Westminster to open six schools in China

By Sean Coughlan
BBC News education correspondent

image captionWestminster School is taking its brand to open schools in China

A leading independent school, Westminster School, is to set up six schools in China, in what will be one of the biggest expansions of a UK school brand into China.

Westminster says the income from the Chinese deal will fund bursaries for disadvantaged students in London.

The schools are being created with a Hong Kong education firm, with the first to open in Chengdu in 2020.

This is the latest UK school to expand into the Chinese education market.

The top London private school, which charges more than £37,000 per year for boarders and more than £26,000 for day pupils, is to sign an agreement to open six bi-lingual schools in China with the Hong Kong firm HKMETG.

Cultural links

The event will be attended by the school standards minister, Nick Gibb, who this week has been encouraging more pupils to learn Mandarin Chinese, as "the most spoken language in the world".

Westminster School says the income from the international partnership will mean it can afford bursaries for all pupils entering the school in London "who need financial support".

The school already sponsors a high-achieving sixth form - Harris Westminster - which does not charge fees.

The new Chinese schools will teach China's national curriculum, "augmented by aspects of a Westminster curriculum".

Westminster's head, Patrick Derham, said the partnership with China would deepen a "cultural collaboration".

Mr Derham said it would be a step towards being able to "provide a Westminster education for all who might benefit from it, irrespective of means".

A number of other private schools have opened schools in China, including Harrow, Dulwich College, Malvern and Wellington College.

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