One of Scotland’s most prestigious colleges has signed a deal to recreate the esteemed school in China.
Fettes College, which counts former Prime Minister Tony Blair among its alumni, will be used as a model to create a new college almost 6,000 miles away in the southern port city of Guangzhou.
The Edinburgh school, which charges annual fees of just under £34,000 – the highest in Scotland – will be copied in the nominally communist country right down to the house system and leafy grounds.
The deal has been signed by Fettes and Bright Scholar – the largest operator of international and bilingual schools in China.
The school, called Fettes Guangzhou, is due to open in September next year.
Fettes itself opened in 1870. Old Fettesians fill the ranks of Scotland’s professions, with judges and top lawyers particularly well represented.
Scottish actress Louise Linton, now married to Steven Mnuchin, the United States Secretary of the Treasury, is another notable figure to study at the school.
Education in the UK is highly attractive to Chinese students, with nearly 100,000 undergradautes enrolling in British universities.
Bruce Dingwall, deputy chair of the Governors of the Fettes Trust, wrote on the school’s website: “Fettes Guangzhou will be a true reflection of Fettes College internationally, fully adopt our ethos, provide an outstanding academic education, focus on sector-leading pastoral care and introduce a wealth of co-curricular activities to broaden the horizons of all of its students.
“Fettes Guangzhou will be purpose-built on a 33-acre site with a residential quarter for students.” The new school will offer full boarding and will be built using the same “vertical boarding house system” as the original Edinburgh college.
Mr Dingwall added: “The expansive grounds will play a huge part in replicating the famous, leafy Fettes campus in Scotland.”
Broadway Malyan – a London-based architectural firm – is working in conjunction with Fettes College’s architect PagePark to make sure the new campus retains its sense of prestige and Scottish identity. Along with Blair and Linton, other famous alumni of Fettes College include actress Tilda Swinton and advertising tycoon David Ogilvy.
The average Chinese worker earns £8,597 a year, meaning they would have to work for four years to afford one year of schooling for a child at Fettes in Edinburgh.