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Rugby School Thailand Review

Rugby School Thailand, which is the only sister school of Rugby School UK, is opening its pre-prep, prep and senior schools from 2017-18. With its offering of boarding options, an extended school day and top-notch campus facilities, this British curriculum school is making a very grand entrance in eastern Thailand…
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
radio_button_unchecked No data
Availability 2020/21
radio_button_unchecked No data
Annual fee average
THB 526,500
Price band help
Premium
Status
Open
Opening year
2017
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Nigel Westlake
Main teacher nationality
A mix of nationalities
Main student nationality
A mix of nationalities
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Rugby School Thailand
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
radio_button_unchecked No data
Availability 2020/21
radio_button_unchecked No data
Annual fee average
THB 526,500
Price band help
Premium
Status
Open
Opening year
2017
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Nigel Westlake
Main teacher nationality
A mix of nationalities
Main student nationality
A mix of nationalities
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First Published:
Thursday 28 September, 2017

Updated:
Sunday 28 April, 2019

Rugby School Thailand, which is the only sister school of Rugby School UK, is opening its pre-prep, prep and senior schools from 2017-18. With its offering of boarding options, an extended school day and top-notch campus facilities, this British curriculum school is making a very grand entrance in eastern Thailand…

The British curriculum day and boarding school model has proven to be hugely popular in Thailand – and the newest kid on the block is Rugby School Thailand. This is the first international export of the UK-based public school, which has a reputation for its well-rounded education and academic success.

Located on the outskirts of Pattaya in the Chonburi province and 90 minutes away from Bangkok, the school will open in phases from 2017-18. The pre-prep school, which starts at nursery age and continues through to Year 2 (age six), opened in September 2017. The prep school will open Years 3-6 in September 2018, and Years 7 and 8 in September 2018. The senior school, Years 9-13 will also open in September 2018. The school follows the UK academic calendar and runs from September to July.


An idea of what's to come at Rugby School Thailand

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.

Curriculum
Rugby School Thailand will eventually be 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. The prep school opened with the promise of offering an enhanced UK curriculum, but the website offers little more information than that at this stage. However, do we know this much. Rugby School Thailand says it will “draw from the best of the UK National Curriculum, and the best of the much-admired British private school approach”.

The prep and senior schools will 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, we’d expect Rugby School Thailand to have much more of an academic focus that 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 will share Rugby School UK’s DNA in every aspect of its education – and it plans to deliver the ultimate prep school experience. Students will 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 will be 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, and will begin in September 2018. 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 will play 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 will be encouraged to take pride in representing their house in sport, music and other competitions.

Results
While the school is a few years away from returning 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 says it will have “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 will also be a varied programme of extra-curricular activities.

The campus
The school’s campus is a 75-acre site set in the beautiful Thai countryside, in the eastern district of Chonburi. The school is still under development in part, but facilities do 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 520,000 for Year 1 and rise to THB 550,000 for Year 6. Entry scholarships for exceptional academic ability or exceptional talent in sport and music, are offered to prep school students.

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