Andrew backs public schools

Prince Andrew is to warn the country’s independent schools and universities they must start opening branches abroad to stop other countries “stealing a march on them”.

In a speech due to take place at Wellington College, Berkshire tomorrow (11.10.08) the Duke of York will claim British schools are not taking full advantage of their reputations abroad, adding the institutions must act quickly to avoid other countries acting on the demand first.

He will say: “I have become very aware of the high esteem in which UK education – both at secondary and university level – is held, the apparent lack of response to this demand and the potential to build our education provision overseas.

“If we do not take this opportunity seriously, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and others will steal a march on us and fill the huge demand that is out there.”

The conference – entitled Starting Independent Branches: The Way Forward – will be attended by over 130 representatives of schools and universities, and will be a way of discussing the globalisation of education.

Headmaster of Wellington Dr Anthony Seldon is also due to speak, and is expected to say: “Britain, the nation of Shakespeare, Dickens and Darwin, the country with the leading schools in the world – in the independent sector – and almost a third of the world’s leading universities, has an unrivalled opportunity now to set up branches abroad in the many countries that will come to dominate this new century.”

In a recent international study, British independent schools were rated the best in the world.

According to the Times Higher Education International league table, the country also has 30 of the top 100 universities in the world.