what is it about a British education system which so appeals to families from overseas?

The Appeal of a British Education

May 4th 2015

Recent reports have highlighted both the rising cost of school fees in the UK, and the rising numbers of international students in Britain’s independent schools. As it becomes more and more expensive, what is it about a British education which so appeals to families from overseas?

The figures are clear. This year has seen a 27% increase in the number of Russian children studying in the UK, along with a 16% rise in the numbers of independent school pupils from Nigeria, and a 5% rise in the number of Chinese students under the age of 16. These children add to the more 25,000 international students who had places at British independent schools in 2013.

One reason for the increase in overseas student numbers could be that 29 independent schools now have overseas campuses – these serve both to bring in more money for the schools, and as a very effective advertising campaign for the kind of education they offer at home on British soil.

There’s clearly more to it than this, however, as Steve Spriggs, MD of William Clarence Education knows. “A British education has long been seen as the gold standard around the world. It carries a certain cachet and a certain prestige,” he says. “As wealth grows in new economies like Russia and China, more and more overseas families are seeing the benefits of paying for a world class education which has that extra added something.”

Some of the top reasons families give for relocating to the UK, or sending their children to boarding school here, include:

Academic Success

The academic success rates of Britain’s best schools are inarguable. Independent schools also tend to have a strong focus on the core, traditional subjects so favoured by British universities.

University Access

That academic success, of course, means children who have attended a world class British school have a head start when it comes to university access – and with 4 of the top 6 universities in the world located in the UK, that really matters.

Facilities and Extra Curricular Activities

Independent schools typically have outstanding facilities and often large and beautiful grounds. Children can enjoy a huge range of extra curricular activities, from sports to the arts and sciences, and schools focus on the whole child, not just on the academics.

Britain at its Historic Best

Many of the best schools are situated in or close to some of Britain’s most beautiful and most historic cities. Attendance at such a school is a real bonus to overseas pupils, as they are able to absorb British culture almost by osmosis.

English: A World Language

Beaten only by Mandarin in terms of the total number of speakers, English is widely regarded as the most important lingua franca in today’s word. The chance for their children to perfect English in its home country is a huge plus for international families when considering where to school their children.

A Tolerant and Welcoming Society

“Britain is a wonderful place to be an overseas student,” points out Steve Spriggs. “We are renowned for offering a warm welcome to people from around the world, and people here are always proud to see students soaking up what it means to be British.”

With so many reasons to choose a British education, it’s easy to see why so many wealthy families from overseas are choosing a British school. “Children fit in quickly and easily here,” adds Steve. “We offer cultural education services too, to help kids make the most of their new social and cultural environment – very quickly, the whole family feels at home.”




William Clarence Education is the leading education advisory and consultancy service in the UK. With an unrivalled reach into the UK Schooling and University network, we help and advise families from around the world to reach their maximum potential and gain access to the very best of British education.  

William Clarence put the student’s needs and welfare at the centre of every programme of study we deliver with a focus on integrity and discretion.  Services include UK School and University Placement, Residential Tutoring, Oxbridge Application, US College Admission and Homeschooling.

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