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maxheadroom007

Schools In Koh Samui

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Boo    1,146

thanks for that bazray, I will take a look at Panyadee & also will be looking into the various claims about the BW & OG too.

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I have been urged to read this thread by a number of people over the weekend and on reading it am quite shocked by the manner that maxheadrooms initial query has been hijacked to level a campaign of serious accusations against me.

May I take this opportunity to clear up a few things.

I spent 4 years at The University of St Andrews in Scotland studying and gaining a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree (BSc Hons) in Laser Physics and Optoelectronics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_St_Andrews

After this and following on from 7 years serving as an Officer in the British Army I spent a further year studying and teaching at Wrekin College in Shropshire, England, gaining a Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE).

I have a hunch that a certain contributor on this forum is North American from his use of the term 'Fall' to denote 'Autumn'. Maybe this explains his confusion with regards to the British Educational awards system. If he believes 'Hons' stands for Honorary, then maybe I can clarify the situation for him, it stands for Honours, this a higher level of Degree than an Ordinary Degree please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_under..._classification for further information.

I hope the above clarifies any of the misconstrued and quite frankly unhelpful comments made against me personally on this thread.

With regards to maxheadrooms query, I would urge any parent to visit as many of the schools on the Island prior to making any decision about their childrens educational future. Each school has its own distinct approach to education, which is the case world wide.

Yes Bluewater does have an Open Day on Mon 7th July at 9am, I am also led to believe that Open Gates has one next week. maxheadroom I urge you to visit both if you are able to.

May I finally clear up a few things:

Bluewater has purchased more land and is expanding up to Year 11 (16 years of age) to offer GCSE's to students from this September.

Bluewater only employs PGCE or BEd qualified teachers.

Bluewater applied to the Ministry of Education for its International School Licence 6 months ago. The Ministry will be announcing their decision next month. I will not comment any further suffice to say if the application is successful then Bluewater will be the first school on Koh Samui and in Surat Thani province to have such a Licence.

Jeremy Lees BSc (Hons) PGCE ph

Headmaster

Bluewater

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Boo    1,146

Thanks for contributing to the thread & for clearing up some of the claims.

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OpenGates    0

Hello,

I am Dr. Claus Meyer and I am the managing director of Open Gates Education Centre here on Koh Samui. This forum was brought to my attention and after reading it over, I thought it best that I personally make a post to clear up many issues.[/size][/font]

1. Open Gates has been open almost three years and, since opening, we have always offered nursery through to Year 11. We have always used the British National Curriculum.

2. We have a total of 14 teachers. 3 of them have their Masters in Education and 4 have a bachelor degree in education. 2 are PGCE qualified (and so are the first 7 mentioned) and 5 have bachelor degrees in various fields and they will take their PGCE exam in Suratthani this autumn. This means we have 9 teachers with education degrees and five teachers with degrees in various other fields of study. We also have 1 ESL teacher and that teacher only teaches our Accelerated English Program and that teacher has over 8 years of teaching experience at different schools. All teachers at Open Gates have their Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) as well.

3. We now have a new school principal, Mr. Peter Morris, who also has a Masters in Education (received from Oxford University) and has many years of experience as headmaster at many schools around the world (England, Nigeria, Uganda, India, Malaysia, Thailand [Harrow International School]). He also worked for Cambridge University as an inspector of schools that want to be authorized to give the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exams. He says he is very pleased to come to a school that already has an outstanding program in place. As of Aug. 8, he will be available to anyone who wishes to talk with him about anything to do with Open Gates or education in general. This man has years and years of experience in the education field. He will raise the level of Open Gates' quality to even newer heights. We have also just hired a new head for the primary school, Mr. Brendon Harris, who is highly educated professional teacher with 16 years classroom and administrative experienced

4. ***overt advertising removed---sbk***

5. We have a separate class and a separate teacher for each Year group. We do not combine our classes, but because of our competitor's lack of teachers, they combine many year groups into 1 classroom; therefore teaching all the students in that classroom the same subject at the same level.

