With its offering of boarding options, an extended school day and top-notch campus facilities, this British curriculum school is the only sister school of Rugby School UK.
Located on the outskirts of Pattaya in the Chonburi province and 90 minutes away from Bangkok, the school has opened in phases since 2017. The pre-prep school, which starts at nursery age and continues through to Year 2 (age six), opened in September 2017, and Years 3-13 opened in September 2018. The school follows the UK academic calendar and runs from September to July.
The school makes a great first impression. There aren’t many – if any – schools in Thailand that can boast a sprawling 74-acre green campus that’s home to a boating lake, golf course and numerous playing fields. But, scratch beyond the surface of this very lavish campus, and what do you find? According to the founding head teacher Nigel Westlake, who has 15 years’ experience as head of two UK prep/pre-prep schools,
“Rugby School Thailand offers an educational experience that is very different and very distinctive.”
How? Well, the school’s boarding facilities, UK curriculum, and IGCSE and A Level programmes are matched by schools across the country. However, it's Rugby School Thailand’s extended school day, pastoral care, and house system that are the school’s most distinguishing features.
Rugby School Thailand is an all-through school that takes children from as young as nursery age; in comparison, its UK school only admits students from Year 9 through to Year 13. There’s nothing to compare the early years and primary education to, as this is new territory for Rugby School. However, do we know this much. Rugby School Thailand says it “draws from the best of the UK National Curriculum, and the best of the much-admired British private school approach”.
The prep and senior schools offer IGCSEs and A Levels. While the Thailand website does not go into great detail about the curriculum in these years, we would expect it to be a carbon copy of its UK “mother school”. In that case, we can expect the school to offer the core subjects, creative arts and design, a wide range of modern languages, music, PE, ICT and PSHE (Personal, social and health education).
As a selective school, Rugby School Thailand has much more of an academic focus than non-selective schools. In its own words, “High expectations will be set and a love of learning developed.” It also says that, “the end result of a Rugby School education is so much more than exam results”, and there is plenty of talk about success in sports, creative arts and music.
There’s no agreement that Rugby School UK will take students from its Thailand school, but it would be fair for parents to assume that the school will educate their child to be on a par with UK students – and to meet the admission requirements of Rugby School UK and other leading public schools in the UK.
British prep school experience
Rugby School Thailand shares Rugby School UK’s DNA in every aspect of its education – and delivers the ultimate prep school experience. Students benefit from having specialist subject teachers from an early age, and joining small class sizes of 1:18. In terms of academia, students are grouped according to academic ability and potential for core subject lessons. And, on the recreational and creative side, the school offers a wide choice of sports clubs and extra-curricular activities.
As you’d expect at a UK prep school, the school day is longer than most. Rugby School Thailand is the first in Thailand to offer an extended day that runs from 8.15am (8.30am in reception through to Year 2) until 5pm (3.15pm in reception through to Year 2). To some parents, a nearly nine-hour school day is just too much. However, others may appreciate the extra time devoted to study, competitive sport, music, art and drama, and extra-curricular activities. The prep school day includes a team sports session and a supervised homework (or prep) session; students also take part in daily activities, which are optional in Year 3 and 4 and compulsory from Year 5 onwards.
The school highlights the benefits by saying,
“It allows for children to do their homework at school, supervised by our staff. This means that help can be given immediately as needed, and also that, once the school day is done, it is friends’ time and family time!”
Boarding options are available from Year 3-13. Parents can choose between day boarding for up to three nights per week; weekly boarding from Monday to Friday; and full boarding for the entire term. Boarding facilities include separate houses for prep and senior students.
Whether students are boarders or not, the school focuses strongly on pastoral care. There’s family-style dining at all meal times, the teaching of traditional values, and plenty of physical exercise. The house system plays a key role in helping students feel part of the school community; as well as having the support of House Parents and House Tutors, students are encouraged to take pride in representing their house in sport, music and other competitions.
While the school has yet to return any results, we can look at its ‘mother’ UK school for a hint of what’s to come. The good news is that expectations are high. In 2017, 60% of A Level students at Rugby School UK were graded A* to A and there was 100% pass rate. In its GCSE results, 78% of students received an A* to A, and there was 98% pass rate.
Beyond the classroom
Rugby School Thailand builds on the UK school’s reputation for sport by giving all kinds of physical activity, “a major role in school life for every child”. As well as having some truly enviable sporting facilities, the school has “top quality sports coaches”.
The school encourages creative talent with its promise of music lessons, annual programme of concerts, bands and ensembles, choirs, and dance and drama workshops. There is also a varied programme of extra-curricular activities.
The school’s campus is a 75-acre site set in the beautiful Thai countryside, in the eastern district of Chonburi. Facilities include dedicated classrooms for pre-prep and prep, prep and senior boarding houses, dining rooms, an auditorium, and a learning centre and library. Sporting facilities include swimming pools, sports hall, at least seven playing fields, tennis courts, and a 400m running track. There’s also a boating lake with boathouse and a golf course.
Admission and fees
Rugby School Thailand is a selective school and its admission process focuses on academic ability and potential, talent and potential in sport, music, drama and art, and personal character. The school aims to admit 40% Thai children and 60% from other nationalities in its bid to become “a truly global school”.
Fees start at THB 573,000 for Year 1 and rise to THB 788,000 for Year 13. Entry scholarships for exceptional academic ability or exceptional talent in sport and music, are offered to prep school students.
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