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International Schools in Thailand - An Inside Look

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On 2/15/2015 at 8:13 AM, StefanBBK said:

I wish we could afford this. We have two children and simply can't spend that much.

Given that the kids are half Thai, I also see great benefit in bilingual schools, as there is more focus on Thai culture and language. How many of the international schools teach Thai reading and writing? Any thoughts on Sarasas?

I think most of them will teach Thai and if I am international schools have to teach Thai citizens Thai language as if not it would be against Thai law.

There are cheaper international schools, but my experience is cheaper ones are really bad.

If your children are really into studying and can also perform well in exams they should be able to obtain full scholarships, which are given in most of the top end international schools in thailand. if nothing suits u you could home school them while they attend a thai school.

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On 9/15/2015 at 11:56 AM, JoopJoop said:

Please IntEdSource,

I'm living between Don Mueang and Chatuchak. I note that St Stephens and St Johns are not on your list. Can you advise me re your thoughts on these two schools and also St Andrews Samakee (Nonthaburi).

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

JJ.

 

St. John's is still good I think, and it is cheap too now

 

St John's International school was founded in 1991. It's part of the St. John's group of school which has been in education since 1961. They know what they are doing

 

I remember when the buildings were brand new and the school was one of the most expensive in Thailand right up there with Bangkok Patana and UN School on Sukhumvit Soi 15. The St. John's schools had a very good reputation really. St. John's International school had an excellent reputation, very good indeed but I remember frowning a bit on it because it was new in 1991 :) 

 

Then came the Polytechnic problems in the mid to end 90's I think it was and reputation dropped but that is rubbish in my opinion. St. John's Polytechnic has always been a totally separate school and it moved away from the campus over 15 years ago I think it was. I am amazed that some Thai's still think it affects St. John's International school reputation today

 

The campus was originally built when St. John's was top class and it was beautiful back then, complete with 25 meter swimming pool and all. The buildings are and look old now, the school shows its age a bit but I can't see that it matters much in my opinion

 

Something happened in 2011-2012 when the old head master left, I don't exactly know, I heard that several teachers also left at the same time.

 

Prices have dropped a lot. Used to be close to 500K per year in 2010 2011, it is down to 300K now if pay the year up front for the 10% discount. Not only foreign teachers for that price of course but I am OK with that, the school has a long tradition as a good school and I believe they are doing what they can to keep it up also when they no longer only have western teachers employed. The school has grade 1 to grade 12 of course and what I really like with it is that there are only approx 10 students in each class now. They follow the Cambridge curriculum with GCSE exams possible

 

I just checked them up - I will move my daughter there for grade 7 next year. And I damn myself for paying up front for the whole year in a not so good bilingual school now when I can afford St. John's :)

 

I'll try to find more info over the next few months, I am grateful for feedback from others about St. John's International school

 

 

Edited by MikeyIdea

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On 10/11/2015 at 3:27 PM, ExpatOilWorker said:

I wrongly assumed that Ruamrudee International School was located at Soi Ruamrudee. My bad.

 

It was until 25 years ago, a friend of mine who was teaching there at that time couldn't stop ranting about how it messed up his life when they moved :) 

Edited by MikeyIdea
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Thank you IntEdSource for an excellent series of posts. You have spent a lot of time compiling this information and you take your time when you answer. Much appreciated

 

I think you are spot on with your selection of top-tier and mid-tier schools

 

IntEdSource, I broaden the scope of the thread a bit if you don't mind and post my experience of Bilingual schools

I have mixed feelings about bilingual schools. Yes, good quality bilingual schools do employ good teachers who generally have more teaching experience and teach better than teachers teaching at low end international schools but there is a big but.

