This Nord Anglia all-through day and boarding school in the Eastern Seaboard offers a very international education that includes the British curriculum, IGCSEs and the IBDP. As well as focusing on academic excellence, Regents put a strong emphasis on global citizenship, leadership, music and languages.
Since opening in 1994, this all-through school has built up a reputation for being one of the best international schools in the Eastern Seaboard. Part of the Nord Anglia family of schools, Regents International School Pattaya blends the English National Curriculum with the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, and it offers both IGCSEs and the IBDP.
Here’s a school that has a unique global campus programme, offers a music programme in collaboration with The Juilliard School, has a strong academic record, and regularly invests in its facilities. With a population of 1,200 students representing 50 nationalities, Regents is very much an international school. Based in the Eastern Seaboard, which is Thailand's centre for export-oriented industries, it attracts many expat families as well as the local Thai community.
This non-selective, fully inclusive school has a nursery, primary school and secondary school, and offers boarding to students from Year 3 upwards. Teachers are principally from the UK, North America and Australia, and the school is led by head teacher Sarah Osborne-James, who joined the school in August 2017 from a Nord Anglia school in Cambodia.
An international curriculum
Regents delivers a British-style curriculum with an international slant to two through to 19 year olds at its rural campus. Between the age of two and five years, children in the nursery and reception classes follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
The primary school curriculum is based on the English National Curriculum, which includes English, maths, science, geography, history, art and design, music, PE, ICT, design technology, library skills, Thai language and culture. Students also have Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), a feature of the English National Curriculum that looks at issues such as bullying, healthy lifestyles, dealing with stress and emotions, alcohol and drugs, friendships and relationships, and global issues. PE lessons cover swimming, athletics, cross-country running, basketball, football, dance and gymnastics; drama lessons work towards an annual production in the school’s Globe Theatre.
From Year 3 onwards, non-Thai nationals have the choice of learning French, Spanish or Mandarin. In terms of homework, primary students are expected to read daily and complete weekly tasks in spelling and maths; the school runs a homework club every Tuesday afternoon.
The secondary school continues to follow the English National Curriculum, which includes core subjects and specialist teaching in art, music, drama, PE, Thai, modern languages (Spanish, Mandarin, French or Thai), PHSE and computing. Students are placed in ability sets for English, maths, science and literacy at this stage in their education, and they have two enrichment lessons every week, which focus on topics outside the formal syllabus. By Year 7, students are expected to complete 45 minutes’ homework per subject per week.
Year 10 and 11 students then work towards their IGCSE examinations, and Years 12 and 13 will study the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). IB students (the intake is roughly 100 at the moment) are made to feel part of a US-style sixth form college, and they have the exclusive use of a modern study zone, seminar and conference rooms, and a common room at Regents’ IB Centre. It’s great to see such a large school make the effort to differentiate its most senior students, and not just with a no-uniform policy.
With such a high population of Thai nationals, the school needs to focus on English for beginners – and it does. As well as offering specialist lessons in small groups and after-school lessons for boarders, the school also offers the Regents International Study and English (RISE) programme for students looking to improve their English language skills before studying the IBDP.
Parents are kept well-informed of their child’s learning path. Monthly parent partnership workshops discuss learning programmes, and there are weekly school bulletins and class blogs.
A well-rounded education
Academia aside, there's a strong focus on music, drama, the creative arts, sport and technology. The school has newly-refurbished ICT rooms in both the primary and secondary schools, as well as a music technology suite. Its two art studios have all the facilities needed to experiment with drawing, charcoal, painting, plein air painting, marbling and ink painting techniques, 3D sculptures, spray painting, and lino printing. And, when it comes to drama, students take part in regular performances in the school’s well-equipped theatre.
A distinguishing feature of Regents is its Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme. Developed in partnership with the performing arts academy based in New York, this arts curriculum puts students in front of Juilliard’s performers and teaching artists at various workshops, masterclasses and performances. You really get a feel for the love of music at this school. It all starts from nursery when students develop keyboard and instrumental skills in Regents’ well-equipped music rooms. Secondary students go on to learn all about folk music, jazz improvisation, Indian music, film scores and rock ‘n’ roll, to name but a few.
