A UNIQUE educational partnership between West Cumbria and China has been strengthened with the opening of two new schools.
The historic St Bees School has this week opened two offspring schools in China – a primary school in Shijiazhuang in the Hebei Province and a high school in Dongguan in the Guangdong Province – both of which will take the iconic ‘St Bees’ name.
By opening the new schools in China, St Bees and its Hong Kong-based managers the Full Circle Education Group can pioneer a ‘fusion curriculum’, offering a free-flow of learning which gives St Bees and Chinese-based students the option to exchange schools for parts of their education, allowing them to explore a different culture and experience. The curriculums will run in parallel to allow for a seamless transition.
The schools’ opening events were attended by more than 1,000 interested parents, and guests included Roger Sinnett (Headmaster of St Bees School), Mark George (Head of the Trustees of St Bees) and Mike Starkie (Mayor of Copeland).
Mr Sinnett said: “A number of other British schools have set up international campuses in the East. However, as part of the new St Bees School structure, St Bees UK will be the mothership of an exciting, pioneering venture that’s unparalleled by other institutes.
“The school is leading the way in merging the best elements of Western education with the foremost elements of an Eastern education. The results are simply phenomenal, and merely a year after reopening, students at St Bees are already performing over two years ahead of their peers.
“They are loving education and learning and now have even more opportunities for a global exchange so they can truly become international citizens of tomorrow.
“As we build up our student numbers following our reopening, parents want reassurance that we have the resources in place to deliver our vision. These two openings confirm that we do.
“With capacities of 1,600 and 500, they are an integral part of the St Bees network and take us on our next step in the further development of the Cumbrian campus, St Bees UK.
“These Chinese schools cannot exist without us, enabling us to demonstrate our long-term commitment to UK-based students and parents.
“Current parents at the school say that it has already made a difference to their child’s education, and they talk passionately about our innovative curriculum and the dedication and enthusiasm of our staff, and long may that continue.”
Mr Starkie said: “I was delighted to be invited to China to help launch the two new schools; St Bees Shijiazhuang and St Bees Dongguan.
“My mission was to speak to the two Chinese communities about the very best of what Copeland can offer to their children.
“By welcoming more students from China to study at St Bees School and strengthening the links between the countries, it will hopefully encourage students within Copeland to consider St Bees as an option.
“As part of our growth agenda, we need to provide independent schooling as part of our educational offer. St Bees has been part of Copeland’s fabric since 1583, and I am proud to support this positive and innovative initiative to help it progress and thrive.”
The next open day at St Bees UK is on Saturday, November 16, in addition to a ‘St Bees Question Time’ on Thursday, November 21. Further details are available at www.stbeesschool.co.uk.