Choosing an international school in Bangkok is quite a daunting task. There are many different curriculums such as British, American and the International Baccalaureate. There are also different price levels, and not everyone’s definition of an affordable school in Bangkok is the same! Last, but certainly not least, the location of Bangkok international schools can be a big deciding factor as the traffic in Bangkok can be horrendous. In this article, we will attempt to break down how to choose a Bangkok school in simple terms. 1.) Curriculum If you look around the web for “British School Bangkok,” you might come up with way too many choices and feel overwhelmed. Choosing the right curriculum for your child depends on a lot of factors. Many parents want a similar education to what they were brought up with. Other parents want continuity in their children’s studies, while others might be focused on where they plan to have their children study at university once they are finished with their studies in Thailand. Always keep in mind, however, that what you had growing up is not always what your children will need in the 21st century. This is one area where I try to get parents to be a bit more flexible and open-minded when searching for an international school outside of their home country.
2.) Cost of Bangkok International Schools This is something that most people cannot be flexible with. Whether you’re looking for schools that are less than 300,000 Thai Baht per year or you can afford the schools that end up being over 1,000,000 Thai Baht, budget should always be part of your specifications. It’s not a perfect rule by any means, but schools that charge more for tuition generally pay their teachers more. Teachers that get paid more are, generally speaking, better teachers. Schools can spend well over 70% of their entire budget on salaries, and the best schools look to hire the best teachers. Do yourself a favor and visit the school, talk with the teachers, and get a feel for the culture within the school. Find out how the school hires their teachers, what the turnover rate is like, etc. The facilities are also a big part of the experience for your children, and that is where your tuition money goes as well. Is their IT department up to date? Do they have good sports facilities? What does their arts program have to offer? A school with up to date and well-maintained facilities creates a nice environment for your kids.
3.) Locations of International Schools in Bangkok This is usually what I ask parents to look into first. If your work is on one side of the city near Sathorn Road, your house is to the north of the city up Ratchada Road, and your school is located in the east of the city near Bangna, you are going to spend way too much time traveling. Worst of all, your kids will get less sleep and will end up wasting at least a couple of hours a day in the car or school bus. There are good schools in most parts of the city, especially near the BTS Skytrain and the MRT underground. I highly recommend looking at where you plan to live and work, and then choosing a school that is relatively close to that area. If you are one of the lucky few who can choose the school first and then choose a place to live, this won’t be as much of a concern for you. Look at the traffic patterns and test out the commute during actual school hours if you can. Going 3 kilometers in Bangkok could take 2 minutes or over an hour depending on the location and time of day. And again, test it out for yourself. Don’t rely on the words of a relocation expert or real estate agent as you might not always be getting 100% reliable information. As I have suggested a few times here, take the time to visit the schools. Talk to teachers, staff, and parents. Really get to know the school by being there and understanding the community. When you request more info about the schools through Child Apply, see which schools get back to you first, what kind of information they send to you, etc. This is quite an important decision to make, so take all of the pieces to the puzzle, and choose what feels right for you and your family.