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Mixed fortunes for IH schools

Within the same month, International House (IH) Sydney announced plans to open two new schools in Australia. At the same time, in Europe, IH Eastern Spain closed all seven of their schools and IH Aberdeen ceased trading. What is happening?

IH is not a corporate-owned chain, or even a franchise, it’s a group of schools affiliated to the IH World Organisation (IHWO). Most of the 160 schools in 50 countries are individually owned, but a few are regional IH “mini- chains,” such as those owned by IH Sydney. The Eastern Spain group had five schools in Catalonia and single schools in both Majorca and the province of Aragon.

The unusual IH structure served to fan the flames of the press furore over the Spanish closures, as journalists demanded answers from IH schools in the Spanish capital Madrid, thinking it must be the IH headquarters. Meanwhile, redundant teachers held demonstrations across the region as the group, founded in Barcelona nearly 50 years ago, went into liquidation.

According to a statement issued by IH Eastern Spain, the affiliate, “had experienced considerable financial challenges in recent years,” but had started to recover when “the devastating impact of the Covid-19 outbreak” left them no option but to close.

Image courtesy of IH WORLD ORGANISATION
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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