• Kevin Murphy

The Lure of British Education for Foreign Property Investors

LONDON - What is it that has made London and other parts of Britain so popular with foreign property investors? For London and Britain the arts, culture and close proximity to the European continent for holidays tend to be main reasons along with perhaps a good rate of return that the investment property may bring for a future sale. One other reason that buyers purchase property is to give their children and grandchildren the opportunity of experiencing the best in a British academic education. The elite schools of Britain have for decades been popular with the gentry to provide their children with the best and most exclusive educational experience. Not surprising many foreign students find their way to British institutions regardless if their parents are property investors or owners because of the high standards of British schools.

In its 2016 report the UK Council for International Student Affairs stated that 436,585 foreign students were in UK schools. The Chinese have the highest number of any other nationality at 89,540. Followed by India with 18,320 with Nigeria, Malaysia and the United States in the top five of non E.U. countries with students in Britain. The top five E.U. countries with citizens studying in the U.K. are Germany (13,675) France (11,955) Republic of Ireland (10,905), Italy (10,525) and Greece (10,130). The most common subjects studied are in business, engineering, law, architecture, mass communications and math.This data covered the academic year of 2014-2015.

Most Exclusive and Expensive

So your interested in enrolling your youngster into one of Britain's most prestigious academic boarding schools to prepare them for the future and the financial cost are by no means a concern then listed here are ten schools that Durham University considered the best in their research.

The first is Hurtwood House located in Dorking, Surrey with a co-ed student body of 340 students and £39,555 per year tuition. Founded in 1970 the schools campus sits on 200 acres with its main Edwardian mansion and eight other houses for classes and students. The school is popular with pupils from China and Russia. The school is known for its top national academic standards and routinely listed in the top 50 schools in the country. The school offers a two year pre-university courses with emphasis on GCE ‘A’ levels. Famous alumni include composer Hans Zimmer, actor Sam Harrison, singer Amelia Brighten and artist and filmmaker Phoebe Boswell.

Next is Cheltenham Ladies’ College in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire with famous alumni including actress Kristen Scott Thomas, Amber Rudd MP, actress Talulah Riley and Clare Marx, president of the Royal College of Surgeons. The college opened in February 1854 and is currently one of the largest boarding and day students schools for girls in Europe with current tuition near £37,275. The school has around 850 pupils from around the world. Not only does the school have an excellent academic program but also has a very well established sports program featuring Rowing, Lacrosse, Tennis and Swimming.

Another independent boarding and day girls school founded in 1893 is Malvern St. James which originally was Malvern Girls College, founded in 1865, before it merged with St James School in 2006. The schools are located in Worcestershire with their tuitions £37,125 for St James and £36,288 for Malvern College. Two other schools also merged with co-ed Mavern St James, The Abbey School in 1979 and Lawnside in 1994 which is considered to be the oldest school in Malvern. Lawnside previously hosted the Malvern Festivals and tea parties with such notable guests as George Bernard Shaw and English composer Edward Elgar.

One of the main buildings of Malvern St James is the former Imperial Hotel built in 1862, originally a spa, that was purchased in 1919 when the spa industry fell on hard times. The building is still one of the largest in Malvern directly opposite of the Great Malvern rail station. The school has foreign students from 20 different countries with many from China and Russia.

During the Second World War radar was developed at Malvern. Famous alumni include Francis Aston, Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry in 1922 and author C.C. Lewis. Malvern St James alumni include author Barbra Cartland and Caroline Lucas MP.

Located in Kent is the highly regarded all boys Tonbridge School founded in 1553 by Sir Andrew Judde and currently has about 800 students ages 13 to 18. The campus is on 150 acres and has been rebuilt twice. The main buildings date back to the second half of the nineteenth century. The Edwardian Chapel was heavily damaged by fire in 1988 with restoration completed in 1995. The school places an emphasis on community involvement, green initiatives and sports most notably cricket and rugby. Tuition runs around £36,288. Alumni include actor Dan Stevens and Tim Waterston founder of Waterstones booksellers.

