Meet the Principal Sarah Osborne-James, Regent’s International School Pattaya

by Expat Life
Principal Sarah Osbourne-James
Sarah Osborne-James

I grew up in Birmingham, England and was the first person in my family to go to university. My role model was my best friend’s Dad, who believed in me and taught me that anything was possible and this is a philosophy I have carried with me throughout my life. I was drawn to teaching as I found school a challenge. It was my teachers who shaped my future and I wanted to do the same. I was always fascinated as to why some people excelled at school and others didn’t. I couldn’t understand why children were given labels from an early age and I wanted to challenge these stereotypes. I started on my leadership journey as a Head of Primary, progressed to Head of Middle School, Assistant Head of School and became a School Principal when I was 38. This is my third Headship, prior to Regents Pattaya I worked in another Nord Anglia School; Northbridge International School Cambodia as School Principal.

My educational beliefs are centred on these four words: Empowerment. Passion. Integrity. Intelligence.

If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you directly to your purpose.

I have always had an overwhelming desire to have a positive impact in the world and I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. A particular adult believed in me as a child and it is because of him that I am the person I am today. He believed in me, encouraged me and gave me the strength to pursue my dreams. He never gave up on me. I feel the overwhelming need to be that person for both my students and my teachers. I strongly believe in empowerment and enjoy coaching people and helping people grow.

I am a naturally positive person and feel very lucky to have found my passion in life. It is my desire to guarantee a safe learning environment in which anyone and everyone can find his or her passion, flourish and fulfil his or her full potential. This desire is also translated to adults within the school learning community and the need to empower teachers to take calculated risks with cutting edge innovative teaching and learning methodologies. I believe it is my obligation to inspire teachers; make sure that teachers do not lose their passion and make sure that learning is fun and meaningful for both students and teachers.

Integrity is a non-negotiable for me; dispositions of honesty, truth and honour are fundamental and essential if we really want to see a change in the world. I believe that we all need to experience some kind of failure in order to experience success. Our world is very competitive, I believe students need to learn how to win and lose gracefully. Any failure in life has to be viewed as an opportunity for reflection and will lead to personal determination and purpose. From an early age, I identified different kinds of intelligences and grew up in a culturally diverse city.  Academic success at school was a challenge for me, I found school difficult. Looking back, I can see that my success was a result of failure, combined with continuous opportunities and feedback.

Students need to have interpersonal awareness, have empathy, commitment and self-esteem. I believe in providing opportunities for children, teachers and parents to facilitate aggression into assertiveness, demanding into ambitious, impulsive into persuasive and aim for my students to be good people, humble, balanced and stable. I know that emotional quotient (EQ) or emotional intelligence (EI) combined is the key to success.

For me the benefits of an international education are clear. Our students not only have a great academic education, they also develop the characteristics and attributes of emotional intelligence that will help them to be happy and successful in the future. They are given many opportunities to develop their leadership skills, often on a global scale since we are a Nord Anglia school. In our multi-cultural community, the old stereotypes are destroyed. Learning new languages and discovering different cultures truly prepares our children for life in an ever changing and challenging world.

Regents is a truly international school with over 50 different nationalities in our community. We are based on the British Curriculum but this is modified to suit an international school. Our senior students (aged 16-18) study the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. We have successfully delivered this for the past 16 years with our students attaining above the world average to give them access to leading universities around the world. What sets the DP apart from other qualifications is that it provides students with so many of the additional skills that the top universities are looking for. It helps them to develop stronger interpersonal skills, broaden their experience, become critical thinkers and become far more aware of the world around them and the positive impact they can make. That means for university or job interviews in the future IBDP students have far more experiences that they can actively demonstrate than their counterparts from other programmes.

We gain many strengths from being part of the NAE family of schools including the collaborations that we have established with The Juilliard School in New York for our Performing Arts curriculum and MIT for our STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) programme.

The Performing Arts are creative keys that can unlock our students’ imagination and significantly transform their education. They contribute to the development of the skills our students will need in the future both in terms of employment and their personal success and happiness. Research clearly links the study of the Performing Arts to improvements in creativity and innovation, self-confidence and presentation skills, self-expression, empathy and compassion, cultural awareness and appreciation, physical and personal development and higher academic achievement. For these reasons Dance, Drama and Music are all included in our mainstream curriculum.

Principal Sarah Osbourne-James

To succeed in the future our children must learn how to think, not what to think. Our collaboration with MIT is designed to prepare students for our rapidly evolving world, equipping them with the skills and techniques to thrive. Through hands-on, interdisciplinary learning of STEAM subjects, our students develop the transferable skills needed to invent the future they will ultimately inherit.

Regents is also a Round Square school and we are passionate about developing the Round Square IDEALS in our students. To be a Round Square school we must demonstrate how the six IDEALS (internationalism, democracy, environmental awareness, adventure, leadership and service to the community) are offered to our students through different areas of educational practice. As the only Round Square and Nord Anglia School in the area, we are privileged to have an extensive outdoor education programme with both national and international expeditions for our children. We are extremely proud of the life changing opportunities these provide. They challenge our students to take learning outside of the classroom, open their eyes to world issues and give them the hands-on opportunities to make a difference and positive contribution to our world.

As a boarding and day school we have a caring and supportive community, away from the pollution of the big cities, with fantastic facilities, friends to be made and times to enjoy. The outstanding range of learning opportunities and new environments to discover in Thailand and in SE Asia make the boarding experience here so much richer and better value-for-money when compared with boarding schools in the UK, Western Europe or North America. Our boarders are encouraged to work hard and to play hard – whilst they will be encouraged towards independence they will also know that they have our staff’s full support as they grow.

Boarding is available for students from Year 3 and the options are very flexible with occasional boarding, part-time boarding and full-time boarding. There is an extensive range of activities arranged for our boarders, at weekends and evenings, giving them the opportunity for new experiences and building life-long friendships. Academic support is also provided each day with supervised study sessions part of the daily routine, one of the biggest advantages of boarding for your child.

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