New Chinese schools will fund UK bursaries, says Benenden

Benenden School counts Princess Anne among its alumni

Benenden School in Kent is to open a string of schools in China, in a bid to generate more revenue for UK bursaries.

The girls’ secondary boarding school in Cranbrook opened in 1923 – and counts Princess Anne and former head of MI5 Eliza Manningham-Buller among its alumni.

The school has partnered with Hong Kong-based CTF Education Group (CTFEG) to open “a series of schools” in China, with the first expected to open in 2023.

Benenden headmistress Samantha Price said the overseas venture would help “support our ambitious bursary programme”.

“As one of the leading independent schools in the UK, Benenden is committed to significantly widening access and the opportunities available for future generations of girls to benefit from our educational offering,” Price said.

“We have been looking at various options in recent years and this first project in China is a wonderful opportunity to establish a fantastic new school at the same time as generating, in time, revenue that will supplement the donations from our incredibly generous supporters to help us offer more bursaries here at Benenden.”

The school will “reflect Benenden’s educational ethos and feel wherever possible,” Price said – and share more than a name with its UK-based sister school.

The as-yet-unnamed first school will open in the Panyu District, in the city of Guangzhou, and teach 1,550 boys and girls from kindergarten through to sixth form – it is anticipated that half the school’s intake will be boarders.

Revenue from the overseas schools will enable the school to develop an endowment to facilitate “a significant bursary programme in the future”.

Jennifer Yu Cheng, deputy vice-chairwoman of CTF Education Group, said: “We are delighted to announce CTF Education Group’s strategic partnership with Benenden School to bring one of the best schools in the world to the Greater Bay Area. The partnership sets the tone for our goal to deliver one of the best K-12 bilingual schools in Greater China.”

Picture credit: The Hon Anna Birkett, chair of Benenden’s governing council, signing the agreement, along with headmistress Samantha Price and Matt Commander, director of international and strategic projects


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10 March 2021, 11am GMT