A small, city central international school with plenty of community spirit, KIS International offers all three IB programmes to families living within the Kesinee Ville community and beyond.
KIS is one of only a few schools in Thailand to offer the complete IB programme, but it’s the atmosphere at this medium-sized all-through school that is one of its great strengths. Founded in 1998, KIS is an IB World School offering the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP), and the Diploma Programme (IBDP). With just 680 students representing more than 50 countries, KIS is one Thailand’s smaller international schools. This brings with it all the benefits of a close-knit community, individual attention for each student, and small class sizes.
The school’s four-acre campus is located within the gated Kesinee Ville residential community in the Huai Khwang district, which is home to around 150 families. So, as well as enjoying all the perks of being in the heart of Bangkok, KIS has a neighbourhood feel that's lacking in many city centre schools. It’s also surprisingly green and leafy too.
KIS stands for 'Knowledge Inspiration Spirit'. This comes across in the school’s IBDP results, which are above the global average; in innovative programmes such as Design Cycle Challenge Week, which showcases students’ creativity; and in the frequent use of the word “friendly” by alumni and parents to describe the school. The school’s interactive prospectus also offers an enlightening insight into the ‘out of the box’ thinking of this school.
An IB school
KIS’ curriculum is based on the three IB frameworks: students aged 3 to 11 years follow the PYP, 11 to 16-year-olds move on to the MYP, and students aged 16 to 18 complete the IBDP. All three IB programmes, which are learner centred and inquiry based, cover languages, humanities, sciences, maths, the arts, physical health education, and technology. Lessons are taken by a team of international teachers, and teacher to student ratios are typically small, at around 1:7.
One of the benefits of attending a full IB school is the “coherent continuum of learning”. KIS appeals to expat students by saying that its IB programme appeals to,
“internationally-minded families who are looking for the best, consistent and high-quality education that is available, recognised and respected worldwide.”
This is certainly very true. Because KIS’ teaching is not specific to any one country, expat students can easily transfer to a school elsewhere – and this will appeal to transient families or those planning to return to their home country in the future.
A child’s learning journey at KIS starts in the early years centre, where “every classroom has areas for role play, water play, sand play, building, drawing, sculpting, reading and more”. Its early years programme focuses on play-based learning, and there’s a teacher to student ratio of 1:5.
As you’d expect in the PYP, teaching focuses on the six pillars of language, maths, social studies, science, the arts, and physical, social, and personal education. In Grade 5, the last year of the PYP, students complete a PYP exhibition, which focuses on a real-world issue such as stereotyping.
In the MYP, students study English language & literature, modern language (Spanish or Mandarin), maths, humanities, science, the arts, technology, and PE. In Grade 10 students complete a Personal Project, which can be anything from a research essay to an invention. They also take part in the Design Cycle Challenge Week, when they are tasked with designing airplanes, catapults, remote-control cars, or water rockets. The school says:
“In the annual Design Cycle Challenge, all regular classes shut down for three days and students focus on design and engineering challenges. Students work in inter-grade groups to build boats out of recycled materials, for example, and then race them across the swimming pool.”
Students in the IBDP study six subjects from maths, languages, the arts, science, and humanities, and complete a Theory of Knowledge Course, the Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) Programme, and write an Extended Essay. The IB programme has been adapted slightly to include compulsory Thai studies for both Thai and non-Thai speakers. It offers optional language courses in Swedish, Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Dutch, German, French, Hungarian, Indonesian, Hebrew, Korean, Tamil, and Hindi.
Sport and the arts
All students are involved in PE throughout their school life, and KIS embraces its internationalism by including “a variety of games and activities from around the world”. All students up to Grade 10 have two PE classes a week, and swimming is compulsory. As part of its well-rounded education, KIS also offers a coaching programme in competitive sports including athletics, badminton, basketball, football, golf, squash, swimming, table tennis, tennis, and volleyball. As well as fielding teams in local and regional competitions, the school encourages students to sign up to its after-school activities “just for fun”.
Visual arts, music, design, and performing arts are all taught as part of the curriculum, there’s an annual school production, and there's a wide choice of after-school activities and clubs fostering talent in drama, dance, art and crafts, design, and music. Once again, students are encouraged to develop their competitive streak at events such as Battle of the Bands.
Beyond the classroom
KIS runs a residential trips programme which takes students in Grades 3 and upwards on field trips to Pranburi, Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai, Khao Yai, and Phuket; Grade 10 and upwards go further afield, beyond Thailand. The school also encourages students to broaden their horizons with a programme of extra-curricular activities that ranges from sport and technology to the Model United Nations and journalism.
In the IBDP, the 2016 cohort celebrated an average score of 34, which is higher than the global average of 30. There was a 100% pass rate. The school has a strong track record of students studying at university after graduation, with most accepting a place in either the UK or the US. A significant number of KIS students have scholarships to universities worldwide.
A new head of school, Paul Johnson, joined the school for the 2019-2020 academic year. He replaced founding head Sally Holloway, who has led KIS since the beginning, 21 years ago. There are dedicated principals for each of the PYP, MYP, and IBDP programmes.
Read our interview with new head of school Paul Johnson here.
The majority of teachers are recruited from the US, the UK, or Canada, and all have IB experience. Here's a school where teachers choose to stay for the long haul – Holloway and the primary and secondary school principals have all been here for more than 10 years.
There are 680 students at KIS, 55% of which are international. One of the benefits of going to a smaller school is being part of a close-knit community. KIS says that it is a "community with families at the core", which is something to be treasured in an inner-city school. Here’s a school where the security guards know the students by name, there’s an active parents’ association with its own office on-campus, a packed calendar of community events, and a very active student council with its own website. The monthly school newsletter, KIS Spirit, keeps everyone up to date.
KIS also supports the community action component of the IB programmes by getting its students involved in various charity events and voluntary activities.
It’s also impossible to miss KIS with its distinctive red buildings and blue turrets. The campus is home to a primary school with early years centre (including a cosy library, music rooms, playgroup suite, and recording room), computer lab, drama room, multi-purpose room, gymnasium, and a large library.
The secondary school building features a library and media centre, study areas, IBDP lounge and study centre, language suites, art suite, design and IT labs, and science labs. Shared facilities include music suites, a dance studio, rooftop 25m swimming pool, wading pool, 600-seat auditorium, canteen, playgrounds, covered sports courts, and playing fields.
The campus is being updated with new facilities, including an IT design centre and 3D printing department, STEAM centre and exhibition space, basketball court, and swimming pool. A new arts and design building opened in August 2018, with a performing arts studio, visual arts studio, and design studio.
Admission and fees
Fees for the PYP are THB 549,000, the MYP is THB 651,400, and the IBDP is THB 669,400 – 699,700. The school offers a limited number of secondary school academic scholarships, which offer a reduction or waiver of the registration fee and a reduction of the tuition fees; there is also highly prized 1 Million Baht DP Scholarship.
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