One of the UK’s most prestigious private schools has shelved its plan to expand into China after new education regulations formed further barriers for foreign participation in the rapidly-changing education sector, reports Caixin. Westminster School announced it would not open a 2,000-pupil school in Chengdu, in Southwest China’s Sichuan province, which would have been the first of six offshoots under a 2017 plan to enter the Chinese market.
The project has been brought to an end due to the global Covid-19 pandemic as well as “recent changes in Chinese education policy,” Mark Batten, chair of the school’s governing body, said in a letter to staff and students. “It is with great regret I write to tell you that this project has come to an end for Westminster School,” he said, noting that “the landscape for developing such schools now is very different from 2017.”
London’s Westminster School traces its history back nearly 900 years and commands annual fees which can exceed £43,000 ($57,980). About half of its graduating students go on to attend Oxford or Cambridge universities every year. According to the plan, six schools using the Westminster name were to be established by 2028. Batten’s letter explained that the school had established a subsidiary that was working with a Hong Kong-based investor which was to operate the Chinese mainland schools.