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11 UK schools and representations on trade mission to Saudi Arabia

11 UK schools and representations on trade mission to Saudi Arabia

11 UK independent and international schools and representations from the UK early years sector will this week visit Saudi Arabia as part of a trade mission led by the Department for Business and Trade to drive exports across the UK’s education sector. The trade mission has been launched alongside the start of the third round of talks for a UK-GCC free trade deal.

Over five days, these schools will engage with government ministries, hold policy roundtables, and meet with global investors to discover the growing business opportunities that Saudi Arabia has to offer. They will share their expertise and insights whilst meeting new contacts to develop future business wins.


  • The mission will build upon the recent success of UK independent school brands establishing schools in Saudi Arabia, which has grown from zero in August 2021 to five in September 2022.
  • The education delegation is also part of a wider programme of activity under the UK-Saudi Arabia G2G Education Partnership, delivered by DBT, DfE, FCDO and the British Council.  
  • The partnership positions both countries to work together on education reform, to influence international best practice and to enable the empowerment of future generations, particularly through women’s education.
  • Education is an important pillar of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. The market value of the Kingdom’s education sector is expected to grow from $4 billion in 2017 to $15 billion by 2030, driven largely by population growth and increased private sector participation.
  • The UK is well positioned to support Saudi Arabia to develop its education capacity, which will enable sustained growth across its priority sectors.

Spokespeople quotes

Colin Bell, CEO, Council of British International Schools:

I participated in the last trade mission to Saudi Arabia in November 2021 and am keen to support efforts to promote UK schools in the region. We are a membership association for UK international schools overseas and 25% of our membership are located in the Middle East with schools in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Al Khobar and the wider Middle East.

“We are keen to work with the Saudi Ministry of Education to improve the quality of learning and teaching across the Kingdom and to meet with potential partners who have the same ethos as COBIS and are keen to work with COBIS and its members to develop leading schools in the region.

Stephen Viner, Principal, British International School – Al Khobar:

As a unique, high-quality British International School located in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia we are keen to develop links with other UK agencies and businesses to develop and expand the BISAK community across Saudi Arabia.We are one of the few schools in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East to be inspected under the Department for Education, British Schools Overseas inspection scheme.  

“We are a founding member of the Association of British Schools Overseas, plus accredited members of both the British Schools of the Middle East and the Council of British International Schools.We are pleased to be a part of this mission.  

“Our aim is to connect with investors and Royal Commissions across the Kingdom seeking the opportunity to expand the BISAK vision to other parts of Saudi Arabia which are undergoing rapid change and development.  Our BISAK vision is underpinned by school values that foster success and longevity in the Kingdom. 

Jamie Large, Director of International Education, Ardingly College:

We attended the previous school visit to Saudi Arabia in November 2021 and have been very active in the country since then. We gained a good understanding of the educational landscape and are aiming to move fast to open our first franchise school in 2024, capitalising on the growth and development in the country.

“The mission gives us the perfect opportunity to reconnect with key Saudi government ministries and Royal Commissions and showcase Ardingly’s academic reputation and STEM expertise.

David Rose, Director, Brookes Education Group:

We are really excited to be part of this latest school trade mission to Saudi Arabia. We’re have been exploring potential partnerships in Saudi Arabia for some time. Saudi Arabia’s current emphasis on transforming their education system into a connected and creative approach which prepares their young people for the modern world while preserving their own identity, language, traditions and culture makes it an attractive opportunity to be involved in a school start-up that extends beyond the expat population and creates a template for change and a legacy for the future.

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