Bird & Bird make first guide to schools setting up overseas

Sponsored: An exclusive look at ‘Educational Institutions: A Legal and Regulatory Handbook for Setting up Overseas’

Dr Mark Abell and the international education team he leads at Bird & Bird act for some of the world’s best-known educational establishments. Their clients include the likes of Wellington College, North London Collegiate School, Dulwich College, Reigate Grammar School, Uppingham School, The King’s School Canterbury, Gordonstoun, Stowe and Sherborne School.

One of the higher-profile deals Dr Abell and his team have recently acted on is Westminster School’s agreement with a Hong Kong-based company to establish six schools under its name in China.

The reason that Dr Abell and his team at Bird & Bird are seen to be such leaders in their field is that they are more than black-letter lawyers. Working with their in-house consultancy, Baseline, they are able to help schools assess if they are ready for international growth, assist them in developing their international strategy, advise them on how to organise themselves internally, benchmark the sort of commercial arrangement that they might expect, establish an appropriate  roadmap for the way forward, as well as draft the documentation and support them in the negotiation of the deals they seek to strike.

The team’s unrivalled experience, global footprint and results-focused approach, mean they enjoy a close relationship with their educational clients. Peter Marshall, the Bursar of Sedbergh School, praises the Bird & Bird team for its “technical expertise, commercial insight and sheer patience” in its support of Sedbergh’s recent transaction with a Chinese partner to build and operate a school in Guangdong, whilst David Rider of Merchiston Castle School says, “We couldn’t have got there without you,” in relation to the Bird & Bird team’s advice on their recent deal to set up two schools in Shenzhen and Chengdu.

The team is genuinely committed to education, as evidenced by its work with Compassion International – a charity which aims to provide educational opportunities to children living in extreme poverty – on the acquisition of a school for refugees in Kenya.

This has enabled Dr Abell to co-author and edit Educational Institutions: A Legal and Regulatory Handbook for Setting up Overseas, published by Globe Law and Business – the first book of its kind.

“Given the size and growth of the world education market, it is no wonder that so many schools, higher education organisations and vocational colleges are looking to expand internationally. However, it is a far from straightforward process, with a wide variety of very different potential approaches, each with their own implications,” said Dr Abell. “This comprehensive handbook provides a unique guide to the risk profiling, structural analysis and regulatory compliance issues that face all educational organisations seeking to establish themselves internationally.”

The book makes essential reading for all lawyers, accountants, school governing bodies, the senior management team of educational organisations and educationalists concerned with international expansion. Private equity investors, who need to understand the due diligence process specific to this sector and the structuring of their partnerships with potential ‘sister schools’, plus commercial property and real estate consultants involved in the actual building of overseas institutions, will also find this book invaluable.

The book can be ordered via:

Dr Mark Abell will be speaking on the international expansion of schools at the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association Annual Conference in Brighton on 10th May. 

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