Strategy

Strong focus on learning

IES emphasizes the establishment of strong leadership at each school and recruits skilled teachers from different countries. The result is high quality schools with an international profile. A calm and orderly learning environment gives teachers and students the best possible conditions in which to teach and learn. The key theme is that the school is a place of work and should have the necessary conditions to function as an efficient workplace. IES has established an operational management model involving a small central organization providing administrative support and allowing school principals and staff to focus on what is most important – running schools that live up to the high quality goals of IES.

Clear educational concept with a leading market position

The parents, children and young people who apply to IES all believe it is important to master the English language, have a safe and calm educational environment and have the best possible conditions for academic success. In the IES annual anonymous survey of parents and students attending IES schools conducted in spring 2016, 30 percent of the respondents said that they chose IES mainly because they believed young people should learn to master English, 36 percent chose IES because they appreciate the “tough love” concept – with an orderly and calm work environment – and 24 percent chose IES because they appreciate the high academic expectations.

In the 9th grade national tests in the core subjects of Swedish, English and mathematics, IES students have performed significantly better year after year than the national average, and also better than the average for independent schools.

IES has gained a good reputation through the way it runs its schools combined with the strong academic results achieved. In the annual anonymous survey 96 percent of parents responded that they would recommend IES to another parent if asked.

IES has good potential to be welcomed into municipalities, even in a climate where the political regulations and attitudes towards independent schools in general could result in more restrictions. This is due to the reputation of IES as a long-established and serious educational organization that provides quality schools to municipalities. The IES concept is clear and complements the existing educational offering.

Through its long and good relationships with large real estate companies, when opening a school, IES can free the municipality from the need to invest in the conversion of an office building into a school or totally remodel a run-down school property during years when there is a great need for new schools (Umeå and Tyresö are relevant examples). When municipal schools are opened, the municipality itself has to cover the cost of these investments.

These are some of the explanations as to why IES, from the 2004/05 academic year to 2015/16, has been able to increase its student body from around 3,400 to around 19,800, equivalent to an average increase of 19 percent a year. During the 2015/16 academic year IES was the single largest provider in the Swedish compulsory school segment based on the number of students.

Quality goals

IES strives to give students the opportunity for a good education and to build character in an educational environment characterized by order, discipline, security and a focus on work. Academically, the goal is for IES to demonstrate outstanding results in the English language, significantly better results than the average in Swedish schools in mathematics, and better than average results in Swedish. An additional goal is for IES to be able to demonstrate added value, i.e. to show that academic results improve more for an individual student group over time at an IES school than in other schools, for example, measured as improvement in scores on the 6th grade national tests compared to the performance of the same group of students in the 9th grade national tests. IES is also focusing on ensuring that 100 percent of the students feel safe at school and that all students graduating from 9th grade are qualified to enter upper secondary school.

Full classes and efficient use of resources

Due to strong demand for the IES concept, IES can provide education with full classes of around 30 students per class in a secure and orderly school environment. Combined with the large size of IES schools, consisting of an average of 23 classes during the 2015/16 academic year, this enables more efficient use of resources and allows IES to meet the strict criteria for receiving support resources in areas such as student care.

Organic growth

Thanks to favorable demographic and structural trends and a successful concept, IES has multiple growth opportunities going forward. The main focus for IES will be on continuing to grow organically by establishing new schools and increasing the number of classes at existing compulsory schools. The emphasis will be on opening schools in areas of growth and university towns. In addition, IES sees potential for further growth in the preschool through the 3rd grade segment (F-3). IES today has experience of operating grades 1–3. Since 1999 IES has been operating in the upper secondary school sector in Stockholm, which is another segment for potential evaluation by IES. IES believes there is great growth potential, particularly in expanding downwards through the grades. There are also other advantages in doing this: students can start studying English at an even earlier age, IES will be able to attract students right from the start of compulsory school, and there is potential for expansion in existing locations where an organizational structure is already in place.

Potential for exporting the concept abroad

Expansion outside Sweden is an opportunity for IES to supplement continued growth in the Swedish market. The idea is for IES to operate in markets where there is a demand for bilingual instruction – English in addition to the local language. In new markets IES can enable students to master English as a second language, use its established method for recruiting English-speaking teachers, offer an established framework for improving quality at schools, and provide expertise in efficient financial management to support school expansion. A first step in this strategy is the recently signed conditional purchase agreement by IES to acquire 50 percent of the shares in the three school companies that together form Grupo Educativo Elians in Spain.