Every year the annual Independent Schools Show takes place in Battersea Park, bringing top Independent Schools, their Heads and representatives together under one roof to offer parents advice and guidance and to answer questions relating to the Independent education system.
The Show regularly becomes a forum for current hot topics gripping the Independent Schools sector. This year, in addition to the Education Theatre hosting a number of topical talks and forums from some of education’s top names, the Show’s organisers conducted a survey amongst its exhibitors to see what issues and challenges they felt the sector was up against. Unsurprisingly, one of the topics raised was Brexit, and its potential effects on Independent Schools, and it becomes clear from the survey that it really is a grave concern for schools. The majority of school Heads perceived the probable impact of Brexit to be negative for the sector, citing a possible negative perception of the UK as a closed and unwelcoming country, putting parents off selecting the country as a potential study location for their children.
In addition, key concerns included possible restrictions on travel and international student quotas being likely to bring down overseas student applications, as lengthy visa processes and applications are bought into place. Economic turbulence brought about by uncertainty surrounding the UK economy was also predicted to have an effect on affordability of fees.
On the positive front, some predicted that the above hurdles might be balanced out by the weak pound making school fees more affordable for overseas parents (should the immigration quotas not prevent students from studying in the UK).
As the outcome of Brexit remains uncertain, the uncertainty itself was highlighted by educators as one of the most damaging possible effects of Brexit, as international parents unsure of future restrictions could begin to explore alternative options to the UK.
Despite the largely apprehensive response to Brexit from this years’ Independent Schools Show exhibitors, it is believed by many that the exceptionally high standard of British Boarding schools and their unrivalled reputation internationally will do much to balance out the negative impact. This optimism is clearly echoed by the Independent Schools Show organisers who are launching the first ever Milan Boarding Schools Show this October, targeted at parents from across Italy and southern Europe, interested in enabling their children to benefit from the UK’s acclaimed boarding school system. The Milan Show is a new addition to the existing list of International British Boarding Schools Events that showcase the British Schools system, other locations include, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Dubai and Istanbul.
The Independent Schools Show 2016 takes place on 12 & 13 November at Battersea Park and this year’s Show is free for those who register online for tickets before September 30th. Parents can register now for tickets at www.schoolsshow.co.uk.