School groups are gaining a greater share of the expanding international schools market.
In 2017, 23% of the schools within the global international schools market were part of a school group. In 2022, that percentage has increased to 38%.
Acquisition and new development
Most of the expansion occurring within the school groups sector of the international schools market is through acquisition. However, new development is also planned. 63% of the new international schools currently scheduled for development within the next five years will be members of a school group.
According to our field research, much of this new development is planned for Eastern and Western Asia, with Southern and South-Eastern Asia development following close behind. This suggests that school groups will be gaining a more significant share of the market in the medium term, whilst the remainder of the market, which continues to be highly fragmented, becomes even more attractive as acquisition potential.
The investment potential of school groups
The international school market’s structure and growth potential, in addition to its defensive resilience through such crises as COVID-19, is making it an attractive proposition for investment as more school groups reach a sizeable value; evidenced by the sales of school groups Cognita and Nord Anglia.
These groups have demonstrated how centralising management and specialist support whilst establishing education standards and implementing educational improvements, has resulted in brand success. Examples of this include International Schools Partnership (ISP) and Nord Anglia Education where centralised CPD help to develop staff to brand standards and allow training costs to be shared between member schools, and Education in Motion where centralised direction of pathway outreach and alumni engagement is leading to improved support for student pathways.
Reputable school groups are playing a powerful role in market confidence too, raising the profile and standards across the entire international schools market.
White paper lists school group data and developments
The ISC Research International School Groups white paper published in April lists the leading school groups by schools and student enrolment, as well as detailing some of the most notable developments that have recently occurred within the school groups sector of the market. These include:
- International Schools Services partnering with Lumo Education Ltd to launch SISU Schools, an affordable international school franchise model with the aim to develop 100 new international schools by 2025.
- GAINS Education Group announcing the development of five school campuses in Malaysia that will offer both international and national K-12 programmes, in addition to the opening this September of its Malaysia-Qatar International School.
- Amity Education Group partnering with Harrow School to open four international schools in India and one in New York.
“These and other recent developments suggest significant confidence in the market, particularly in the countries where international schools are in high demand or have good potential,” says ISC Research Sales Director, Ashley Kirk. Such countries include India, Japan, and several countries within South East Asia.
Detailed market data and intelligence to inform international school business strategy, development, acquisition, and investment is available from ISC Research which has been tracking the market for over 25 years.