The well-established St Andrews International School Bangkok has opened a new high school campus in central Bangkok. This Nord Anglia school offers a British curriculum leading to IGCSEs and the IBDP, a unique science, technology, engineering, visual arts and mathematics (STEAM) programme, mother tongue lessons in four languages, and an extensive programme for students with learning needs.
St Andrews International School Bangkok entered a new era in education when it opened its high school campus in August 2017. Part of the Nord Anglia family of schools, St Andrews has moved Years 7 to 13 to this new Srivikorn campus in central Bangkok; early years through to Year 6 remain at its Sukhumvit campus. The high school continues to blend the English National Curriculum with the International Baccalaureate programme by offering IGCSEs and the IBDP. However, it now also offers brand new specialist facilities for music and technology, a new science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) curriculum, and a dedicated learner centre for IB students.
St Andrews Srivikorn brings to Thailand all the features that come with the Nord Anglia name: a global campus programme, collaborations with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and The Juilliard School, and a British-style education. It also offers a mother tongue language programme in four different languages, and an extensive programme for students with learning needs.
Founded in 1997, St Andrews joined the Nord Anglia group in 2012. It now has two campuses less than a 20-minute drive away from each other: the Srivikorn high school campus for students aged 12 to 18, and the original Sukhumvit 71 primary campus for ages two to 11. (It’s not to be confused with St Andrews International School Sukhumvit 107, a Cognita school that is also in the neighbourhood.)
“There are other schools in Bangkok with a very similar name! We used to be part of a group of schools called St Andrews but then we wanted to move in a different direction; our vision for how to run a school didn’t match.”
This non-selective school has around 1,600 students, split fairly evenly across its two campuses. Here's a school that has a strong academic record, but also "focuses on each individual child’s learning potential" and every child's full potential "socially, emotionally and academically".
Head of high school Roo Stenning says:
“Yes, getting the best IGCSE or IB results is fantastic, but it’s also about being the best footballer, musician, friend and so on. Nord Anglia allows us to be a better St Andrews. Having those collaborations with Juilliard, MIT and the UN gives different students a chance to be successful in different ways.”
An international curriculum
St Andrews delivers a British-style curriculum with an international slant for 12 to 18 year olds at its new city centre campus.
The secondary school continues to follow the English National Curriculum, which includes core subjects (English, maths, science, history and geography) and specialist teaching in art, design technology, music, drama, PE, Thai, mother tongue languages (French, German, Japanese), modern languages (Japanese, 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.
Year 10 and 11 students work towards their IGCSE examinations, and Years 12 and 13 study the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP); over the course of the IB programme students study six subjects, complete an extended essay, follow a Theory of Knowledge course, and participate in the Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) programme.
The school says:
“Everything we do extends all the way into IGCSE and IB, including drama, sport exercise, health science, and first languages in German, Japanese, French and Korean."
St Andrews offers a global languages programme in all years. There is a mother tongue programme for native, fluent speakers of French, German, Japanese, and Korean, and this is based on the language curricula of each respective home country. Students attend four lessons every week, which are held by native speakers during the school day to “maintain a high standard of proficiency in the student’s native language”.
The school also has a modern foreign languages (MFL) programme; all students (both Thai and non-Thai) must study Thai, and are also given a choice of Mandarin, Spanish or French. This programme is well-suited to such an international school that has more than 40 different nationalities.
A well-rounded education
As well as being very focused on delivering academic results, St Andrews immerses its students in music, drama, the creative arts, sport and technology. The school has dance and drama studios, an auditorium, a box theatre, a suite of music rooms and recording facilities, as well as sports facilities including an outdoor swimming pool and gymnasium.
A distinguishing feature of St Andrews 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. Secondary students 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; students can learn to play the violin, cello, flute, clarinet, recorder and trumpet.
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 sport, the school offers a “fun, challenging and competitive” curriculum. There are weekly PE lessons for all students throughout high school including basketball, football, swimming, athletics, t-ball, fitness, badminton, volleyball and gymnastics – and students can choose to study PE at IGCSE and Sport Exercise and Health Science as part of the IBDP.
St Andrews 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. The school also encourages sports for all abilities, though.
“We don’t just give first and second place at our sports awards, but also development awards too. We have different divisions for our sports team, so it's not just about the one person who wins everything."
St Andrews welcomes children with special educational needs such as Asperger’s syndrome, dyspraxia, dyslexia, global learning delays and physical disabilities. Making up around 15% of the school’s total population, children with additional needs are fully integrated into classes and supported by the school’s team of learning assistants. The school also runs a dyslexia programme based on the Orton-Gillingham approach, and a daily homework club to help children who are struggling in any particular subject.
