Westminster Education Forum

Key issues for the independent school sector - standards, partnerships and international expansion

Morning, Thursday, 17th October 2019

Central London


This seminar will examine the priorities for the independent school sector in England looking at partnerships with maintained schools, opportunities for expansion abroad and school standards.

It takes place with concerns from some in the sector around the potential impact of Brexit on student numbers and the future of independent schools’ charitable status.

The seminar will be an opportunity for the sector and policymakers to discuss the Government’s International Education Strategy which outlined that the Department for International Trade will encourage more independent schools to access international opportunities.

With Independent Schools Council research highlighting the increasing growth of independent schools based in China, delegates will examine the other key growth opportunity areas for UK independent schools - including how to translate and maintain the standard of education to schools established abroad, as well as how schools can promote and maintain their school brand.

Delegates will discuss the practical challenges for establishing partnerships with maintained schools, and what more might be done to encourage the sharing of best practice between the sectors, and improve the outreach to disadvantaged pupils.

Further sessions will examine how standards and quality can be retained within the sector, following the publication by the Department for Education of statutory guidance on the maintenance of standards, and options for action in the case of these not being met.

We expect discussion on how to encourage innovative pedagogical practices for example in the use of edtech, how schools can recruit and retain high-quality teachers and school leaders and create the most attractive offer to international students coming to study in the UK to ensure high pupil numbers and learning outcomes.

Keynote Speakers

Mike Buchanan

Executive Director, Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference

Senior speaker confirmed from the Department for International Trade

Angelo Sommariva

Head of System Partnerships, Department for Education


Lord Lucas

Editor, Good Schools Guide

Lord Parekh


Anthony Phillips

Business Development Manager, ISC Research

Ian R Phillips

Chair, ISC Digital Strategy Group and Director of ICT, The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, Hertfordshire

Caroline Nixon

General Secretary, British Association of Independent Schools with International Students

Tom Lawson

Headmaster, Eastbourne College

Doug Locke

Partner, Veale Wasbrough Vizards

Colin Bell

Chief Executive Officer, COBIS