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BSA & BAISIS half-day seminar: Working with agents: best practice recommendations

  • Date: November 08, 2023
  • Time: 11:00 – 13:00
  • Cost: Full member – £110, Affiliate Member – £165, Non-member – £220
  • Audience: Marketing staff, Admissions staff, SLT/SMT
  • Platform: Zoom (online)

Course Outline:

Almost one third of the current boarding population in the UK is made up of international students, creating an exciting and global community of young people receiving their education and pastoral care in the UK. For many schools, recruiting internationally involves working with educational agents to support the promotion of their school overseas and to ensure that student and school community are paired successfully.

Relationships with agents can vary. The BSA Certified Agent scheme assures the professional quality of agents to schools, but there are a number of ways in which schools themselves can improve their working relationships with agents. This two-hour session will go through the process of finding, building relationships and working with agents, with best practice recommendations to support the development of strong relationships between school and agent. We will hear directly from three BSA Certified Agents working in China, Germany, Africa and the Middle East to share their recommendations first hand and answer any questions delegates may have.

Training topics will include:

  • The current global market for UK boarding schools
  • Recent changes in the international market
  • Drivers for international parents
  • The need for diversification
  • New and emerging markets
  • The need for good agents
  • Working with agents
  • Producing an agent handbook
  • What agents want from your schools
  • Developing positive relationships

Learning outcomes:

  • Increased understanding of the global market in UK boarding schools
  • Best practice recommendations for building relationships with good agents
  • Increased understanding of how to maintain good relationships with agents
  • Suggestions and ideas for new markets and relationships



Speaker: Caroline Nixon, BSA International & Membership Director

Caroline has worked in international education for over 30 years.  She set up and runs the BSA educational agent certification scheme and is involved with the BSA’s accreditation of international schools.  Her background is in international education marketing and she also set up and ran a leading international school in the UK.  Caroline has helped several UK schools to establish new overseas branches, advised an international school opening in the UK, set up a guardianship agency for an educational group, and advises schools on international marketing and academic and pastoral provision for their international students.

John Zhang, Founder and Managing Director, Connexcel (China)

John Zhang has lived in the UK for 20 years. Graduating from the University of Leeds with a master’s degree in Finance, he was employed by two FTSE 100 international companies as a procurement director before starting his own business. Since establishing Connexcel, he has devoted himself to helping elite private schools in China and the UK form partnerships through sister schools and cultural exchanges. John has supported schools in China with setting up new curriculums in collaboration with UK partners and training senior education personnel. He also acts a consultant for UK schools seeking advice on expanding their brand within the China. Through his consultancy work, John has built an extensive network within the Chinese Education Bureau along with schools in the UK and China, always taking the needs of each school to best allocate resources to support them.

Juliane von Buelow, Founder and Managing Director,  Better School)

Juliane von Bülow attended a very renowned school in England for one term during middle school. This was the most formative educational period in her life. After studying in Germany, she received a full scholarship to the University of Cambridge in England. There she passed her Master of Philosophy. During her residency at her doctorate, she took over her first lectures. After moving to Stuttgart, she transferred the experience gained to teaching gifted and gifted children and young people.

Since 2006, she and her team have been advising parents and teachers on alternatives to school in Germany. Her fluency in English, her detailed knowledge of the educational landscape in Germany, England and North America and, of course, her experiences as a student and mother of a Downside alumnus make her a sought-after conversation partner for parents, teachers and students.

Nicky Sakpoba, Founder and Managing Director, Panoba (Africa and Middle East)

Nicky was educated at an independent girls’ day school in West London, and continued on to study for her Bachelor’s degree in European Languages at Royal Holloway College, University of London.

Nicky’s career started in the luxury hotel industry, where she spent the initial 10 years of her career in management roles in a number of London’s most prestigious five-star hotels. She went on to spend the following 12 years of her career in senior marketing roles within the London commercial property sector.

As a mother of two teenage children, Nicky has been through the school search and selection process herself from prep schools through to sixth form, and co-founding Panoba in 2014 was a natural extension of her personal experiences.

Nicky has a passion for offering overseas families sound and honest advice, together with a handholding service to navigate the complexities of the UK education system and the school admissions process. Recognising that each child is unique, a bespoke approach is taken to each family Panoba works with, ensuring that the final choice of school is centred around an understanding of the student and what will suit them best.

Nicky lives in North London with her family and runs the Panoba UK office.