King’s College Taunton, Somerset, is breaking new ground by opening the first British partnership school in India.
The school has chosen not to follow a pattern set by other UK schools in China or the Far East. It has decided not to follow the common “franchise” route into international development but has formed a full partnership with a group of Indian educationalists.
KCT Headmaster, Mr Richard Biggs, said “India is a large and exciting market, with 500 million young people under 25, but it has so far been an unattractive proposition for UK school development. We have decided to replicate as much as possible the education we have on offer here in Somerset and have found experienced Indian partners who want to instil the best of British educational values in the new international school. We are offering 135 years of British education in an Indian context and at Indian prices, and we are very confident that our venture will be a huge success. The benefits to my own school will be significant: we will have a direct link to a part of the world which will inevitably play a major role in the lives of our pupils.”
The new school, which will be called King’s College India, will be located on a 23 acre site in the city of Rohtak, Haryana, close to Delhi. Until partition, Rohtak was regarded as an educational hub of India. It houses universities and medical colleges, but this is the first truly international school in the region. Rohtak has been earmarked by the Indian government for extensive industrial growth and is already the base for a number of major multinational companies in India.
Construction of the new school is well underway, with a strikingly attractive core of buildings enclosing a spacious circular garden and amphitheatre. Facilities for boarding and sport (including cricket, football and golf) will be outstanding.
The initiative has been supported by UK educational services company, Anglo Schools International Services, headed by former Chairman of the UK Society of Heads, David Boddy.
He said “Education inspired by a Christian ethos is remarkably popular in India and British expertise is highly valued. The only reason why relatively few Indians come to school in the UK is the cost factor. This new partnership initiative certainly addresses that”.
King’s College Taunton, which is part of the Woodard Corporation – one of the largest educational charities in the UK – together with the Indian developers, is hoping to become involved in other new schools across the country once the Rohtak initiative is running successfully.
The new international school will eventually provide a boarding and day school for 1250 day and boarding pupils aged 6 to 18. The school will follow the UK Common Entrance system, followed by IGCSEs and A levels.
A new Head has been appointed: Bradley Sailes is himself an old boy of King’s College and has extensive experience of senior leadership in schools in the UK, Kenya and Nigeria. He said “I am delighted to be part of this ground breaking project and extremely excited at the prospect of blending our traditional British boarding school style and curriculum with the huge wealth of cultural history that makes up India. I feel privileged and honoured to be able to share my own happy experiences of King’s College Taunton with a new generation of students in such a fantastic location”.
King’s College India will open to prep school pupils in August 2016, largely following a curriculum based on that of King’s College’s own prep school, King’s Hall. Secondary schooling will be developed in the following years. The plan is for the new school to be inspected by the UK’s Independent School’s Inspectorate and the Council of British International Schools.
Private schooling is not uncommon in India. There are around 3000 fee paying schools in Delhi alone. King’s College India is setting up a scholarship programme to assist Indian families in meeting the costs of sending their children to the new school.