6. Our Parent Teacher Association is very strong. In fact, we just had a PTA meeting last week for the parents to meet the new school principal, Mr. Peter Morris.

7. We are opening a new campus in the autumn of this year. We have concurrently applied for the International Nursery, Primary and Secondary School License. This new school and license will allow us to be recognised by the Thai Ministry of Education and then we will be a international school covering children ages 2 to 18. If you notice, we do not call ourselves an international school yet because we cannot do so legally. A school on Koh Samui does but it is technically against the law until hundreds of criterion is met and authorization is received from the Thai Ministry of Education. Here is a link to an article that appeared in the Samui Express newspaper 2 issues ago: www.opengates-samui.com/news/groundbreaking.html

8. We are the only school that can offer the IGCSE exams. This is a very important point and is very crucial to a child's educational development and future education. No other school on Koh Samui can offer these exams. Please read this article: http://news.samuiexpress.net/index.php?opt...e&Itemid=88[/size][/font]

9. Starting in the autumn, we will begin offering our students (and others) six language courses. We will be the only school in southern Thailand to do so. Thai, English, Russian, French, Spanish and German will be available. Also, we will offer night classes that will be open to anyone on the island who wishes to come and learn one of these languages. Again, there is an article in the latest Samui Express newspaper discussing this in more detail. www.opengates-samui.com/news/sixlanguages.html

10. I appreciate Mr. Lees' post to help clarify any misunderstandings created. I hope my post does the same. Also this week Mr. Lees and Mr. Morris formally met each other and have agreed to work professionally to raise the standard of education on Samui.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss any of the above in further detail. Everything that is written is factual and I am more than willing to show the proof to anyone. Myself, as well as Mr. Morris, will make ourselves available at anytime for anyone. You can get our contact information from our website. Your child's education is one of the most important investments and gifts you can give them so it is imperative to research schooling opportunities.

Thank you and I am glad to have had this opportunity to hopefully clear many rumors or misguided information up. I hope this post has helped the original poster have a clearer understanding of what Open Gates Education Centre has to offer.

Sincerely,

Dr. Claus Meyer

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limbos    659

Did I hear woodwork squeek?

Good to see that two out of three mentioned schools have come aboard and cleared up some things.

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mattias33    0

This thread is becoming very interresting and it is off course a very important subject for many people. Nothing is more important than your own child and education is a big concern of every parent.

I for one appreciate the two salespersons from the schools, bluewater and open gates, it was nice that some facts got cleared up and presented the right way. Allthough a spoke-person of a company is always good with the words and i would prefer to hear reviews from parents instead of spokes-persons of the schools. It´s an important enough subject to maybe make a pinned thread about. Voting thread or review thread or wathever.....

Anyway, i for one keep on reading this thread. Thanks for any contributions, very interresting so far!

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Nirvana    0
Vested interest or not, I am only stating facts that can be substantiated and verified very easily. (The headmaster's CV of Bluewater is very misleading of how the degree was actually obtained.)

If I am wrong about something I will be the first to admit it, but I have checked and double checked everything I have written and feel very confident in posting it here.

A child's education is something worth having a vested interest in.

wuuguuwuu

Obviously not 100 % water tight on the facts. The post was made to provoke a reaction and it did from the people personally i was most interested to hear from I.E the schools themselves. They have made a comments/post, subsequent to this post and given alot of information which is great for all to read and not in a mud slinging manner, which makes a change, but what one would expect from educated people.TQ

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The owner of Open Gates is German. He is a German lawyer with a doctorate in law. I would much rather have a very well educated person running a school and directing the teachers than a person who never even attended a university. How much respect can a teacher, who has given years of their life to schooling, give their boss if he didn't even have the motivation to finish college himself? I have met Dr. Claus many times and it only takes a few minutes of talking to him to realize that he is passionate about ensuring the highest levels of quality for his students.

All teachers at Open Gates have at least a four year university diploma. Many have master's degrees as well. It is at Bluewater where the minimum to teach is just a TEFL.

