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International Schools for Expats in Thailand

Submitted: August 2014

For expats, the main problem with state schools in Thailand is that all of the teaching is done in Thai. Beyond this, the standard of education and resources offered might not be considered high enough, and in addition a child must have at least one Thai parent and be considered a Thai national in order to qualify for free state education. As a result, most expat children will attend private schools.

Thailand generally contains two types of private school: Thai private schools and International schools. Thai private schools teach the Thai curriculum, aiming to educate children to a level that will allow them to pass the national exams necessary for entry into university. This article applies only to international schools, which tend to educate towards internationally recognized qualifications such as GCSEs (UK), PSAT/SATs (USA), and the International Baccalaureate.

International schools are available at primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary level; many also provide pre-school facilities from the age of three. The curriculum at each school will vary depending on which international standard the school has adopted, but generally at secondary level your children will study maths, science, history, geography, English, art and PE, and they may also study one or sometimes two other languages. Thai language and culture lessons are compulsory for Thai nationals only, though if you plan on spending significant time living in Thailand it may be a good idea to have your children take these lessons.

As an expat, it is important to consider whether the standard of education received is going to be sufficient to enable your child to progress normally at school if you were to return home. This is especially important at the upper secondary level, due to its difficulty and importance in securing a child’s future. Some international schools will offer multiple curriculums, the most common being IGCSE and as the International Baccalaureate (IB). These are highly regarded qualifications, and good results will easily secure your child a university or college place. The website for the International Baccalaureate Organisation is here, and the website for the IGCSE is here. A list of IB schools in Thailand can be found here. Details of the main International schools in Thailand can be found in this list, which includes links to the schools’ websites and contact details.

In order to register, you will have to contact the school directly. The following minimum information is generally required for registration:

  • Your child’s birth certificate
  • Your Tabien Baan (House Registration Document)

You may be required to give more detailed information upon request, and you may also have to pay a capital fee/deposit. This is sometimes refundable at the end of your child’s education, if paid in full upfront. There is also a registration fee which may vary wildly; for example the Bangkok Patana School charges a £12,600 capital fee and £4,500 registration fee, and the Shrewsbury International School charges a £2,700 deposit and £3,150 registration fee.

Tuition fees for international schools in Thailand also vary but are generally high. Annual fees at the Bangkok Patana School range from £9700 for Year 1 to £13,251 for Y12, whereas at the Shrewsbury International School the same Years would cost £10,600 and £15,580 respectively.

Unlike state schools, International schools are free to set their own term dates, and many have adopted the traditional three-term pattern rather than the Thai two-term pattern. You will have to check with the school itself as to which pattern they use.

 

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