Marketing to International Schools: Expand your reach globally with our quick guide

Topics: Education Insights Email Marketing
Lyndsay Rushton
Lyndsay Rushton Marketing Manager 17 May 2023

The international education sector offers a huge opportunity for forward-thinking UK businesses to expand their reach globally and launch their brand worldwide.

However, our research tells us that most UK education suppliers have never considered marketing to international schools. 

But why? It’s often because education suppliers simply don’t know much about international schools and therefore don’t realise the vast opportunity out there.

Of course, marketing to international schools isn’t for everyone – it does depend on your product or service and whether it’s easily accessible to international schools.

If you do offer a universal, and widely accessible product or service that is suitable for use overseas, then you should definitely consider adding international schools to your next email marketing package.

Here’s my quick run-down of marketing to international schools:

What is an international school?

  • There are many different types of international schools, including American international schools, British international schools, Canadian international schools and IB (International Baccalaureate) international schools. I’ll focus on British international schools in this blog post.

  • An international school is a school that offers a different curriculum to that of the country it’s located in. For example, British international schools are based all over the world and follow the British national curriculum or have a British orientation.

  • Students at British international schools, or BSOs (British schools overseas), typically include the children of British ex-pats who have relocated for work or lifestyle reasons. They also include local nationals and students who have relocated from other countries.  

  • The academic year for British international schools usually runs in line with the UK academic year, starting in late August or early September and ending for the summer break in July.

  • English is the main language used in the school and in all lessons; however they do often speak and learn other languages (such as the local language) alongside this.

  • They teach the British national curriculum and offer UK qualifications such as GCSEs and A Levels. This is often combined with the local curriculum or other international curricula, including the IPC (International Primary Curriculum) and IB (International Baccalaureate).

  • The number of British international schools has expanded rapidly over the last few years. British education is held in high esteem worldwide so many other nationalities are keen for their children to have a British education and attend UK universities. Families who move around for work purposes also benefit from learning in English as it means their children can easily move from a school in one country to another.

  • British international schools are independent, fee-paying schools. As independent schools, they can make their own financial and spending decisions and aren’t tied to any specific education suppliers.

  • The schools are often part of a larger group of British international schools, across a number of countries (a bit like multi-academy trusts in England). For example, Cognita is based in the UK and has over 100 schools in 7 different countries that teach the IB, the British Curriculum and other curricula.

  • Admissions into international schools can take place at any time throughout the year. This is to accommodate a transient student and staff community where families move around often due to work commitments such as armed forces roles.

  • They don’t have Ofsted inspections like UK schools, but the Department for Education (DfE) does operate a voluntary inspection scheme where schools are inspected against a common set of standards. A key element of the inspection includes assessing how well the school displays a British character in their teaching, ethos and pastoral care.

  • The Council of British International Schools (COBIS) works with the Office for Standards in Education, and the DfE, to maintain standards in schools teaching the British curriculum overseas.

“The international schools market offers amazing opportunities for savvy, forward-thinking, education suppliers.

We’re leading the way in helping UK organisations expand their business to a global education network.”

Michael McVerry Managing Director

Why connect with British international schools?

  • As British international schools follow the British curriculum, they use many of the same study resources and educational products that UK schools use. And as they are all English speaking, there’s no need to translate any of your marketing or your existing resources and products.

  • In our most recent International Schools Survey, 100% of the decision makers said they were very likely to use a UK-based education supplier.

  • 67% of British international schools also told us that sourcing new teaching resources will be a priority for them over the next 12 months.

  • Other key spending areas for British international schools are premises and maintenance, science resources and provision, IT development and teaching, curriculum development, and catering.

  • 64% of subject departments in British international schools manage their own budgets and 36% of head teachers or business managers authorise spending decisions.

  • Our research tells us that 60% of international schools receive fewer than 5 marketing emails per day in their main inbox. This means the competition is lower so it’s easier to be seen.

  • Our latest email campaign analysis revealed that emails to international schools regularly achieve open rates of up to 75.70%!

  • Email marketing is a cost-effective way to reach schools and decision makers worldwide. You can create a long-term marketing strategy to build your brand, launch your services and build relationships with schools all over the world.

The Buzz Education international database

We hold data for over 4,500 British international schools, located all over the world.

This is a huge audience for UK education suppliers to connect with, and a great opportunity to establish new revenue streams for your business. Our database includes:

  • 4,834 British international schools
  • 179 countries
  • 4,482 head teacher names
  • 1,191 with nursery schools attached
  • 1,740 with sixth forms attached
  • 539 boarding schools

We can help you to run a direct email marketing campaign to all of these schools and decision makers.

Are you already running a marketing campaign to UK schools? Why not optimise your strategy by adding international schools to your existing strategy?

If you’re interested in going global and getting your products into schools overseas, get in touch! Our team of experts are here to support you with your marketing to international schools.