Sir Richard Branson's favourite school: the 'nomadic' boarding school taking its students across the world

19th October 2015 at 14:16
picture of snowshoeing

Archery in Bhutan, snowshoeing in Sweden, discussing politics with Noam Chomsky and visiting a camel fair in India – this is just an average year at the world’s first “nomadic boarding school”.

Students who want to learn about the world at first hand and experience different cultures all year round need look no further than the Think Global School (TGS), which offers teenagers the chance to tour the globe as part of their education. The only downside is the fees of $79,000 a year.

The school is the brainchild of Joann McPike, a photographer and former professional blackjack player. She established TGS because she wanted her own child’s education to be informed by real-life experiences.

“It’s like the Victorian period, where you travelled through Europe as your education and when you wanted to learn about art history you went to Italy,” Ms McPike tells TES. “That’s pretty much what it is.”

The school, which is in its sixth year, has been enthusiastically endorsed by billionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson, who recently called for every 16-year-old to be given a year off school to travel the world.

Last year, students travelled to New Zealand, Costa Rica and Greece. This year, they will spend time in Sweden before heading to Bosnia and Herzegovina and then Italy.

“I told the children at the very beginning: ‘You are an educational and social experiment. I don’t know if you’re going to come out as the most well-adjusted young adults or if you’re all going to need psychiatrists’,” Ms McPike recalls. “We have had two graduating classes and they are the most spectacular kids.”


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today