As far as the "not look she", I'm sure, as it was the case when I was in school, you have classroom language and then you have out of school (slang) language. I personally know many children that go to Open Gates or have gone and already graduated from Open Gates and their English is excellent, as is their worldly and general knowledge. As I said above, a 12 year old girl just passed her IGCSEs at Open Gates when the normal age for these tests is 16 years old and she is Thai. Many students leave Open Gates and go straight on to university.

Go to Bluewaters open house and double check these facts. Ask them when they are going to be recognized by the Thai Ministry of Education, ask about where the other 2 or 3 rai of land is that they need and all the other hundreds of standards that have to be met. Ask the owner about his own PGCE and how he obtained it and look at the facilities they have. Then go talk to OG and see what facilities their new campus will have, it will dwarf Bluewaters. Look on OG's website at all their teacher's and their qualifications.

These two school are like night and day and Bluewater's candles are getting very low.

I'm a very happy parent of a child attending Bluewater school. Anyone, can and should investigate all possibilities of their child's education before coming to any conclusion based on this banter. For me it is and was quite an obvious choice. The ridiculous claims above are very transparent and highly unprofessional. It seems that all one would have to do is take a moment of research to find out the truth. The qualifications for teachers are fully available and have been checked and police checked. I have seen it myself. Why is that questioned? I feel it is a very secure and happy environment with top facilities. I also feel that the headmaster is totally honest and equally caring about the welfare of our kids and their education. I think anyone that has met him or had any dealings with him would agree that his is a credible person with a good reputation(aside from the desperate attempts of the rival schools it seems). I find reading all of this slander can not be beneficial to anyone and with the open days of both of the questionable schools fast approaching it is easy to check for yourself. I have been at the school from the beginning and can only say I am completely happy with it and so is my child. Any person willing to listen to the obvious 'rantings' of someone who is quite hostile and, it seems, has some vested interest in another particular school would be foolish. Desperate times call for desperate measures. As for the Thai language, my child is British and has been studying Thai at BW school and I am happy to report received full marks on his Thai reading and writing assessment last week which is something he could not have done with my help! I think who ever this is making such false comments about BW school is very sad and should be ashamed of themselves. Furthermore, using Samui Express as reference too is rather far fetched. Bottom line...go see for yourself.

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rafiki    0

Interesting that some adults still behave as children, and island life seems to make this even worse!

At the moment, there is by far the most choice of education for expat children on Samui then there has ever been, and most of this is a fairly recent development, so it is important to recognise that all "International" schools on this island are still in their developing stages.

It is most important that the schools are visited and the teachers who will actually be teaching your children are met in advance of any decisions being made, you can get a fabulous looking school with all the facilities (or promises of facilities), but if the teacher is no good, it will be a total waste of time.

Beware of promises on Koh Samui, if something is not actually in place (ie, facilities, qualifications, curriculum etc), then there is quite a strong chance that it will either not actually happen or will take so long that it will be too late by the time it is put in place. This may seem cynical, but after living here for years, it is the only way to judge anything.

Regarding fees, Samui is still cheaper than Bangkok, but in general, the salaries are less here than up there, so it balances out somewhat. Further to this, fees do not neccessarily reflect the quality of the teaching, the school or the facilities available.

There are numerous factors which may make you choose one school over another, these include (not in any order):

Curriculum

teachers

location

facilities

cost

qualifications of teachers

general atmosphere

future plans

For one reason or another you may find that you have to move schools, this is more frequest than expected over here, as the only real way of knowing what your children are getting is when they are actually enrolled at the school, but at least you have a choice, which can only be a good thing.

Note also that although the "international" schools on Samui follow the British National Curriculum, there are some differences, one being that Thai has to be taught as well as English, and often there is a 3rd language as well, so for younger children, you may find that they are being taught more languages than in the UK. Thus, the definition of BNC is aready diluted, some schools also adopt other pseudo- european/mid atlantic forms of teaching using English for tuition, this combined with lack of resources, and the Thai gov't requirements pushes the curriculum even further away from the British one.

From experience, with two previous schools on Samui, what was actually taught beared little resemblance to what was promised and laid out in the curriculum.

