Capital private school to expand to China

PUPILS and staff at one of the Capital's top private schools will be given the chance to learn and work in China after their institution announced a major overseas expansion.

Friday, 9th September 2016, 9:12 am
Updated Monday, 12th September 2016, 4:00 pm
The Erskine Stewart's Melville Schools will be the first Scottish international school in China. Picture; contributed

Bosses at Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools (ESMS) have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at establishing a campus in the east-Asian country.

It will be based in the city of Shenzhen as senior figures here bid to strengthen commercial and educational links with the Chinese metropolis.

The new centre, which will also be Scotland’s first international school in China, is due to open by 2019.

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Dean House accomodation building in Stewarts Melville School. Picture; Toby Williams

ESMS leaders said staff would work with 1500 Chinese and international pupils through primary and secondary school.

And they have indicated that there will be “opportunities” for “cultural exchanges and visits” involving children and teachers in the two cities.

The mayor of Shenzhen, Xu Qin, who was re-elected in June 2015, witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding in the presence of Lord Provost Donald Wilson.

Welcoming the development, David Gray, ESMS principal, said: “We are looking forward to opening the first Scottish international school in China by 2019.

Dean House accomodation building in Stewarts Melville School. Picture; Toby Williams

“We see this as a fine opportunity to export the all-round excellence of ESMS and the qualities of a Scottish education to one of the most vibrant and dynamic cities in China.

“The core values of ESMS are something which have really attracted our Chinese investors to work with us and we are now determined to replicate the quality and the enthusiasm that our pupils and their teachers bring to ESMS, Edinburgh, in our ESMS International School in China.”

ESMS has been working closely with Weipeng Zhong, chairman of the Shenzhen Creative Investment Group (SCIG), to ensure rapid progress on the expansion project.

Mr Zhong said: “I am delighted to be collaborating with ESMS to open the first Scottish International School in Shenzhen.

“The core values of ESMS stand out for me as something that will be especially attractive to the students at the ESMS International School in Shenzhen.”

SCIG chiefs have already helped to establish the Edinburgh Shenzhen Creative Exchange, which is working with the authorities to establish both an incubator in the Chinese city and a company base at the Creative Exchange in Leith.

It is hoped these centres will allow creative and tech businesses in Edinburgh and Shenzhen to reach new markets.

Mike Sims, chairman of the governing council at ESMS, added: “The principal and I have been privileged to travel to Shenzhen to meet Mr Zhong and his team in Shenzhen and also to meet key members of the Shenzhen authorities.

“We are very confident that Shenzhen, with its close proximity to Hong Kong, opens up excellent educational and cultural links between Edinburgh and Shenzhen for both Chinese and Scottish students.”