Observation 2 / Frankfurt
As Brexit drives bankers and their families out of London, Frankfurt’s headmasters and headmistresses are waiting with open arms. Time to take the register?
The relocation of London bankers to Frankfurt following Brexit is proving a boon for the city’s most prestigious private schools. Many of the companies that will soon disembark to the German city have started reserving hundreds of school places for their workers’ children in a bid to make the transition more appealing to employees.
Pharmaceutical brands, diplomatic missions and car manufacturers are at it too. “We’ve had three waves of requests,” says Paul Fochtman, head of Frankfurt International School. “In July 10 companies asked about places in autumn 2018.” Then, in October, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein tweeted about spending more time in Frankfurt, sparking a second rush of inquiries. Now applications are piling up before a 1 April deadline that several private schools have set for enrolments.
While some institutions are content with flogging places to companies even with the pupils as yet unnamed, others have set out specific quotas for the amount of places they are willing to set aside. Some, such as Frankfurt International School, are playing harder to get – and require entrance exams.
Rushing to private schools at a cost of about €20,000 a year seems surprising in a country where free state schools are often the first choice for ambitious pupils. But English-speaking schools not only help children by allowing them to study in their own language, they also offer a curriculum synchronised to schools abroad.
“Our applications today are 25 per cent higher than last year, with 300 kids on our waiting list,” says Fochtman. That number is unlikely to shrink anytime soon. “We expect the biggest increase in 2019.”
The demand is hard to ascertain but as international schools in the region report an unusually high number of applications some have decided to break ground on new buildings. Metropolitan School Frankfurt has already put forward plans for an extension that will add 14 new classrooms by 2018. When the bankers’ kids need education, it’s time to put another brick in the wall.