For the record, my child is attending Blue Water school and I am more than happy with the quality of education and welfare offered, but it has taken a few years (often at the expense of my child's education) to get to this point.

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ganggalee    0

Just to reinforce visionquesthai post, I am also a happy Bluewater parent & have been since the start of the school. My wife & I have lived on Samui for 7 years & in that time my daughter has attended four different schools, including a Thai one, but not including Open Gates (a school which I know very little about). It was not until she attended Bluewater did she experience what I would call a proper school environment and it is clear to see that her academic & social skills have developed tremendously in the time she has been there. She is also extremely happy & has made many friends and never once has suggested that she didn't want to go to school, in fact quite the opposite. I would urge anyone to check all the possibilities available for their children's education, but for us Bluewater has proved to be the right choice. Any parents should attend the upcoming open days at both schools & forget about some of the rubbish that has been written on this forum & see for themselves what the various schools have to offer, bearing in mind that all the non Thai schools on Samui are in the relatively early stages of development and also bearing in mind how difficult it can be to deal with the local authorities & how long things can take here in Thailand. I also think it should be noted how profesionally both Mr. Lees & Dr. Meyer have handled this situation.

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Just to reinforce visionquesthai post, I am also a happy Bluewater parent & have been since the start of the school. My wife & I have lived on Samui for 7 years & in that time my daughter has attended four different schools, including a Thai one, but not including Open Gates (a school which I know very little about). It was not until she attended Bluewater did she experience what I would call a proper school environment and it is clear to see that her academic & social skills have developed tremendously in the time she has been there. She is also extremely happy & has made many friends and never once has suggested that she didn't want to go to school, in fact quite the opposite. I would urge anyone to check all the possibilities available for their children's education, but for us Bluewater has proved to be the right choice. Any parents should attend the upcoming open days at both schools & forget about some of the rubbish that has been written on this forum & see for themselves what the various schools have to offer, bearing in mind that all the non Thai schools on Samui are in the relatively early stages of development and also bearing in mind how difficult it can be to deal with the local authorities & how long things can take here in Thailand. I also think it should be noted how profesionally both Mr. Lees & Dr. Meyer have handled this situation.

As a parent of twins :D currently being educated on Ko Samui i would like to add my opinion of their current school as that is what the OP has asked for.

:o Firstly, my qualifications are as a parent and holder of a BA Hons degree (that's honours for those in any doubt!) I have lived here on Samui for over 5 years and first visited here over 20 years ago.

:D Secondly, i have no vested interest in any educational establishment on the island other than as a parent searching for the right environment and education for schooling my twins.

In the last two years i have been astounded and surprised at the very high standards being set and met by their teachers .

I have been very impressed with my children's continual improvements in both educational and social skills far above and beyond what we would have expected.

I have only every witnessed teaching of a remarkably high and truly inspirational level.

But please don't take my word for it ask my children who never ever want to miss a day of school ever even when they do not feel well enough to go!!! :D In two years there has not been one morning with screaming children shouting " i don't want to go to school" That to me only serves to highlight the fantastic job that the teachers are doing there. In a time when education itself has been badly maligned how refreshing to find that a school can instill pride passion and respect in the children , the staff and the parents . I would like to take this opportunity as a parent to say Thank you to those who through their commitment and desire have restored a lot of my faith in an education system and have done so at all times with their heads held high

Thank you. My Children attend Bluewater School :D

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Tanui    0
Interesting that some adults still behave as children, and island life seems to make this even worse!

At the moment, there is by far the most choice of education for expat children on Samui then there has ever been, and most of this is a fairly recent development, so it is important to recognise that all "International" schools on this island are still in their developing stages.

It is most important that the schools are visited and the teachers who will actually be teaching your children are met in advance of any decisions being made, you can get a fabulous looking school with all the facilities (or promises of facilities), but if the teacher is no good, it will be a total waste of time.

Beware of promises on Koh Samui, if something is not actually in place (ie, facilities, qualifications, curriculum etc), then there is quite a strong chance that it will either not actually happen or will take so long that it will be too late by the time it is put in place. This may seem cynical, but after living here for years, it is the only way to judge anything.

