by the International Schools Association of Thailand
Choosing a school is an important decision all families face at some time or other. Whatever the reason may be, making the choice can be quite daunting.
Parents who know and understand their child’s character and learning style will naturally make an informed choice based on the needs of their child, taking into account the compatibility of the overall school environment with their child’s personality and learning styles.
Below are some factors to consider when choosing prospective international schools in Thailand.
In terms of academic success, parents need to consider how their child learns best and assess which curriculum supports that type of learning. A good understanding of your child’s strengths and abilities makes finding the best curriculum to foster these skills easier. The majority of international schools will fall into four main curricula categories:
● American curriculum
● British curriculum
● International Baccalaureate curriculum
● Other national curricula (French, German, Japanese, Canadian, Australian, etc.)
A decision on curriculum must also take into consideration the system you may return to following an overseas posting.
Another aspect to consider is the opportunity students have to take their learning out of the classroom. Study trips, extra-curricular activities, and opportunities for community work not only provide students with a way to explore their interests, but also allow them to apply skills and concepts from class in real-life settings.
Accreditation, or credential evaluation, ensures a basic level of quality in the education students receive from a school and parents should spend time researching the reputation of the accreditation institutions for their schools of choice.
Parents may want to check if the school employs only qualified and trained teachers and whether or not the teachers are native or near native in the language that they teach in.
Most families try to find the right balance of travelling time for each member of the family.
School and class size
The size of the school, as well as the class size may also be factors contributing to your child’s wellbeing at school. Some children prefer bigger schools; others feel more comfortable in a smaller environment. If the school is smaller does it offer adequate facilities? If the school is bigger, how does it ensure children receive the individual care they require?
The factors listed are only some of those that can be taken into account when choosing an international school. Other considerations could include university and careers counselling, learning support, English as an Additional Language, Gifted and Talented, Home Languages, competitive sports… these will depend on your child’s individual requirements and preferences.
Once all factors have been weighed, parents usually make a short-list of schools and visit each of them. You can usually get a good “feel” for a school during a visit, and after considering all factors and making a final choice, your child will be well on the way to a fantastic international education.