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International Online Schools: Positioning and Growth In The International Education Market.

"The Online Education Market will reach US$ 350 Billion by 2025, globally due to the introduction of flexible learning technologies in the corporate and education sectors"
Research and Markets Forecast 2019

Market Growth

This last research into the market potential for online education was undertaken pre pandemic; it didn't take into the account the exponential growth in demand for online learning during this period, and the innovations in technology and mindset that normalised learning from home, on a global scale.

International online schools are still reporting continued sustained growth in pupil numbers, even after the surge during the pandemic, and the majority of students are now international, wanting a British or international education. The strategic drive of international online schools is to show they meet the standards expected of physical schools, academically, with a special focus on social and emotional well being.

Standards and Accreditation

There is growing interest in accrediting online schools and indeed WASC has already accredited one school, and CIS is currently visiting and assessing online schools in the UK, and has already permitted membership to one online international school based in London.

Leo Thompson, CIS Evaluation Officer, has been visiting online schools and assessing the increasing number of applications from online schools seeking CIS accreditation.

He is developing an understanding of international online schools and the changing international schools landscape.

"At CIS, there is an interest in these schools as new educational models that are complimentary... they are not there to replace existing schools but to add to the suite of educational models that meet the needs of students and parents, and offer more flexibility in the educational process."

International Online Schools As An International School Offering

As complimentary educational offerings to physical schools, perhaps every international school or school group should have an online school to provide choice for its parents? The recent acquisition of Interhigh by the Kings group, has enabled the Inspired Group of schools to be the first to offer its families a truly blended offering.

With the move of online schools into the international market, families who previously could not afford a physical international school, can now access British trained teachers, and high quality lessons online, with the eventual goal to gain a UK or international qualification.

To illustrate, this week saw online international school, My Online Schooling, undertake a major broadcast event presenting to families in Dubai, on how to access a British education through their school. Tom Crombie, the school's Founder and CEO believes everyone should have access to an outstanding British education, wherever they live and for a price they can afford. Over the last few months their biggest growth in students has been from the UAE and they reinvest revenues into teacher and middle leader development, and have a full SEN program and SENCO supported by a well being hub.

The Future Of International Education

It is clear that online schools are not what they used to be and are raising their game to meet the demand for high quality, affordable British and international education with UK trained teachers.

International online education will not be for everyone, but the sector is raising its game to ensure it is offering high quality, accredited education, with schools committed to students and teachers, wanting something a little different and meeting their individual needs.

Angela Fairs is Founder and CEO of Full Circle Educational Consultancy providing strategic consultancy for future thinking schools.

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