 

A Thai bilingual school must follow the Thai curriculum. My daughter studies at a "good" bilingual school in Bangkok and yes, the teachers are experienced, professional and good, they really are, but I have seen my daughter first study Thai history, Thai social studies, Thai this and Thai that in Thai and then a couple of weeks later study a shorter version of exactly the same Thai history, Thai social studies, Thai this and Thai that in English for 6 years now and it bores me. It doesn't make sense

 

I suppose I still agree with one member who posted that in his opinion, it's better to choose a good bilingual school than a lower end international school but frankly, some aspects of Thai bilingual schools really bore me though. They really are Thai schools teaching Thai content

 

 

Edited by MikeyIdea
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On 21/08/2016 at 9:24 AM, MikeyIdea said:

They really are Thai schools teaching Thai content

 

 

Agree. This was the main reason I took my son out and now send him to an International school. There were too many unnecessary fluff subjects and did not want to learn Chinese (hands full with two languages without putting a third in the mix).  I also found that the Thai teachers bought with them some bad habits acquired from the Thai teaching system. It was also Thai run which initially I didn't see as a problem but became quickly clear was riddled with the type of problems/attitudes you find at regular Thai schools sorry to say.

 

I also feel that bilingual schools, by their nature, are trying to do too much by incorporating two languages and two systems making it hard to master anything. So even though the school we tried was crappy all round I think you would run into this same problem at other bilingual schools also.

 

It's a difficult decision. I felt we had to choose one dominant language and one secondary language. I chose English at an International school because I can get help at home and because I understand how Western school systems work.

 

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Very informative thread. Thanks IntEdSource.

 

The information presented for the International Schools is great. But I also see many references to "good bilingual schools ", which schools are these? no one seems to mention them by name.

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On ‎4‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 5:34 PM, edgarfriendly said:

St johns shut down permanently June 2017

 

next best / updates for '18?

:crying:  Yes,

 

I moved my daughter to MISB, Indian British curriculum Cambridge and EDExcel certified (silver rating) school on Petchburi Soi 38. She's been there for a year now and I can confirm good education indeed. 80% of the students are Indian / Pakistanis, many of the Indians are born in Thailand. We must accept that this is an Indian school, anyone prone to complaining about Indian pronunciation / grammar or disregarding the normal Asian rules, stay away please

 

Price is less than 250,000 baht per year and the school is always full so it's probably a bit late to get a seat for August 2018. I like the school a lot, my daughter is happy there and thriving, I like the teachers (mostly Indians, some Filipinos and Thai), the parents are nice, the kids are nice. The school feels like a family. All is obviously Asian which I like after 27 years here. I may have had a different opinion 20 years ago but certainly not now, I feel lucky

 

Michael

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3 hours ago, MikeyIdea said:

:crying:  Yes,

 

I moved my daughter to MISB, Indian British curriculum Cambridge and EDExcel certified (silver rating) school on Petchburi Soi 38. She's been there for a year now and I can confirm good education indeed. 80% of the students are Indian / Pakistanis, many of the Indians are born in Thailand. We must accept that this is an Indian school, anyone prone to complaining about Indian pronunciation / grammar or disregarding the normal Asian rules, stay away please

 

Price is less than 250,000 baht per year and the school is always full so it's probably a bit late to get a seat for August 2018. I like the school a lot, my daughter is happy there and thriving, I like the teachers (mostly Indians, some Filipinos and Thai), the parents are nice, the kids are nice. The school feels like a family. All is obviously Asian which I like after 27 years here. I may have had a different opinion 20 years ago but certainly not now, I feel lucky

 

Michael

That is so cheap.  Do they teach the Thai or UK curriculum?  It appears to have some religious origins/backing, do you notice this in the teaching?  How about the facilities?  My kid is at Patana and it's way more expensive but the facilities are excellent as are the teachers.  I like the fact that it is run as a foundation.  Is MISB run as a foundation or for-profit?

