A SCOTTISH private school is to expand into China with the help of a former parent.

Merchiston Castle, in Edinburgh, said an international school would be established by September next year in the city of Shenzhen, in Guangdong Province.

The venture comes on the back of a rising demand for British international schools abroad.

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Last year, Mary Erskine and Stewart’s Melville schools, also based in Edinburgh, signed an agreement to establish an international school in Shenzhen in 2019.

The Merchiston development came after a year of collaboration with China-based parent and investor Jianjun Lyu.

Mr Lyu decided to help develop a network of Merchiston schools across China after his son attended the Scottish boys boarding school.

The new schools - which will be co-educational - will support a broad curriculum featuring a mix what is currently taught in Merchiston as well as traditional Chinese subjects.

The school said the partnership would have “positive financial gains” which would be used to fund bursaries for Scottish pupils as well as providing finances to expand facilities.

Andrew Hunter, headmaster of Merchiston, said: “This is an exciting chapter for Merchiston and I am proud to be exporting the unique Scottish boarding school philosophy for the benefit of Shenzhen’s growing global citizens.”

The first head of the international school will be Chris Lynn who is currently working as a headmaster of an international school in Malaysia.

John Edward, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, said: “Scottish independent education is recognised globally for its strong tradition for academic excellence, individual learning and extra-curricular diversity.

“Every year, thousands of international boarding pupils come to Scotland from over 50 nations and this is the next logical step.”

International schools now inject some £1 billion into the UK economy.