COBIS: ‘Positive’ picture on pupil numbers in British international schools

But the annual COBIS survey of member schools finds red tape is affecting new staff

Cobis survey reveals positive picture in international schools

Over half of schools in the Council of British International Schools network (COBIS) have seen pupils numbers increase this academic year compared to last, the organisation’s annual survey reveals.

And a total of 47 per cent of schools also reported an increase in student numbers compared to the start of 2019/20, before Covid.

A statement by COBIS said that the overall picture on pupil numbers was “positive”.

The survey, which was conducted in October and November last year, also reveals an encouraging picture beyond pupil numbers, revealing that 72 per cent of schools were fully open with all students attending face-to-face, compared to 38 per cent of schools at the same time last year.

A total of 20 per cent of schools were delivering a blended model, with a mixture of remote and face-to-face delivery (compared with 40 per cent this time last year).

Only 5 per cent of schools were delivering all teaching and learning remotely (compared with 22 per cent last year).

Schools have indicated that they are likely to retain some of the elements of their provision that have been developed as a result of Covid-19, including virtual parent/teacher interviews (80 per cent), increased use of technology for personalised learning or support (75 per cent), and increased pastoral or wellbeing support (68 per cent)

Covid-19 continues to impact teacher recruitment, COBIS reports, with 42 per cent of schools reporting delays or difficulties with visas and pre-employment checks, and 34 per cent reporting delayed start of international staff due to travel restrictions.

A third of responding schools also reported that the majority of applications for posts for 2021/22 came from teachers who were already working internationally, and more than a quarter of responding schools indicated a decrease in the volume of applications from teachers currently living in the UK.

Colin Bell, CEO of COBIS, said of the survey findings: “We certainly aren’t post pandemic yet. We recognise that across the network of high-quality COBIS schools worldwide, the operational situation varies from school to school and from region to region.

“Evidence from this research demonstrates the strength and attractiveness of our member schools and the unfaltering commitment and expertise of teachers, leaders and support staff.”