St Andrews International School (Dusit) combines all the familiarity and community feel of a small British primary school with the internationalism of the community in central Bangkok. This inclusive school, which is a feeder for St Andrews Sukhumvit 107, follows an enhanced UK curriculum with a global languages programme, and is very focused on personalised learning.
In a country where parents are inundated with a choice of large, international all-through schools, it’s quite refreshing to find a small primary school. St Andrews International School Dusit is a standalone British primary school for children aged 2 to 11 years. Since opening with just 5 children in 2010, it has expanded to just under 200 children across 15 classes.
Located at the heart of Bangkok, this small school is part of the much larger St Andrews group of four schools in Thailand; it’s a feeder school for St Andrews Sukhumvit 107, which takes students from 2 to 18 years and offers the National Curriculum for England followed by the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). The other two schools are St Andrews Sathorn primary school in Bangkok’s CBD and St Andrews Green Valley, an all-through school on the outskirts of Pattaya.
St Andrews is part of the international Cognita group of schools, which has headquarters in the UK and educates 40,000 pupils in 70 schools worldwide. While Cognita’s other schools in South East Asia follow either American or Australian curriculums, St Andrews is much more in line with its 40-plus schools in the UK.
Read about our tour of the campus here.
Less than a decade old, St Andrews claims to offer “a rigorous British curriculum” that is enhanced for its “international community of students representing over 20 nationalities”. As you’d expect from a small school, it has a close-knit community where “teachers know all the children”. There’s a 100% acceptance rate for students moving on to a secondary education at the nearby St Andrews Sukhumvit 107.
Head teacher Caroline Ratcliffe joined the school in January 2017, and this is her first post as a head teacher.
St Andrews Dusit offers the National Curriculum for England with a strong international slant. The St Andrews learning path starts with an early years’ programme for children aged two to five years that follows the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). From August 2018, the school began to accept children from 18 months.
"Separation anxiety starts close to two years of age, so we feel that is children come in at 18 months then they are a lot less likely to be worried or upset. “
The early years unit focuses strongly on developing English vocabulary and communication skills, as well as numbers, science, social studies, and culture. All students learn Thai and Mandarin, and there’s a specialist English language support programme to prepare students for mainstream education. In terms of sport, children have PE and swimming lessons from as young as 2-years-old. Other specialist classes include music, drama, and art.
The primary curriculum covers KS1 (Years 1 – 3) and KS2 (Years 4 – 6), and includes the following subject areas: maths, English, science, IT, history, geography, design technology, art, PE, and music, as well as personal, social, and health education (PSHE). St Andrews Dusit encourages multilingualism; as well as daily Thai lessons, primary students have the option to learn either French or Mandarin.
The school's head teacher Caroline Ratcliffe says:
“I think one of the biggest gifts you can give to a child is another language; it's important to stimulate that part of the brain when they’re very young.”
The school currently has 23 children on the learning support register, and it has a reputation for its strong SEN programme; while all students are kept within the mainstream classes, they are offered support from a shadow teacher, the school's learning support team, and outside agencies including speech therapists and occupational therapists. Also, Ratcliffe has plenty of experience (and enthusiasm) in this field, having been head of learning support at her previous school, St Andrews Sathorn.
Students learn the importance of exercising for a lifetime from a young age. There’s a strong PE programme that includes swimming, basketball, tennis, badminton, football, dance, gymnastics, and rugby. The school also fields teams in various competitive fixtures against sports teams from international schools across the country.
Technology supports learning at all stages of education; classrooms are equipped with smartboards and tablets, and there’s a dedicated ICT/STEAM suite with a Bee-Bots, Blue-Bots, and other technology. The school says:
“As much as we have a lot of technology, we also want to see that it’s used for a reason. Our next project is to create a skygarden where children can grow their own ingredients, which can be used in their cooking lessons.”
The curriculum is also very creative, and all students have specialist music, drama, and visual arts lessons. In music, students work with percussion instruments, keyboards, recorders, and ukuleles to learn vocal skills and composition; from Year 3, all students select a specialist music instrument to learn.
Beyond the classroom
There’s also plenty going on outside of the classroom, from a wide choice of extra-curricular activities to community service projects and residential trips from Year 2. There’s an active house system that involves all students in school-wide events, competitions, and challenges.
St Andrews Dusit has built up a close-knit community where parents are actively involved with fundraising, social events, and learning support. As well as receiving a weekly newsletter, parents can log onto a VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) to keep track of what’s happening on campus.
There are 20 different nationalities represented at the school, and this is embraced by celebrating key cultural festivals throughout the year. St Andrews Dusit also fosters a strong reading culture through author visits and other literary events.
Located in Bangkok's European-style, leafy district of Dusit, St Andrews Dusit is a small, intimate campus. There’s a dedicated early years unit with indoor soft play facilities, spaces for yoga, dance, and cooking, and outdoor play areas.
Within the main primary school, there is a music room equipped with percussion instruments, keyboards, recorders, and ukuleles; a library; specialist language classrooms equipped with resources to support the teaching of English, Mandarin, French, or Thai; and a playground with climbing wall. Sports facilities include two swimming pools, two sports halls, and an all-weather artificial grass football pitch.
Admission and fees
Tuition fees are at the lower end of the scale for international schools, and range from THB 381,600 for Kindergarten to THB 436,800 for Year 1 and THB 459,300 for Year 6.
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