According to the International School Consultancy (ISC Research), there are more than four and a half million pupils studying at more than 8,000 English medium international schools around the world. Of those schools, more than 3,700 are British schools – schools with a British national orientation, and/or using elements of the UK national curriculum. British education has a strong reputation worldwide, with parents choosing British schools for the broad, balanced curriculum and teaching that equips pupils with the skills and qualifications to enter, or re-enter, the UK education system at school, college, or university level. Quality British Schools Overseas provide opportunities for a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities, strong welfare support, and promote an understanding of modern British society.
The Department for Education (DfE) has put in place a voluntary scheme for the inspection of British Schools Overseas (BSO), whereby schools are inspected against a common set of standards that BSO can choose to adopt. Inspectorates approved by the DfE and monitored by the English schools' inspectorate Ofsted can inspect BSOs. They produce inspection reports which are made available to parents through the DfE's website. This provides parents with information about the quality of provision within the inspected school, and its compatibility with independent schools in the UK.
The inspection covers the quality of the curriculum; the quality of teaching and learning; the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils; their welfare, health and safety; the suitability of the proprietor and staff; the school’s premises and accommodation (including boarding); and the school's complaints procedures. An essential part of the inspection is considering the extent to which the British character of the school is evident in its ethos, curriculum, teaching, care for pupils and pupils’ achievements.