Our international Education team has advised Gordonstoun school, famous for its connection with the British royal family, on a deal that sees it establish a string of schools across China.
The schools in China will combine the Chinese academic curriculum within key elements of the Gordonstoun approach to character education, developing students’ life skills of resilience, leadership, team work and compassion. The first campus is expected to open in 2022.
The Principal of Gordonstoun, Lisa Kerr, said: "Gordonstoun has been leading the way in character education since its foundation by visionary educationalist Kurt Hahn in 1934 and has always been an outward-looking school, building understanding and tolerance between people from diverse backgrounds. Having been the birthplace of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the Round Square Conference, this agreement cements Gordonstoun’s commitment to growing further the international reach and impact of our unique educational ethos."
She added: "We have chosen to work with Hampton Group, specialists in fostering closer bonds between the UK and China. The location of the first school will be announced soon and will be chosen to enable access to green spaces and the sea, both key features of a Gordonstoun education."
Like Gordonstoun in Moray, the Gordonstoun schools in China will charge fees but a significant number of bursaries will be available in order to offer life-changing opportunities to children from the most under-privileged backgrounds.
Hampton Group is a portfolio of companies who are leaders in investing in, consulting on and enabling opportunities between China and the UK, based in Beijing and London.
The signing ceremony took place at the World Chinese Entrepreneur Convention at Edex in London. Speeches were given by the Rt Hon William Hague and the Chinese Ambassador to the UK amongst others.
Richard Devey, who headed the Gordonstoun negotiating team, said: "We were really delighted with the work undertaken by Dr Mark Abell and his team at Bird & Bird in helping us secure our multi-school deal in China. Throughout the negotiations Mark provided invaluable leadership and advice, and guided us through this complicated process with great skill and attention to detail. The Bird & Bird team has a huge capacity for work, and meet deadlines reliably, turning work round in a fraction of the time most organisations find possible.
"In all forms of negotiation - face to face, conference call and electronic, they have represented us clearly and firmly, and we are very pleased with the deal they have secured on our behalf. Their experience in the field of overseas educational deals is second to none, and I highly recommend them."
Head of Bird & Bird's international Education team, Dr Mark Abell, commented: "Gordonstoun is an iconic school brand and its entry into China marks a new development in the role of British education in China. We are currently advising on 32 international school deals not only in China but also in countries such as Vietnam, Japan, Oman, Singapore, Malaysia and Mexico. They all highlight the versatility of franchising as a mode of international expansion for organisations that have previously been entirely domestic in their activities."