Westminster School has dropped out of a project to create six schools in China after a clampdown on foreign education in the country, The Times reports.
The move came after new rules stopped private schools teaching Chinese nationals using foreign curricula and textbooks. Following investigations by The Times, concerns have been raised about the extent of links between international school projects and the Chinese Communist Party.
MP Andrew Lewer wrote in School Management Plus last year that UK-based education providers in China could soon become seen as “colonial and unwelcome”.
The first Westminster-affiliated school in Chengdu was due to open in September with 2,000 pupils aged three to 18.
Westminster said its role in the project was to act as an “educational consultant offering broad educational support and helping to develop a bilingual curriculum.”
It was also due to provide support “to ensure it was able to operate at a level consistent with the Westminster School way of learning” but had no involvement in the finance and construction of the project.
However, Mark Batten, the chairman of the governing body, wrote to pupils and alumni yesterday telling them that the project was coming to an end because of the pandemic and “recent changes in Chinese education policy”.
Students of Westminster School had previously launched an online campaign against its expansion into the lucrative China market.
The school said in a statement to The Times: “China set out a number of new education regulations, which would impact the operation of the proposed school in Chengdu . . . It is unlikely a licence to operate on the model originally planned would have been granted.”