The school’s music curriculum is based on a repertoire curated by Juilliard that is built around 12 categories of music, ranging from Bach and Mozart to Gershwin and John Williams. There are also opportunities to join the school orchestra, choirs, tuned percussion ensemble and rock bands.
The school’s website says,
“Through our music curriculum designed by The Juilliard School, every student can enjoy being an engaged listener, composer, interpreter and communicator. In addition, your child will be developing valuable skills that will pay dividends in all aspects of learning and prepare them for success in future life.”
In terms of sportiness, the school has some outstanding sports facilities that are used for weekly PE lessons for all students from Year 1 through to secondary. There’s an impressive range of sport on the curriculum – including basketball, football, swimming, athletics, t-ball, rugby, cricket, dodgeball, horse riding, dance, skateboarding, tennis, mountain biking, sailing, gymnastics, golf and scuba diving – and students can choose to study PE at IGCSE and Sport Exercise and Health Science as part of the IBDP. Regents fields teams in tournaments such as the Federation of British International Schools in Asia (FOBISIA) Games, and hosts less competitive events such as swim galas, house activities and the annual sports day.
Full STEAM ahead
Nord Anglia schools have built up a reputation for their innovative teaching of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM), thanks in large to a collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Regents plans to follow suit and collaborate with MIT. By the start of the 2018 academic year, the school could be moving away from a traditional schooling approach that teaches STEAM subjects individually; instead it will take an integrated approach that sees students working across, between, and beyond individual subjects.
In line with MIT’s philosophy of ‘mind and hand’, Regents is likely to encourage hands-on learning, and set students real-world challenges every term. You can expect to find students building robots, studying bioengineering and water quality in Hong Kong, looking at climate change, and much more.
The school’s website says,
“These challenges will be interdisciplinary, critical-thinking activities that will present students with the challenge of a modern day, real-world issue that has yet to be solved. Each will require significant levels of collaboration, experimentation and a designed solution through trial and error. Creating practical challenges for students means that they can develop their knowledge and skills through hands-on exercises.”
A global campus
International schools are no longer founded to simply fill the gap for expat education. They are expected to offer students in any given country a global education that offers more than just internationally recognised qualifications. Regents does go the extra mile to try and achieve this.
Since becoming a Nord Anglia Education School in 2012 and joining its global network of 44 schools, Regents has been part of the group’s Global Campus. This virtual world links Nord Anglia’s 38,000 students and gives them access to online courses, global challenges and experiences that are run across the family of schools. Previous challenges have included a collaboration with UNICEF to 'Make Hong Kong Well Again' and a partnership with the Cambridge Science Festival to create a chain reaction machine.
By logging on to the Global Campus website, students can enter creative writing competitions, take part in photography challenges and virtual choirs, and sign up to Global Campus expeditions. Through Global Campus Worldwide, all Nord Anglia schools offer a variety of summer programmes ranging from specialist camps for the performing arts or leadership to sports and language camps. They also encourage students to showcase their talent in Nord Anglia regional and global competitions such as sports tournaments, orchestra performances and science festivals.
The school’s website says,
“Our Global Campus extends your child's learning beyond the classroom and the school day. Your child can participate in a wide variety of activities designed by educational experts and teachers to broaden their knowledge and nurture transferable skills valuable in school, university and the workplace.”
For anyone looking for that ‘small school feeling’, then Regents may not for you. However, it will appeal to students who want to be part of something bigger than the school in Thailand, who want to feel part of a ‘global community’, and who thrive on competition and collaboration.
Regents is fully committed to ‘raising’ global citizens from an early age. Its own unique Global Citizenship programme runs across the curriculum, from early years through to graduation. Students are given a window on the world through partnerships with community groups; service-related experiences in Thailand and further afield; and an international student exchange programme. The school also hosts an annual Global Citizenship Award, which challenges students aged between seven and 18 to explore cultural awareness, public speaking, personal challenge and adventure, leadership, self-confidence and more.
Beyond the classroom
Regents is part of the global network of 180 Round Square schools, which embrace a set of IDEALS – internationalism, democracy, environmental awareness, adventure, leadership and service to the community – as part of their approach to learning. It’s the driving force behind events such as the Round Square Week of activities, student exchange trips, and regional and international service projects – all of which involve students from early years up to Year 13. By attending a Round Square school, you could say that students have extra opportunities to experience other cultures; for example, Regents started its 2017 academic year by welcoming two exchange students from a Round Square school in Australia to its classrooms.
