Many expats with children in Bangkok find choosing a good school for their children to be a strenuous task. Private international schools are expensive and individual schools have individual policies. Below is a list of things to consider when choosing a school in Bangkok:
Location is always important in Bangkok, even more so when considering where to enroll your child. Safety is not so much a concern as time spent in traffic on the way to and from school, that is, unless you also hire a nanny to help. Generally though, it’s best to find a school where the commute from your home is not to long for your child’s sake. No one likes being stuck in traffic for hours, particularly not impatient children!
School facilities are important, particularly considering the nature of Bangkok being a huge, concrete metropolis with few green areas. Does the school offer after-school activities and sports facilities? Does it have a good library?
Bi-Lingual School or International School
Perhaps the most important choice to make when choosing a school is whether to send your child to an international school or a bi-lingual school. The difference is often significant in several ways.
An international school is a full-fledged international learning environment, usually following British, American or French teaching standards and curriculum and the teaching is done in English (or the home curriculum’s language) only. The students are usually majority foreigners with some international Thais. Speaking Thai in school is usually not encouraged or even allowed. International schools are generally regarded as having the highest academic level and the best facilities. That comes at a price, though, and international schools can be very expensive, as much as 500,000 THB a year.
Bi-lingual schools are usually private schools or some public schools which offer English language programmes. Students are usually a mix of foreigners, but majority Thais.
Curriculum and Academic Aim
Different schools have different curriculums and academic aims. Teaching standards and methods also differ greatly. Some schools may encourage free discussion and independent thought more than others and some schools may focus more on learning fundamentals.
Staff and Administration
You can only learn so much from websites and recommendations. It’s recommended to visit several different schools to get a feel for the school and its staff. Try also to get to talk to some of the students there and ask how they like it. If looking at a private Thai school or bilingual school, try talking to some of the Thai students to judge their English ability.