Harrow School

Founded in 1572 by by local landowner John Lyon under a Royal Charter by Elizabeth I Harrow is a full boarding school for boys 13-18. The school sits on 300 acres including a park, nine-hole golf course and a working farm. The school is divided into twelve houses with 70 boys in each. The houses have their own customs and compete in sporting events with one another. An annual cricket match between Harrow and Eton dates back to 1805 and is held at the Lords Cricket Ground. Tuition is at £36,150. Famous Harrovians include Winston Churchill, the First Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and poet Lord Byron. Harrow also has three Harrow International Schools located in Bangkok, Beijing and Hong Kong.

Eton College

Without question one of the most famous schools in the world always mentioned among Britain’s top schools is Eton College in Windsor, Berkshire. Founded in 1440 by King Henry VI was a known as ‘Kynge’s of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore’ to provide free education to 70 boys that would lead them to King’s College, Cambridge which was founded by King Henry VI in 1441.

The school in its review of its history states: ‘The earliest records of school life date from the 16th century and paint a picture of a regimented and Spartan life. Scholars were awakened at 5 am, chanted prayers whilst they dressed, and were at work in Lower School by 6am. All teaching was in Latin and lessons were supervised by “praepostors”, senior boys appointed by the headmaster.There was a single hour of play, though even at that time football appears to have been popular, for a sentence set for Latin translation in 1519 was “We will play with a bag full of wynde”. Lessons finished at 8pm and there were only two holidays, each of three weeks duration at Christmas (when the scholars remained at Eton) and in the Summer. These holidays divided the school year into two “halves” a word which has survived despite the change to a three-term year in the 18th century.’

The school with its excellent academics and traditions has grown from almost 1000 boys in 1891 to 1300 today with tuition to be around £35,721. The school has always been popular with the British aristocracy with 19 Prime Ministers as some of its alumni with others including Prince William, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and former London Mayor Boris Johnson and author Eric Blair known as George Orwell.

Founded on 26 September 1896 by Dame Francis Dove the daughter of a Lincolnshire vicar, Wycombe Abbey. This all girls school has about 540, 13-18 age range, students with a tuition of £35,700. The school has consistently been one of Britain’s top academic institutions. Students live in one of the houses with House mothers present for assistance. The school premises were briefly used during World War II as the headquarters for the U.S. Army Air Force (Eighth Air Force) air wings. Once the war ended the property was returned to Wycombe Abbey. Well known alumni include journalist India Knight and Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC One.

Winchester College in Hampshire was founded in 1382 by William of Wykeham and is one of the oldest private school for boys in Britain. In its history the school describes its origins:

‘The original community was self-contained in the mediaeval manner. It numbered 115 persons, governed by the Warden and ten Fellows, with two schoolmasters and three chaplains. Sixteen quiristers (choristers) and three lay clerks completed the foundation proper, but Wykeham also allowed the education he provided to be shared at their own expense by ten others, the sons of gentry and particular friends of the College. These were the forerunners, if not the germinal idea, of the present Commoners.

When Henry VI founded Eton College, he took Winchester as his model, visited it on many occasions, borrowed its Statutes and removed its Headmaster and some of the Scholars to start his new school but apart from that interruption Winchester carried out its Founder’s intentions with great distinction until the Reformation.’

Today Winchester has approximately 670 students with the fees of £35,610. Alumni include screenwriter Joss Whedon and Geoffrey Howe, Chancellor of the Exchequer under Prime Minister Thatcher.

In Godalming, Surrey is the Charterhouse School founded in 1611 and moved to its location now on 250 acres with around 800 pupils all of whom are boarders and while the school is for boys age 13 and older it has for the past forty years accepted girls age 16 and older. Tuition runs about £35,529.

The school describes its programme as: ’Academic excellence is at the centre of all we do. The curriculum follows the normal path to (I)GCSEs in Year 11, followed by a choice of Cambridge Pre-U / A Level courses or the IB Diploma Programme in the Sixth Form. We aim to stretch and challenge all our pupils, in many cases well beyond the demands of the syllabus, and the university destinations of our leavers reflect both their abilities and the quality of the education we provide.’

Well known alumni include Jeremy Hunt MP and Secretary of State for Health, author William Makepeace and journalist and presenter David Dimbleby.

Britain has always been a leader in academic standards and schools so it is not surprising that foreign students are filling many spaces in these schools and the demand is only to continue to increase.

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