You don’t need to go further than the London Independent Schools Show in Battersea next month to see, under one roof, how far school marketing and student recruitment has come in the last few years. Not least the brochures, the stands, and the quality of ‘freebie’ on offer (a pen with a school logo barely gets a look in these days) but also the people running the school marketing and admissions departments – they are savvy, innovative, driven professionals and they know their audience – attracting students is big business. Attracting the right students is becoming an even bigger and more creative endeavour.
The ISC Census and Annual Reports between 2016 – 2018 show a rise in the number of new non-British pupils attending day schools whose parents live overseas. Whilst boarding schools are old hands at recruiting these students, day schools too are going further afield to attract pupils. The old adage of advertising along the local bus routes is being extended to recruiting at the end of the direct, high frequency flight routes. The number of day schools looking to welcome international students – not just to increase numbers, but to make the student body more culturally diverse – is rising.
One of the pioneers of the day school international student trend is Norwich School. A day school with an international admissions department which welcomes pupils from all over the world to join its Sixth Form community. Pupils join aged 16+ and are wholly integrated into academic and extra-curricular life.
There is no need for boarding facilities for Norwich school to accommodate its overseas intake. These international pupils are placed with trusted and highly-experienced ‘homestay parents’ whereby a student stays with a Host Family and enjoys the same lifestyle as any other day school student in the UK. Host families are all visited, rigorously interviewed and undergo vetting, referencing and police checks – and the scheme is managed by Gabbitas Education. Not only do Gabbitas vet and recruit the host families, they act as the registered Guardians to the international students and oversee the communications, paperwork and logistics involved in supporting both the international travel elements and homestay arrangements.
“International pupils are welcomed in our community and do much to enrich it. Each brings something individual to the school and all serve to open our eyes and minds to the wider world, increasing our knowledge and respect for other cultures.
We have, I believe, a fully integrated community with academic and extra-curricular opportunities that prepare the individual to follow the path they choose when they leave us, whilst also establishing a lifelong connection with friends they have made.”
Steffan Griffiths, Head Master Norwich School