Unlocking international education challenges and growth


Provided by
Wednesday 10 April 2024 15:50 BST
(Best Practice Network)

Best Practice Network is a Business Reporter client.

Training and professional development is becoming a key to unlock recruitment and retention challenges in international schools – and a growth opportunity for UK businesses

“Punching above its weight on the international stage, but below its potential.” That assessment of the international business potential of UK education was delivered in 2021 by then Education Secretary – now schools minister – Damian Hinds.

It’s true that UK educational institutions have for many decades forged a strong reputation for excellence around the world, with international schools and higher education institutions leading the way.

And according to international schools market analysts ISC Research, that market continues to expand, with the number of international schools across the globe growing by 8 per cent in the past five years alone.

The potential for best of British educational service businesses to provide the services, support and expertise that help these institutions maintain their reputation, is therefore clear.

One of the leading UK providers is Best Practice Network (BPN), now building an international profile for training and professional development of education professionals overseas.

BPN provides training for education professionals in 72 countries, and isn’t stopping there. The business is creating a global network of partners that will enable it to develop and deliver training and support programmes to schools around the globe.

Delivering UK programmes at scale

The realisation of those ambitions would be difficult without the firm foundations of success built up in the UK since the business was founded two decades ago.

BPN is an accredited provider of training and development programmes for UK education professionals and is one of the largest providers in the country, delivering programmes at scale.

More than 20,000 candidates currently participate in BPN programmes, which cover what the UK government’s Department for Education (DfE) dubs the “Golden Thread” of professional development and support, including teacher training, early career support for newly qualified teachers and National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) preparing experienced teachers for roles such as the leadership of literacy and early years, and aspiring senior leaders for headship or leading a multi-academy trust.

Education sector’s stamp of approval

BPN’s status as a leading provider of education training, programmes and support has been widely recognised. The DfE rates BPN an “exceptional training provider”.

The company is also a multiple award winner, recently scooping the Education and Early Years Apprenticeship Provider of the Year award at the National Apprenticeship Awards for the second year running, as well as several accolades at the BETT awards.

A close partnership with leading educators

These ratings are built on a partnership developed over the past 12 years which now includes more than 90 delivery partners. These teaching hubs, multi-academy trusts, school groups and other providers work with BPN to develop and deliver its training programmes.

The approach means that candidates on Best Practice Network programmes get access to the highest quality development, crafted by CPD experts and practising professionals working in 1,500 high-performing UK schools who ensure that programme content is as up-to-date and relevant as possible.

Managing Director Simon Little says: “Our partnerships work for the good of the system: as well as helping to create a new generation of highly skilled professionals, they also provide major benefits to the schools involved.

“Leaders who have worked on programme development and facilitation say the experience boosts their professional skills and knowledge – and actually makes them better leaders.”

Candidates on BPN programmes access their learning through a mix of online learning through BPN’s bespoke virtual learning environment and face-to-face learning through schools in the provider network. Some candidates can learn exclusively online if travel is an issue.

Whatever the learning approach, each candidate gets access to a dedicated learning coach, mentor or tutor, as well as regular opportunities to network and collaborate with their course colleagues.

Building international reach

The huge international school market is an area of vigorous growth for Best Practice Network.

According to research, 14,000 English language international schools employ more than 660,000 staff and educate 6.9 million students. And there’s a clear and growing international appetite for gold-standard professional development and training, especially among international schools delivering British curricula.

BPN’s international presence has been growing steadily in recent years, with its programmes now delivered in more than 70 countries.

“Our partnership approach to building and delivering our programmes has proved such a success in the UK that we are working hard to replicate this approach internationally,” says Sales Director Michelle Brew.

“We are working with British curriculum schools across the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe, contextualising and tailoring our NPQ, early career, SEND and early years programmes to their exact needs and identifying lead partners who can help us to build networks of delivery partners.”

These training programmes are vital in helping international schools tackle a range of challenges, including the recruitment and retention of staff, says Michelle.

“Excellent professional development means that education professionals can increase their skills and scope for promotion,” she adds. “These schools want to offer prospective employees more than just a job: they want to see how they can progress their careers.

“After the pandemic many international educators repatriated, and the recent growth in international school numbers has created a gap in some areas, so international schools are eager to find ways to demonstrate that they will invest and support their staff to grow their careers with them.”

For more information about BPN, its programmes, and joining BPN as a delivery partner in the UK or internationally, go to bestpracticenet.co.uk/international

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