UK plans to welcome more international students

UK plans to welcome more international students
Highfield Prep School International

In a timely update to the International Education Strategy, the UK government has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring an even more welcoming environment for international students in UK schools and universities.

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a big impact on the international education sector, and in the UK, we have also faced the uncertainties of an impending Brexit. International pupils account for approximately 5% of pupils in UK independent schools*, but more importantly make an invaluable, enriching contribution to our school communities. It is certainly welcome news that they remain a key priority, and that the government plans to ‘build back better’, post Covid, and post Brexit.

The revised strategy is brimming with positive statements that offer reassurance to families keen for their children to study in the UK, and for all those involved in international education. There are pledges to ‘support schools interested in developing their international presence’ and commitments ‘to ensuring all international students are supported and engaged’. Specifically on Europe, the strategy acknowledges the significant contribution made by young Europeans who visit the UK to take short English language courses such as our Summer School, and for longer-term academic study.

We will continue to welcome European students and ensure that they have a positive experience.

While maintaining the momentum in already established markets, the strategy asserts the importance of diversifying intake, something we believe is integral to the quality of the experience we offer at Highfield & Brookham. Our admissions policy ensures a good mix of nationalities so pupils reap the benefits of a diverse community, but also encourages immersion in English language and culture, the reason why many parents choose the UK.

In terms of enhancing the international student experience, the Home Office will continue to work with the Education Sector to ensure international students feel supported and engaged right from their application to study in the UK, through to graduation and beyond, including their future employment. They highlight the new streamlined immigration process and a new ‘Graduate route’, launching summer 2021, which will allow students to stay in the UK for 2 years to work, or look for work, after completing their degree in the UK (3 years for doctorates). The changes to the requirements for short-term study also make life easier for students on courses of less than 6 months, removing the need to obtain a specific short-term Student visa.

There are pledges to ensure the wellbeing of students; such as enhanced safeguarding measures embedded in law, promoting a better understanding of guardianship arrangements and a newly launched consultation on the national minimum standards for boarding. In addition to the bursaries and scholarships already available for Higher Education, there will also be access to alternative student finance.

The cumulative impact of these changes means that the UK will have one of the most attractive and competitive student migration regimes of any country in the world.

The UK’s International Education Strategy is ambitious, truly global and highly collaborative, reassuringly, acknowledging the value of international experience for young people. As a school, we place great importance on our pupils engaging with the wider world, and so we welcome plans to invest in this area of their growth and development, as we nurture them on their way to become future global citizens.


About Highfield School

Highfield enjoys outstanding academic success and has been preparing children for the most eminent Senior Schools in England for more than a century. Highfield is a co-educational school for children aged 8-13, located in beautiful 175 acre grounds in Liphook, Hampshire, less than an hour from Heathrow Airport. Find out more.

If you are considering a UK boarding school, or short term summer experience for your child, do get in touch! Email Caroline at: 



*Independent Schools Council, 2020


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