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MISB is different in every aspect but also because every grade, every class of the school is always full before the new academic year starts so only chance to get in is to come earlier in the year and have a bit of luck => reserve the seat of a student that is leaving

 

Compare with Bangkok Patana? It really is impossible to compare the two. Bangkok Patana is a traditional western style International school while MISB doesn't even want to be one. MISB wants to be an Indian/Asian school providing good education for a decent price, mainly for the many Thai-born Indians but it is also clear that everybody are sincerely welcome. Facilities: Bangkok Patana cost how much? Totally 800,000 bt per year? MISB cost less than 250,000 bt per year. How can we compare that? Bangkok Patana has excellent facilities all over, MISB's facilities are a bit old and it feels a bit small because every class is full and they are not fancy but they are adequate, it's IMO good enough and they're right on Petchburi 38/Sukhumvit 39 while most other international schools are much further out where land is much cheaper. I'll put it like this: I think that MISB is doing such a good job at delivering good education for a very good price that anyone who complains on their facilities should happily shut up or leave and pay 3 times as much somewhere else

 

I don't see it as they have religious backing as such, the word "backing" feels wrong. The school exist because of the initiative of His Holiness Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji (spiritual leader of the Namdhari fold) to support the Namdhari in Bangkok. It's an Asian school so respect and religion is important but I hesitate to put the word religion in because westerners would probably misunderstand. It's not religion the Christian way but rather the Mahatma Gandhi way with absolute respect for other religions. There are prayers, pray for what you believe in or not at all if you don't want to but respect the moment. No religion has been taught the 14 months my daughter has been there. It's very different from for instance Grace International school, their vision statement from their website gives me goose pimples - "VISION: Bangkok Grace International School seeks to guide students to faith in Jesus Christ. We envision to be an active prime mover in the delivery of quality education to prepare and develop students of genuine faith and integrity to serve God in different capacities". MISB is not like that at all but religion/whatever you believe in/respect/morality is still important. Respect/morality is more important in MISB than in most western schools

 

I have no idea if MISB is formally run as a foundation or for-profit, probably foundation. There can be no profit for that price

 

More in no particular order: Teacher parent communication is easy, I have the email of nearly all my daughters teachers, 3 scheduled teacher parent days per year and no problem to see teachers more often when I want that, nothing of the Thai "keep parents away from the school" style what-so-ever, British curriculum and clearly more of a British style with formal homework that must be handed in and points are counted toward the final grade, don't hand in and you will get zero points and the school is audited so this rule is strictly followed, homework mostly given several days in advance (not much get today for tomorrow), serious about preparing students for the iGCSE, A levels and university and they are doing a good job with it too, University of Cambridge International Examinations, EDExcel approved centre, Education Development Trust (EDT, formerly CfBT) International Schools Quality Award at Silver Level, kindergarten to A levels, the school is more strict than a Thai school of course but still the Asian way (can ask for a week's break mid term for a holiday to the Canary Islands but education should not suffer, unlike Northern European where you'd get "the bad parent stamp" and a lecture about the duty to make sure your children go to school), standard Asian values must be followed and the school would not accept repeated breaches, no holding hands or obvious shows of affection like hugging or kissing, school uniform rules more strict than in Thai schools but not overly so, school communication is a bit slow at times (get today answer tomorrow) and admin is bad at answering emails sometimes (they seem a bit overstretched), strictly vegetarian school, no meat allowed on the premises although the majority of the students seem to prefer meat and don't like the rule, teachers do have an Indian accent of course and parents and students who can't happily accept that without complaining should choose another school, teachers are generally experienced and good, school acts promptly on complaints (new ICT teacher received several complaints and he was gone the next term, well done MISB), must teach Thai language 5 hours a week I think it is as it is a Thai International school (MoE rule), only Chinese, Hindi, Urdu foreign language to choose from, PE swimming classes gender segregated of course, Indians are not the best at sports, even the parent activity during the sports day gender separated :), the school is quite a bit like a big family actually, quite a few of the admin staff went there themselves, the principal Dominic Sir is cool :)

 

It's definitely a predominantly Indian school and I suppose it is not for westerners coming straight out of Europe, parents and students must accept the rules of the school or leave at the end of the academic year and you won't get the admission fee back. Accept this and that facilitates are not fancy but adequate and it is a bl**dy good school with a family feel for less than half of what the competitors charge. My half-Thai daughter is happy there and Daddy is clearly happy with her academic progress

 

Wow, that was a long post :smile:

Michael

 

Edited by MikeyIdea

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BANGKOK 23 April 2018 18:28
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