The international school sector in Thailand is growing as more and more schools open. This should be a welcoming development for families as it gives them more options.
Thailand continues to develop as a prime destination for international education. There are already hundreds of international schools in the country, in various price ranges, and more schools are set to open in 2023.
Among schools that have already been established, some are expanding to offer more grades, while others expand by improving or enlarging their campuses with more and better facilities.
Among the schools that are opening this year are two from Singapore International School Bangkok, SISB.
As one of Thailand’s most successful school companies, SISB already operates schools at four campuses in the country, with three in and around Bangkok and one in Chiang Mai.
For the school year 2023-24, a new campus will open in Nonthaburi province, just north of Bangkok.
According to its website, the school will offer education from nursery-kindergarten up to grade 12. Among the campus facilities are a large football pitch, an indoor swimming pool, and a multi-function sports hall. The campus spans 18.5 rai.
Initially, the school will open with grades 1 to 10, and in two to three years, the school will be completed with the opening of grades 11 and 12. The total capacity will be 1600 students, making it a very large school by Thai standards.
The school is located in an area surrounded by many gated communities. TIS Monitor has visited the area, which resembles a Western-style suburb, where children will be able to walk or bicycle to school.
As a special promotion, the school currently offers a 50 percent deduction of the enrollment fee up to year 10.
According to a promotional video on its website, SISB will also open a new campus in Rayong on the eastern seaboard. TIS Monitor has been unable to learn more about this campus. Emails to the school have not been answered.
Mid-Sukhumvit area will soon offer more school options
A new school in Bangkok with a brand new campus is Futures Steps, located on Sukhumvit soi 31. It is an expansion of the 24-year-old international preschool The First Steps.
Futures Steps will offer education up to year 6, and according to its website, it has purpose-built facilities with large and airy classrooms, as well as both indoor and outdoor play areas.
Among existing schools that are expanding their operation is Magic Years International School, MYIS, in Nonthaburi province. Up to 2021, it offered up to grade 5. That was expanded with a grade 6 in 2022, and for the coming school year 2023-24, it opens up grades 7 and 8.
According to its website, it plans to increase a grade level each year through high school, grade 12, by 2027.
Another school in Bangkok that is growing quickly is Outdoor School Bangkok, OSB, located in the Phra Khanong area, close to the intersection between Rama 4 Road and Sukhumvit Road. It now offers up to grade 6.
The headmaster and founder lived many years in Sweden and brought with her some Scandinavian philosophy into running a school. At OSB, the children can spend time in the school’s large, lush garden, where they are allowed to explore and experiment with nature in order to learn.
OSB is also less formal regarding school uniforms than most other international schools in Thailand. Here, the children can decide for themselves if they want to wear the uniform.
OSB has proven hugely popular with both parents and children, and its student body is growing quickly.
Many schools are improving their campuses
According to press reports, Denla British School, DBS, also located in Nonthaburi, is currently investing heavily in its campus and expanding its facilities to accommodate the growing number of students enrolled. The addition of two new buildings includes a high school building and a specialist building for the arts, including a new library, a 665-seat auditorium, and drama and music rooms.
TIS Monitor has emailed the school to gather more information but has not heard back.
While TIS Monitor only tracks and writes about schools offering at least six years of education above the kindergarten level, it is interesting to see how younger years international schools are opening outside main population areas where fewer foreigners typically reside.
One such example is One Hope International School, located in the Mae Sai area of Chiang Rai, near the northernmost point of Thailand. The school has a Christian profile and currently offers up to grade 4, but it has an ambitious expansion plan.
”We will expand with one grade every year to high school,” says a school official in a chat conversation with TIS Monitor.
Another example is KK International Primary School in Mae Sot, close to the Burma border. It currently offers education up to grade 1 but will add one more grade in 2023.
In a chat conversation with TIS Monitor, a school official says that a new primary building will open for the year 2024-25.
Growth driven by both supply and demand
The growth in the international school sector is driven by both demand and supply, according to Michael Töpffer, editor at TIS Monitor.
”While many foreigners left Thailand during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have started to return as the country has opened its borders and business picks up. We have also seen a large influx of Russians temporarily moving to Thailand due to the conflict in Ukraine. Among locals, more and more Thai parents are looking for an international education for their children as Thai schools still have much room for improvement.”
”Overall, families already in Thailand or coming here from abroad should welcome the increase in the number of schools as it offers more opportunities for everyone,” Mr. Töpffer concludes.
Note from the editor: If there are more international schools in Thailand expanding or improving their campuses in 2023, please notify the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org, and they could be added to the list above.