A body which represents UK independent schools overseas has for the first time taken its membership to more than 100.
The Council of British International Schools (COBIS) has revealed the milestone as its 30th annual conference takes place in London.
Founded in 1981, and with six schools represented at the first meeting, there are now more than 100 member and affiliate schools in the network. 35% of members come from countries outside the EU, with representation in countries including the USA, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Qatar and Thailand.
One of the key requirements for full membership of COBIS is a successful inspection of a school according to standards set by the UK Government by a licensed inspectorate such as the Independent Schools Inspectorate, which also inspects ISC schools in the UK.
This ensures that COBIS schools represent the highest standards of British education in a rapidly growing international market where quality can be patchy.
The Annual Conference, which closes today, has attracted a record number of delegates, with speakers including Schools Minister Nick Gibb.
In addition to the keynote speakers, there are seminars covering topics such as international school inspections and regulatory requirements, pupil leadership and self-esteem through sport.
COBIS Chairman Roger Fry, who is standing down as Chairman, said: "It has been a privilege to have chaired COBIS for the past 15 years, half its life in fact.
"Much has been achieved and we have been supported and encouraged by numerous people. British education is a rapidly growing international market, and my successor Trevor Rowell will face many challenges. But I believe the foundations that COBIS has built over the last 30 years, based on high quality education and pastoral care, will allow it and its member schools to prosper and grow into the future. I wish him every success."
In recent years COBIS has been in close consultation with the British Government, encouraging it to formally recognise British Schools abroad that have had an official British inspection. Success was achieved last year when the Government finally launched a scheme that will do precisely that.
Notes to editors
COBIS is a Membership Association of British Schools of quality and is a member of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) of the United Kingdom. Its members consist of British Schools anywhere in the world that meet the required standards, reflected in a successful inspection to UK Government standards by an inspectorate licensed by the UK Government. Affiliated schools tend to be schools that have applied for full membership but are awaiting their inspection.
ISC Mission Statement
The Independent Schools Council (ISC): working with its members to promote and preserve the quality, diversity and excellence of UK independent education both at home and abroad.
ISC represents the eight leading independent schools associations in the UK, collectively educating more than 500,000 children in more than 1,200 schools in the UK and select British schools overseas. In total, there are around 2,600 independent schools in the UK.
Acting Head of Press
ISC Telephone: (office) 020 7766 7062 (mobile) 07825 806017
Fax: 020 7766 7071
COBIS Telephone: 01252 513 930