Fettes College, a reputed Scottish private school, has launched an offshoot in China under a partnership with New York-listed Bright Scholar Education, China’s largest independent school operator.

Fettes College Guangzhou, which offers co-educational boarding and day school for kindergarten through to Grade 12 students, opened on 1 September.

It is the second pre-eminent Scottish independent school to pursue expansion overseas in recent months. In June, Gordonstoun, the alma mater of Prince Philip, announced plans to launch in Canada, four months after it revealed that it would set up a campus in China.

Under its partnership with Bright Scholar, which owns several UK private schools, as well as CATS Colleges, Fettes College will “bring to mainland China its special and highly sought-after brand of traditional British boarding education, which will be blended with the strength of Chinese scholastics”, it said.

Under a typical arrangement with a Chinese partner to launch a mainland school, a British institution will reap 4-8% of annual revenues in return for lending its brand and educational expertise to the China offshoot, the cost of developing which is borne by the domestic firm. 

The school is situated on a 33-acre campus in Zengcheng, a city in the Guangdong province in southern China, bordered by forest and hills within an hour’s drive of Guangzhou centre and Baiyun international airport.

The school was designed by international architecture house Broadway Malayan.

It teaches a bilingual curriculum that encompasses the requirements of the Chinese national curriculum blended with the “inquiry-based approach to learning” of the International Baccalaureate.

Located in private ground close to the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland, Fettes College was founded more than 150 years ago.

Bright Scholar, founded in 1994, is listed on New York’s stock exchange and has more than 51,000 students enrolled at more than 100 kindergartens, English-language training centres and schools, eight of which are outside China.

In 2018, Bright Scholar took its first steps outside China when it acquired Bournemouth Collegiate School in England, followed by two others in June, 2019, one of which was in Wales and the other in Northampton. The following month, in July, the group bought CATS Colleges from its former private equity owner for £150 million.

Date published: 16 September 2020

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