The average class size at St Andrews is 16, and the teacher to student ratio is low at 6:1.
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). St Andrews is following suit with its recently launched collaboration with MIT at the start of the 2017 academic year. The school has moved away from a traditional schooling approach that teaches STEAM subjects individually; it will now take an integrated approach that sees students working across, between, and beyond individual subjects.
The school says:
“We want the MIT challenges to be practical, whether that’s looking at the morality of driverless cars or hacking a tube in any creative way. We want students to look at short term solutions and long-term challenges, and it's been interesting to see how students come to their conclusions. Quite often they are exploring problems that we’ve never had to consider before.”
In line with MIT’s philosophy of ‘mind and hand’, St Andrews encourages hands-on learning, and sets 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.”
As part of the MIT collaboration, students will have the opportunity to visit MIT to “meet leading MIT scientists, build and experiment in workshops, and learn about the new discoveries that will shape their future”.
St Andrews is well equipped to deliver this STEAM curriculum; specialist facilities at the new campus include ICT rooms, design technology and art and design spaces, science labs and computer suites, and laptops and iPads available across the school.
A global campus
St Andrews describes its curriculum as “uniquely international”. This is a school that does go the extra mile to offer students a global education that results in more than just internationally recognised qualifications. It hosts “global competitions, expeditions and online interactions with students on the other side of the world” in a way that is unmatched by most other schools in the region.
Since becoming a Nord Anglia Education School in 2012 and joining its global network of 55 schools, St Andrews has been part of the group’s Global Campus. This virtual world links Nord Anglia’s 50,000 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; based on recent achievements such as winning the primary debating league and photography competition, St Andrews’ students are thriving on such challenges.
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 St Andrews 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.
Beyond the classroom
While there is plenty happening during the timetable, there is just as much going on at the end of the school day. St Andrews encourages all students to sign up to at least one of the 150 activities in its extra-curricular activities programme – and with a choice as diverse as world affairs, technology, sports, the arts, language and public speaking, students should find something to interest them. Specifically designed for senior students, the school offers clubs in Model United Nations, the Duke of Edinburgh International Award and the World Scholars Cup.
Students can also join one of several community service clubs and participate in activities such as building homes for Habitat for Humanity, teaching English and crafts in Thai schools, or painting and building schools and orphanages. The school offers a range of Creativity, Activity and Service-focused activities as part of the IBDP during Years 12 and 13.
There’s a strong community within the school, due in part to the very active Parent Teacher Group, which organises school-wide events such as International Day, the Christmas Fair and Community Sports Day (for parents and teachers). Parents can also sign up for various classes including Thai language, swimming and Zumba held on campus during the school day.
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 St Andrews, the results are equally impressive. More than 80% of IGCSE students achieved at least 5 A*-C grades, with 36% of grades at A* or A. In the IBDP, the average score was 34 points, ahead of the 30-point global average; five students achieved scores of 40 points or more.
International teaching staff
Teachers are primarily from the UK, the US and Australia, and the school is led by head teacher Paul Schofield who joined the school in 2003 after leaving his position as the founding head of Bangkok Patana School.
Read our interview with head of school Paul Schofield here.
The school talks about having a large team of teaching staff with a wide variety of specialisms, ranging from a trained physicist to a dance expert. "We have female teachers teaching subjects like chemistry and design technology – we need them as role models."
The student body is made up of around 800 students aged 12 to 18 year olds, and representing more than 60 nationalities.
As well as offering a variety of student leadership positions, there's also a very active house system, all named after hill tribes of northern Thailand – and all students (and staff) wear their house t-shirts every Friday.
St Andrews opened its new high campus at Srivikorn, next to the Ekkamai BTS station in the Bang Rak district of Bangkok, in August 2017. This new campus opened after the three-year renovation of a pre-existing school, and marks an exciting time for all St Andrews high school students.
Here’s a campus that has been specifically designed for the senior years in education, including the IBDP, and gives students the benefit of new specialist facilities. There are 11 new science labs and six design technology and art and design spaces that will be used for the new STEAM programme; as well as dance studios, drama studios, an auditorium, box theatre and music rooms for lessons and individual instrumental tuition. This new high school also includes a dedicated learner centre with large study areas for IB students.
There's a school clinic on campus, a canteen and cafe, security barriers at the entrance, and parking spaces at the front of the school.
Admission and fees
St Andrews is a non-selective school. While Nord Anglia has a global reputation for high fees, St Andrews is actually one of the more moderately-priced international schools in Thailand. For the academic year 2017-18, annual tuition fees are THB 536,000 for Year 7 and THB 619,000 for Year 12.
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