Every year group has a community partner, that ranges from wildlife foundations to welfare groups; it’s an initiative that sees students working for others, whether contributing to a conservation project with the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai or helping to build a community centre on Koh Phi Phi.
Any school promising to offer a broad education needs to offer a programme of extra-curricular activities. Once again, Regents ticks the box with its offering of clubs covering sport, the arts (from music and choir to drawing, drama and debating, community service, crafts and academia (language skills, science, Mandarin etc).
The school website says that,
“At Regents we understand the importance of learning and having fun outside of the classroom.”
It’s a claim that’s fulfilled through various local and international excursions, residential trips and adventure camps that range from a three-day residential trip to study the rainforest of Khao Yai National Park to a four-night trip to Chiang Mai to meet the people of the hill tribes.
The school also says that it wants to, “motivate and support students to achieve their goals”. It takes steps to prepare students by hosting internal competitions including writing competitions, poetry recitals, art exhibitions, public speaking and house events. Leadership opportunities include head boy and girl and prefects for Year 12 students, and students are given a sense of belonging by being assigned to one of four houses, which take part in various competitions ranging from Battle of the Bands to football.
The Nord Anglia group is renowned for its academic excellence. Students regularly achieve excellent results at IGCSE level and in the IBDP. Around one in five Nord Anglia students gets a place at the world’s top 30 universities; there is a history of students receiving full marks in their IBDP; and around 15% of all Nord Anglia Education students who sit the IBDP have historically achieved a score of around 40 or above, more than double the global average.
At Regents, the average IBDP score in 2017 was 33, which compares well to the global average of 30. In the 2018 IGCSE results, 44% of Regents’ students achieved A*-A grades, and 85% passed with A*-C grades. The school also has a strong track record of students heading off to university, predominantly in the UK, Europe and Asia.
Regents is Nord Anglia’s flagship boarding school in Asia. It offers flexible boarding options from Year 3 upwards, which are ideal for students who want to stay in frequent contact with their families, or are trying boarding for the first time. Parents can choose from weekend taster sessions, part time and full-time boarding, study boarding for IGCSE and IBDP students as they approach their exams, and occasional boarding.
‘Buddy’ teachers support boarders with their homework, both after school and on Saturdays; students also have round the clock support from house parents. For some down time, boarders can sign up for after-school sporting and artistic activities on the Regents campus, as well as weekend excursions.
Regents’ boarding houses were refurbished in 2014 and include single sex bedrooms (single rooms for seniors) for up to 160 students, as well as a fitness and weights room, snooker room, table tennis room, and TV lounges and kitchens.
Located 10km outside of Pattaya, this green, spacious campus is free from big city distractions such as air pollution, noisy traffic, and skyscrapers. The school even describes its rural campus as having an “Eton-esque beauty”.
As well as making a great first impression with its attractive campus, the school also impresses with its learning facilities. Teaching is spread across four main buildings, each dedicated to a different section of school: early years; the primary school; the secondary school; and the newly-refurbished IB Centre. There’s a Globe Theatre that seats 300, two drama studios, two dance studios, and two art studios for creative classes. Sports facilities include a 400m running track, sports hall, an Astroturf sports pitch, two outdoor swimming pools and a full-sized football pitch. Food is freshly prepared on site, and there’s a canteen and cafe for students, teachers and parents.
Regents likes to boast about its investment in facilities – THB 300 million in three years apparently. For parents paying school fees of up to THB 643,150, it’s reassuring to see recent renovations including The Hive science lab for primary students, an early years swimming pool, a primary school discovery zone, and an early years’ outdoor musical instrument zone. During the 2017-18 academic year, we can look forward to renovated music departments, science labs and a refurbished secondary school building.
Admission and fees
Regents is a non-selective school. While Nord Anglia has a global reputation for high fees, Regents is actually one of the more moderately-priced international schools in Thailand. For the academic year 2017-18, annual tuition fees are THB 477,850 for Year 1 and THB 643,150 for Years 7 through to 13. Full boarding fees inclusive of meals are THB 362,900.
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