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The Assignment Report Events

The changing landscape in procurement, international opportunities and the use of data in schools.
28 November 2017, 14.00 to 18.00, Central London

Confirmed panellists: Peter Dabrowa, CEO, Wonde; Julian Drinkall, CEO, Academies Enterprise Trust; Rich Davies, Director of Insight, Ark; Paul Howells, CEO, Eteach Group; Theodore King, CEO, Faria Education Group; Chris Mahady, Managing Director, Findel Education; Saul Nassé, Chief Executive, Cambridge English Language; Phil Neal, Director Customer Advocacy, Capita SIMS; Charles Robinson, Development Director, International Schools Partnership; Mehool Sanghrajka, CEO, Learning Possibilities; and, Caroline Wright, Director General, BESA. 

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GEMS find the UK market isn’t a gold mine

publication date: Jan 31, 2007
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author/source: Richard Taylor
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Sunny Varkey’s plan to build his Dubai-based company Global Education Management Systems (GEMS) into one of the leading chains of UK independent schools was ambitious and attracted many critics. GEMS’ UK foray has undoubtedly been less successful than Varkey hoped and the company has recently sold one of the schools, Kingswood College in Lancashire, because the Grade 1 listed building was simply too expensive to run profitably.

This is a tough but pragmatic decision and underlines the competitiveness of the value section of the independent schools market. It also follows criticism from Varkey in The Financial Times, that the difficulties with obtaining planning permission were an impediment for GEMS and other independent school operators. However, Cognita, chaired by Chris Woodhead and Alpha Plus, backed by Sovereign Capital, are both far more bullish about the prospects for the local market. According to Ryan Robson, Senior Partner at Sovereign, ‘planning issues can be a problem for schools in both the government and independent sectors. For Alpha Plus, far more important are the quality of the school, its ethos and management’.


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