Si Ri Panya International School on Koh Phangan is opening a secondary school, enhancing education on the island and supporting the growing expat community.
Si Ri Panya International School, located on the island of Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand, has expanded its educational services by opening a newly licensed secondary school campus, adding Years 7 and 8 to the existing primary level Years 1 to 6.
The new secondary school campus features modern classrooms, science labs, food labs, and a library.
The school, which opened in 2019, currently has 157 students, with 120 in the primary level and 37 in the new secondary level.
“The opening of the new secondary school is an exciting development for Si Ri Panya and for Koh Phangan,” says Nicola Bunchuay, the school’s founder.
The island, which is only accessible by ferry from the nearby Koh Samui or the mainland, has become a popular destination for digital nomads and expats seeking a life on a tropical island.
According to Ms Bunchuay, the expat community has grown in recent years. This has led to an increase in demand for education and services catering to the international community.
”The opening of our new secondary school will help meet this demand by providing expat families with access to quality education. Furthermore, this is essential for attracting and retaining talented professionals and entrepreneurs, which in turn will benefit the local economy,” says Ms Bunchuay.
Diverse school community
The school has a very diverse student body, with representation from over 24 nationalities.
”Around 40 percent of our students hold dual Thai nationality, 10 percent are solely Thai nationals, and the remaining 50 percent are international students who have become long-term residents on the island,” Ms Bunchuay explains.
The school has been licensed for the full secondary school Years 7 to 11. The plan is to grow by one year level each year.
”By September 2026, we will be at full capacity and have a total of 240 students from Years 1 to 11,” she says.
A challenge when running a school on an island popular with tourists could be a high turnover of students, as many visiting families would stay just a short period, typically measured in weeks or months, rather than settling in for many years.
At Si Ri Panya International School, however, families are being interviewed before enrollment, and only those who are permanent residents on the island will be selected.
”Most of our students stay for their entire education with us,” says Ms Bunchuay.
The curriculum is based on the Cambridge and British National Curriculum.