Regarding fees, Samui is still cheaper than Bangkok, but in general, the salaries are less here than up there, so it balances out somewhat. Further to this, fees do not neccessarily reflect the quality of the teaching, the school or the facilities available.

There are numerous factors which may make you choose one school over another, these include (not in any order):

Curriculum

teachers

location

facilities

cost

qualifications of teachers

general atmosphere

future plans

For one reason or another you may find that you have to move schools, this is more frequest than expected over here, as the only real way of knowing what your children are getting is when they are actually enrolled at the school, but at least you have a choice, which can only be a good thing.

Note also that although the "international" schools on Samui follow the British National Curriculum, there are some differences, one being that Thai has to be taught as well as English, and often there is a 3rd language as well, so for younger children, you may find that they are being taught more languages than in the UK. Thus, the definition of BNC is aready diluted, some schools also adopt other pseudo- european/mid atlantic forms of teaching using English for tuition, this combined with lack of resources, and the Thai gov't requirements pushes the curriculum even further away from the British one.

From experience, with two previous schools on Samui, what was actually taught beared little resemblance to what was promised and laid out in the curriculum.

For the record, my child is attending Blue Water school and I am more than happy with the quality of education and welfare offered, but it has taken a few years (often at the expense of my child's education) to get to this point.

Great Post!

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is the education of the students. Lets make sure that Both Bluewaters and Open Gates are doing an excellent job in preparing the youth of the world!

I am a school teacher at Open Gates. I moved to Koh Samui about 8 months ago. I applied to work at Both Open Gates and Bluewaters. Bluewaters would not do an interview with me despite the fact I have a masters degree in Education because I am American.

I dont really know much about Bluewaters but I do know a lot about Open Gates and I would like to share that with you:

I am proud to be teaching at this school.

Our teachers and their qualifications are posted.

We teach Thai lessons here for both native and non native speakers.

Our prices are lower than Bluewaters.

We are building a brand new facility for our 2008-2009 school year.

We are close to having our international status.

We do not charge additional fees for after school activites.

We work with the British curriculum.

We have a great staff.

I think Bluewaters has many similar characteristic. Regardless of where your children go to school, lets make sure they are being treated and taught well.

Thanks! :o

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Khun Jean    467

A lot of brand new posters. I wonder why.

In the end it will be the parents duty to research schools thoroughly.

You can always evaluate after a few months. It is not only if the school system is right but also the teachers, and other students. And to evaluate those, real time spend at a school will clear up many things.

I have spend a lot of time researching it and for me it was out of my budget to send the kids to a proper school. The ones within my not too small budget were very swiftly removed from my list.

Just having a chat with some teachers and looking at some class rooms. (Ask to see the ones on the right when they guide you to the left sometimes does the trick.)

In Bangkok i had more choice but even there i was not happy with the choices.

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Oliver Reed    8

I am a parent of a student at Open Gates, who has been in attendance there for 2 years, after 2 wasted years at Dulwich (Samui) and Greenhouse (Samui)..these schools eventually became Bluewater.

I think this thread is a little bit of a back stabbing excercise, but some of the posters are correct.

After a slow start at Open Gates, my child is now progressing very well, and catching up the lost years at the previous schools...he is happy there, and i am happy with his progress and his development...I am also thoroughly happy with the efforts of Dr Claus Meyer to strive for improvement on an ongoing basis, he is clearly a man with a vision for the future, and i am not sure that there is a better person on the Island to achieve the goals he has set.

I think it would be helpful for the schools to have closer ties, and hopefully the meeting between Mr Morris and Mr Lees will be beneficial to better relations between the 2 schools.

We should all remember that Rome wasnt built in a day, and things have improved drastically since i first came here 4 years ago...long may it last ....personally i am sure there isnt a whole lot between the 2 schools, but OG is substantially more cost effective, and has a magnificent new school to look forward to after christmas

I suggest you visit both schools and ask some of the parents...I cant see that many would complain, and all would say that they have their child in the better of the 2 schools, as nobody is going to want to think they are not doing their best by their child....ignore the gossip, base decision on fact

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