September.

The deal will see BE open five WAIS co-educational schools

The deal will see BE open five WAIS co-educational schools across the country offering a hybrid of Chinese and UK national curricula, aimed at local students.

BE’s Oxford International College of Changzhou, with capacity for 1,500 students, will also be rebranded as Wycombe Abbey International School from this autumn with an estimated 500 students enroled in September.

“We wanted to collaborate with a school that would support the development of schools in China and keep pressure on us to meet high academic and pastoral standards”

Over the next five years, the new schools will initially cater to primary aged children up to age 12 (Chinese grade six) that will feed into K-12 anchor schools offering secondary education. The goal is to grow all five schools into a K-12 curricula, according to BE’s COO, Patrick Hoey.

A five person advisory board is set to be established that will be responsible for the governance of Wycombe Abbey International Schools. Wycombe Abbey will have two representatives on the board that will approve development plans produced by the schools in China.

“Wycombe Abbey gets direct influence into how we establish, set up and run our schools here in China,” said Hoey.

“BE Education did not want to just franchise a brand, we wanted to collaborate with a school that would support the development of schools in China and keep pressure on us to meet high academic and pastoral standards.”

The model of offering the Chinese and British curricula means local Chinese students can avoid national laws prohibiting them from attending foreign-owned schools. According to Hoey, around 90% of BE’s students are Chinese nationals.

Established in 1886, Wycombe Abbey has twice been nominated as The Sunday Times School of the Year and in 2015 was the UK’s top performing boarding school in the League Tables.

Founded in 2003, BE runs independent schools, offers placement services and publishes guides to education overseas.

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