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Developing Story… Shock as Much Loved Award-winning The English College Dubai is Bought by International Schools Partnership. Updated.
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Since going to press we have now been contacted by the new owners of The English College Dubai. Our original story is immediately below, and their response follows.

The English College Dubai Take Over

In news that has shocked The English College parents and the educational community across the UAE, it has been announced today that the much loved, and historically important British curriculum The English College Dubai has been taken over by International Schools Partnership (ISP).

The news comes just as the award-winning school is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary in Dubai.

In a letter to parents, Bilbo Perrot, Managing Director of Hasheem Group, told parents that:

“This decision was made after a lot of deliberation and consideration and has been made to support our school in its next phase of growth.”

We are awaiting further information, but it is confirmed that ISP will “become the majority owner of the school.”

The existing family owners of The English College will retain an undisclosed “active share.”

Photograph of the Headmaster of the English College in Dubai Mark Ford taken in October 2021

Parents are being promised that leadership of the English College will not change and that hugely respected and much-loved Headmaster Mark Ford will remain in post.

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Parents at The English College Dubai have been promised that Mark Ford will remain Principal:

“This new partnership will not have any effect on the normal day-to-day functioning of the school. There will also be no changes to the leadership team. Mr Mark Ford will continue to lead the team. This will be a seamless transition for your child and your family.”

The letter to parents continues:

“Our dedication to high-quality learning, and our commitment to our staff, to our students and
to our entire community are some of our school’s strong traits that appealed to ISP. The
true essence of our school will not change…”

Finally, the letter promises new investment from International School Partnership:

“We are excited about the potential for growth and enhancements that this partnership brings. As a leading global education provider, ISP has over 70 schools worldwide, with eight schools within the Middle East Region.

“ISP is committed to student learning and progress and as such will continue to develop the physical and operational
infrastructure of the school.”

Worried The English College parents have been invited to a Parent Assembly “with some key team members from ISP” on the 30th of August at 8.15am.

The Letter announcing the Takeover by ISP in Full

ISPParentLetter23.08.23BPSIGNED

The Response by New Owners – 25 August 2023

Since going to press, we have now received the following updates from the new owners, International Schools Partnership. First, ISP introduce themselves as follows:

“The International Schools Partnership (ISP) is a growing group of international private schools around the world, all of which aim to be the school of choice in their local area. Learning is at the heart of everything we do for our students, colleagues and parents. We are committed to getting better, all the time.

ISP was founded by an experienced team of committed educationalists and operators who have worked together over many years. ISP have now expanded to over 75 schools delivering multiple curricula and building on local brands and reputations with around 65,000 students and 9,000 staff located across 21 countries.”

The new information continues by stating that this acquisition of The English College “expands ISP’s portfolio to seven schools in the UAE and nine in the Middle East. The acquisition is part of ISP’s ongoing plans to expand its footprint in the UAE and the wider region.”

The English College is the third UAE school to be added to the ISP network within twelve months. The English College, Dubai, joins other ISP Schools in the Middle East, which include The Aquila School, Nibras International School, Star International School Al Twar, Star International School Mirdif, Aspen Heights British School, Reach British School, Hamilton International School and Park House English School.

ISP confirm that “H.H. Sheikh Butti Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum and his family will continue to be part of the school.”

Bharat Mansukhani, ISP Divisional CEO for Middle East and Europe

Bharat Mansukhani, ISP Divisional CEO for Middle East and Europe, told SchoolsCompared.com:

“We are delighted to announce the acquisition of The English College in Dubai. Over the past 30 years, the school has established a remarkable reputation for its dedication to ongoing learning and maintaining high academic standards.

“The school’s enduring legacy and strong dedication to its community align seamlessly with ISP’s values, emphasizing quality and excellence while placing learning at the core.

“We are very enthusiastic about this new partnership and look forward to the forthcoming phase of our journey together.”

Mark Ford, Principal of The English College, Dubai, continued:

“The decision to partner with ISP will support the school in its next phase of growth.

“We are excited about the potential this partnership brings.

“ISP is committed to student learning and progress and, as such, will continue to develop the physical and operational infrastructure of the school […]

“With our long and strong reputation as a leading school in the UAE, The English College, Dubai will also be able to share our best practices with the other ISP schools across the region.”

In their response, ISP made the following commitment:

“ISP will support The English College Dubai’s mission to provide a nurturing environment for students to thrive academically and personally, which will result in accelerating its trajectory of growth and success, as well as positioning the school as a leading provider of academic excellence within the community.”

The English College, Dubai, was established in 1992 and has become one of the most respected and highly sought-after British schools in Dubai and beyond. With over 70 different nationalities, the school provides a British Curriculum to students from FS1 to Year 13. The English College is a KHDA ranked Very Good School with Outstanding Features and is a Highly Recommended school on SchoolsCompared.com.

Our View

The English College is an important school for Dubai, respected – and adored by its families and students. There is heavy responsibility here for the new owners. In our view this is the crown jewels in the ISP family of schools in the Middle East.

Currently we have no specifics of new investment in the school, and what the takeover will mean for families and student in practical, real terms.

Consultation, after the event, is now taking place with parents and students.

We sincerely hope that ISP will now deliver on their implied commitment here to invest seriously and unambiguously in The English College Dubai, with clear deliverables, and ensure that its culture and reputation is protected.

Further information

This is a breaking story. We shall update the story as we receive more information.

You can learn more about the International Schools Partnership here.

© SchoolsCompared.com. A WhichMedia Group publication. 2023 – 2024. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of SchoolsCompared.com and WhichSchoolAdvisor.com UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at] schoolscompared.com

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