Drop in international school pupils choosing UK universities

Pupils studying in British schools abroad were less likely to study in UK universities than last year, a survey shows

Helen Ward

Pupils studying at British international schools overseas are now less likely to choose a UK university, research reveals

Pupils studying overseas in British international schools are less likely to choose to study in UK universities than last year, new research reveals.

The annual research survey from the Council of British International Schools (Cobis) shows that fewer than half (47 per cent) of their school leavers chose to study in the UK in 2018, compared with 52 per cent in 2017.

The number of school-leavers who chose to go to university in their host country rose from 15 per cent to 16.4 per cent.

The survey, which was carried out in partnership with GL Education, was based on responses from 139 of the association’s 259 schools. It also revealed that:

The USA remains a popular choice for international students

  • Of those school-leavers who did not go to the UK or stay in their host country, 33 per cent chose to study in the USA.

Europe has the most Cobis schools

  • Some 41 per cent of Cobis' schools are in Europe. Spain has the highest number of member schools with 14. There were nine schools in Romania, down from 12 last year and nine in the Czech Republic, which last year had 11.

The area with the fewest Cobis schools is the Americas

  • Just 4 per cent of Cobis schools are in the Americas. Some 21 per cent of the Cobis schools are in Africa, 18 per cent in the Middle East and 16 per cent in Asia.

The most popular curriculum is England's national curriculum

  • Some 89.2 per cent of member schools followed the national curriculum, but often schools will use a combination of curricula.

More schools used the IGCSE this year

  • The IGCSE was used in 73.4 per cent of schools, compared with 67 per cent in 2017. In contrast, the GCSE was used in 34.5 per cent of schools, compared with 36 per cent last year.

The percentage of pupils gaining top grades increased

  • Cobis schools reported that 57.2 per cent of IGCSE/GCSE exams were passed with an A*/A or 7-9 pass rate at IGCSE /GCSE – up from 53 per cent last year.
  • At A level, the proportion of exams marked at A*/A was 43.9 per cent – up from 39 per cent last year.



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Helen Ward

Helen Ward

Helen Ward is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @teshelen

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