NCG enters Irish market with Sandycove acquisition

UK-based New College Group (NCG) has become the latest provider to enter the Ireland ELT market with the acquisition of Sandycove School of English in County Dublin.

Sandycove becomes the third centre in the NCG portfolio, adding to the original school in Manchester established in 2010 and a campus in Liverpool, which opened in 2015.


Commenting on the expansion into the Irish market, Sadiq Basha, Managing Director of NCG, said, "We've seen an increasing interest in Ireland as a destination from students from all over the world, and are very excited to be able to offer students the option of studying in beautiful Ireland."


He added, "Our new school's location in Dún Laoghaire will offer students a lovely seaside location with quick public transport links to the heart of Dublin city centre."


Sandycove School of English has been operating since 2002, and was previously known as Language in Dublin. Owner, Kevin Kheffache, said, "We've been in discussions with NCG since late last year and have got to know them quite well as a company and group of people. Not only do we share similar values, but they are innovative and very student focused, something we've always held in our core beliefs.


"I believe that NCG represents a new wave of language schools, and I look forward to seeing where they'll take the school in the future."


David O'Grady, CEO of language school association Marketing English in Ireland, said, "I warmly welcome the arrival of NCG to Ireland and I am especially happy that NCG has chosen an MEI school for its expansion here."


He continued, "For MEI and its member schools, commitment to the quality of the experience of the international student here is paramount, and I am totally confident that NCG share that commitment.


"In addition, NCG will attract to Ireland, through its sophisticated network of contacts, students from the Middle East and Asia who may not until now have considered Ireland as an alternative destination for their studies."


Sandycove School of English will be rebranded as NCG Dublin from September 2017.


The Sandycove deal marks the third acquisition of an Irish ELT school by an overseas chain this year, following the purchase of Kenilworth School by EC in January, and Holmes Education Group bringing English Language Academy into its Oxford House College brand in June.


In a StudyTravel Magazine cover story on mergers and acquisitions earlier this year, David commented on the attraction of Ireland for potential investors and explained that under the current rules, acquisition of an already-accredited school was the only route to market.



By Matthew Knott

News Editor