Thomas Banyard Founding Head King’s College International School Bangkok

As parents, we want to give our children everything we can to help prepare them for the future; yet the next few decades are incredibly difficult to predict. The increase in technology such as artificial intelligence is disrupting the job market, pandemics like Covid-19 highlight the need for adaptability, and climate change may force us into new, more sustainable ways of working. If we do not know what we are preparing our children for, how can we help them to be happy and successful in their lives?

There are two ways of looking at this problem: through knowledge and through skills. If you think knowledge is the answer, you may focus on giving them Mandarin lessons or signing them up for a computing club to introduce them to coding and robotics. If you feel that skills are more important, you will focus on the competencies needed to be successful in a changing world. UNICEF describe these as ‘transferable skills,’ which involves the ability to think, socialise and empathise. Of course, this does not have to be a dichotomy! At King’s Bangkok, we help our students develop the tools needed for future success by providing a well-rounded and world-class education. 

How do we give our students the knowledge to succeed?

We are lucky to have an incredibly strong relationship with King’s College School, Wimbledon, which is one of the world’s most academically successful schools. We take their curriculum and adapt it to the needs of our students. This means that we can help our children learn Mandarin and computing, as well as encourage them to think in an interdisciplinary way. Hence, we offer a diverse range of co-curricular activities that allow students to pursue their interests with expert guidance and support. It also means that we have a network of schools to learn from in the UK, China, France, and beyond, and can keep abreast of an ever-changing educational landscape.

How do we give our students the skills they will need?

In the words of Andrew Halls, Head Master of King’s Wimbledon, “a school is much more than double maths on a Monday afternoon.” King’s Bangkok is successful because we provide a wide range of lessons and activities that engage, inspire and extend our students; it allows every girl and boy to find something that they are passionate about and celebrates all students. We can do this because we are able to recruit outstanding teachers. King’s Wimbledon interviews every teacher to ensure that both schools have the same teaching standards. 

We all want our children to have the best chances in life and I think it is clear that the best way to do this is by giving them a well-rounded education at a world-class school. If you wish to find out more about our school, please come and visit our campus in Rama 3 by going to our website and requesting a tour. 02 481 9955 | [email protected] 

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King’s College International School Bangkok

We believe that there are three things that every parent should ask a school when they visit it:

  • What subjects do you study, i.e. what is your curriculum?
  • How will your teachers teach, i.e. what is your educational philosophy?
  • How have you recruited your teachers to do this, i.e. what are your teachers like?

These three questions are essential to understand the school you are choosing. At King’s College International School Bangkok, we have a clear mission to certainly be one of the best schools in Asia, and indeed the world. To do this we focus on pastoral care (how we look after the physical and emotional wellbeing of our community), co-curricular activities and a strong academic curriculum. These three strands knit together to prepare students for the best universities in the world and success in their working lives. We are also very lucky to have the full support of King’s College School, in Wimbledon, England with everything we do. However, to fully understand how this partnership works to help us produce outstanding young men and women we need to answer the three questions above:

What subjects do you study – i.e. what is your curriculum?

King’s Wimbledon has been successful for around 200 years. Around 25% of their students attend Oxford or Cambridge each year. Alongside this, students go on to be successful entrepreneurs, actors, writers, artists and so many other things. We are proud that the curriculum allows our children to follow their interests and find the right careers. Partly this is due to a rich and varied curriculum that involves sports, creative and performing arts, languages and a solid base of core subjects: maths, English, science and humanities. 

©Gary Morrisroe

We have worked hand-in-hand with King’s Wimbledon to adapt this curriculum to Bangkok. We have lengthened the school day to allow us to include Thai studies, Mandarin and connected learning (a subject where children can complete projects on their personal areas of interest) without taking away from other subjects. We now believe we have the curriculum to inspire, engage and extend our students in many different ways throughout the school day.

How will your teachers teach – i.e. what is your educational philosophy?

Some schools focus on transmission of information and rote learning to pass exams; we do not. We believe that the world is evolving, but that successful adults will always need interpersonal skills, the ability to solve problems, creativity and the confidence to try new things. We also believe that success goes beyond a bank balance or the next promotion; our children will be kind, well mannered and will have the wisdom to make the right decisions for their communities. To do this we teach in a student-centred way with lots of student tasks completed individually or in groups. The students are encouraged to be independent and to solve problems without resorting to asking adults. This means that students make mistakes and learn from them, it means that everyone produces different work and that tasks are differentiated so that all students can feel proud of whatever they achieve. How we teach is just as essential as what we teach. 

How have you recruited your teachers to do this – i.e. what are your teachers like?

Teachers are the key to any school’s success. Helen Searle, the Head of Pre-prep, and myself read every one of the 1,500+ applications we received and we looked for teachers that could deliver the lessons in the way described above. We also looked for good role models of our values as this is the only way to teach children to be kind and well-mannered. After this, senior leaders from King’s Wimbledon interviewed every one of our class teachers to ensure that they truly understood ‘The King’s Way’ of educating students. 

We are proud to say that we have finished our recruitment for this year unless we have to open new classes. We have some amazing teachers and we are pleased to confirm that James McAuslan and Simon Connolly will be joining directly from King’s Wimbledon to help us recreate the King’s ethos and to exemplify the strong links between Wimbledon and ourselves. 

All of our teachers were asked about how they would contribute to the co-curricular programme and every one of our teachers will lead an extra-curricular activity for the students during the week. They were also asked about how they would manage the students’ behaviour positively and how they would help to promote student happiness within our community. This commitment to educating the whole child in order to raise caring adults is central to King’s Bangkok and the reason why both my daughters will join us when we open in August. 

It is usual to try and summarise the article in the final paragraph with a single message. However, if I were to focus on the curriculum, our teachers, the pastoral care or the co-curricular programme it would miss the point. For us, all of these aspects are equally important! If they are to your family, and you like the answers we have to the three questions above please visit our admissions office. We continue to welcome applications for pre-nursery to year 6 and are so excited about welcoming our families in August. We are also holding open a ‘Meet the Heads’ event in June so please keep an eye on our website for more details in the next few months.

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