Leading UK Academy Trust to Open School in China
A leading academy trust and its Chinese partner announced today that they will open a school in China. This relationship will allow the Trust to offer its innovative educational approach to Chinese students, continue its collaboration with outstanding Chinese teachers to the benefit of British and Chinese students and open up enriching exchange opportunities for its UK staff and students.
Bohunt Education Trust (BET), which has existing schools in the South of England including Bohunt Liphook – one of the top performing state schools in the UK – will become the first English state school run academy trust to support a school in China.
BET has a strong track record of delivering educational excellence, and has a longstanding Mandarin programme including offering immersion teaching, where students learn a third of the curriculum in the language.
The new school, Wenzhou Bohunt International School, is scheduled to open in 2018 to Chinese students who will be taught a Bohunt-style curriculum and take GCSE and A Level examinations. As well as leading an exchange programme, BET will provide teacher training and recruitment support; play an advisory role on building design and attracting students; develop teaching materials and the school’s curriculum; and provide strategic oversight and consultancy for the senior leadership team.
Staff will be recruited locally in China, as well as in the UK, and will benefit from the support of BET’s outstanding leadership team, whose success was recognised when Bohunt Liphook was named as the Times Education Supplement’s Secondary School of the Year in 2014. Bohunt Liphook is rated Outstanding by Ofsted and received recognition for its exceptional 2015 performance by the Schools, Students and Teachers network (SSAT). Educational Outcomes data analysis from SSAT has shown that the school is in the top 20% of non-selective schools nationally for high average grades achieved by students.
BET’s Chinese partner for the school will be Wenzhou Xinzhi Education Technology Company and students will be fee paying. A proportion of fees will transfer to BET, which will be used to further build on the Trust’s high quality educational offering in the UK.
The partnership came about following BET’s increasing profile as one of the UK’s best education trusts for delivering Mandarin and its appearance in the 2015 BBC series Chinese School. The series highlighted the benefits of collaboration and how sharing best practice could improve students’ learning experiences. This partnership will further that work allowing the Trust to understand in real depth the benefits of different styles of teaching for the benefit of all students in the Trust.
BET already hosts exchanges for its students with Chinese schools and runs the first state secondary school in the country to teach all of its students Mandarin; today’s announcement sees the Trust establishing a more formal structure in the country. As the Trust grows in the UK it hopes to further grow its Chinese collaborations in order to provide unparalleled opportunities for UK and Chinese staff and students.
The latest collaboration has been praised by a number of educationalists. The Director of Student Affairs at Oxford University, Den Moore, said he expected the new school would ‘provide great educational opportunities’ and ‘promote friendship between Britain and China’.
Speaking about the project in a speech in Shanghai earlier this week, Neil Strowger, Chief Executive of Bohunt Education Trust, said:
“We’re delighted to be involved in this partnership, which will allow us to build on our offering in the UK whilst bringing our outstanding educational model to students in China.
“Collaboration has always underpinned our philosophy at Bohunt – it is one of the reasons we decided to take part in the Chinese School series. Our experience of the series further emphasised the importance of working with others – and learning from them – to deliver the very best education, and this is exactly what this partnership is all about.
“Preparing students to be active participants in our global economy has always been a key part of our vision. This is why we have made languages –and Mandarin in particular – a central part of our offer, and we are pleased at this latest development which will benefit young people in both the UK and China.”
Speaking about Bohunt’s performance Sue Williamson, Chief Executive of SSAT, said:
“It’s my great pleasure to commend Bohunt School on their excellent 2015 performance, and to have the opportunity to highlight and share their great work at the SSAT Educational Outcomes celebration evening. I have the privilege of visiting a lot of schools and I am always impressed by the creativity of teachers in engaging and inspiring their students.
“I hope that SSAT’s Educational Outcomes award will highlight the professionalism, commitment and hard work of the leaders, teachers and students at Bohunt School. Recognising and sharing successes like this is at the heart of SSAT’s mission, so I’m delighted to congratulate Bohunt School on their achievement.”