A leading UK private school in Surrey will be the first to partner with schools in Morocco as part of a move to create “global citizens”.
Reigate Grammar School's first partner school in Casablanca is open already and will expand to accommodate 1,300 pupils, while a further two schools are due to open in Tangiers and Rabat.
Headteacher Shaun Fenton believes the relationship will help the school's pupils in the UK to form “bridges of understanding” with other cultures.
The schools will cover a British curriculum, with pupils sitting IGCSEs and A levels. They will be co-educational, taking pupils from kindergarten age to sixth form.
UK schools expanding overseas
Mr Fenton, a former head of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, a leading body of UK independent schools, said: “It takes a village to educate a child, and it takes a global community to educate an international citizen.
“This brings huge educational benefits such as pupil and teacher exchanges, enhanced cultural understanding, and the opportunity to embrace new ideas and methods in pedagogy and beyond."
He added: “Our international partnerships in Asia and Africa support our values of friendship and open-mindedness. They help RGS to form bridges of understanding, not walls of ignorance. We owe it to today’s students to prepare them for the world-wide opportunities of the future.”
RGS already has partnerships with other schools across the world. In 2018, it signed a multi-school deal in China. The first school, in Nanjing, has already opened kindergarten, and further building work has just been completed. The second, RGS Zhangjiagang, is near Shanghai. RGS has also agreed to have a collaborative relationship with a Chinese state school as a “sister school”, Zhixin High School, in Guangzhou.
The school has also recently welcomed visitors from schools in Vietnam, Cambodia, China and Morocco, and it plans to establish bursary schemes for the Morocco schools and build relationships with their local communities.
International trade minister Conor Burns made the announcement this week at a business meeting in central London, emphasising his delight with the growth of UK-Moroccan partnerships, and the building of long-term collaboration through cultural exchange.