WHY CHOOSE AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL?
Many parents wonder what special benefits international schools and international curricula offer to students. There are in fact a number of advantages which are not always provided by other types of school. These advantages are as follows:
- An international school education gives students a wider range of openings to universities around the world, many of which prefer international qualifications.
- Most international schools use English as their principal medium of instruction. This provides students with a strong background in English (the world’s main international language).
- International school curricula impart skills such as those that refine critical thinking, time management and problem solving as well as subject-specific knowledge. These skills are enormously important in enabling students to think, act and decide independently in their education, careers and lives generally.
- International school communities tend to be multinational, thus exposing their student members to a range of cultures, enhancing their confidence and their empathy / communication aptitudes and expediting what often blossom into lifelong friendships that transcend national and ethnic boundaries.
- The ability to understand other people’s and other cultures’ perspectives conferred by empathy skills is an immensely valuable asset for students and career professionals all over the world, whatever university degree or job they may pursue.
- International schooling offers an excellent preparation for world citizenship with a truly global outlook.
- Most international schools combine the impartation of knowledge about and pride in students’ indigenous traditions with those of other cultures (international school students thus derive the best of both worlds).
- The international perspectives and cross-cultural skills conveyed by international schools to their students are regarded as essential qualifications by many universities and employers these days.
- International school curricula and qualifications (such as those offered by Cambridge International Examinations) have to maintain high standards and are continuously improved – hence their well deserved reputation for high quality and academic excellence – international school students derive the benefits of these accordingly.
- Students at international schools enjoy access to global student networks and resources structured around whichever curriculum they follow.
WHAT’S SPECIAL ABOUT INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLING?
Parents often also ask what’s distinctive about an international school education and what makes international schools special and different from other institutions. There are in fact a number of special features of international school education which sets them apart from other types of school and makes them exceptional.
- QUALITY: International schools provide lessons and examinations based on international syllabuses offered by curricular bodies which follow high standards of global renown and quality. Not only are these standards the highest in the world; they are also subject to continuous improvement based on the concept of best practice. International schools must also undergo accreditation by international bodies which determine, refine and apply key performance indicators based on excellence in every aspect of their operation (teaching, learning, curriculum, health and safety, partnerships, buildings, facilities etc).
- QUALIFICATIONS: The qualifications international school are able to gain from their studies are recognised as hallmarks of academic quality not just in their own countries but also by universities and employers all over the world. Consequently these qualifications are tantamount to passports that will confer access to the best degree courses, the best employment opportunities and the best career advantages available upon an international school student’s graduation.
- CONTENTS: International school curricular contents are globally informed and relevant (and not simply related to ethnocentric or local matters). International school curricular subject materials, case studies, comprehension exercises and teaching / learning texts address world issues (e.g. social justice, global environmental awareness and ethics for the planet), thus enhancing students’ universal knowledge and awareness. They encourage comparative and contrastive approaches towards different cultural traditions and practices, thus sharpening students’ analytical skills and augmenting their general understanding as well as imbuing them with specific knowledge. This combination is vital for global citizenship.
- METHOD: International school curricula focus on learning outcomes with verifiable aptitudes rather than just having students assimilate chunks of information for memorisation. Remembering is an important skill and the memory is a vital faculty, but there is a great deal more to education than simply memorising and repeating facts. International school teaching and learning encourage independent thinking and studying by placing the onus of responsibility on the student, who develops analytical and critical proficiency and the ability to marshal facts in support of theories and perspectives accordingly. These are essential skills in the twenty-first century.
- STRUCTURE: International school curricula are based on the concept of best practice (which entails incorporating feedback obtained all over world each year a particular international curriculum is delivered). The results of this feedback are used to improve the quality of teaching, assessment and learning goals on a permanent basis, which means it becomes better and better each year. This approach regards teaching as a process which evolves just as students themselves develop as they learn (i.e. as part of a dynamic relationship which adapts to meet new needs rather than remaining fixed or static). This helps to ensure that lesson contents in international schools remain fully relevant, up to date and vibrant, thus giving international school students a vital advantage.
WHY CHOOSE BLOOMSBURY?
Bloomsbury International School Hatyai offers the best of international schooling. The school is proud of its multicultural composition – the territories from which its students are drawn include Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, PR China, Myanmar, Singapore, Germany, Brazil and the West Indies. Bloomsbury students thus enjoy the opportunity to learn about other cultures from each other as well as from their teachers, and the bonds they thus form represent a significant part of their socialisation.
The school’s atmosphere is inclusive, caring and welcoming – all students and parents are regarded as important individuals and stakeholders in the school community, no matter what their various ages, backgrounds, origins and provenances may be.
Bloomsbury is a Cambridge International School – this means it is an approved curricular and assessment centre for Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), the region’s largest and best known global curricular body. CIE is part of the UK’s University of Cambridge, which has been a pillar of educational excellence for over 800 years. The school has had to meet the high standards insisted on by CIE to be awarded this status.
Its teaching and learning are based on a CIE-oriented model derived from the National Curriculum of England (which is adapted to make it suitable for students from the cultures and nationalities referred to above). Classes commence from Early Years up to Year 12; assessment is provided via examinations conducted by CIE at Keystages 1-5. It is currently inaugurating its Sixth Form, the operation of which will commence in August 2018.
The school has applied for membership (as a prelude to accreditation) of the Council of International Schools (CIS) and is expecting its Preliminary Visit for CIS membership evaluation in 2018.
In June 2016 Bloomsbury was audited by the Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC), a division of the Royal Thai Ministry of Education, which visits and evaluates private and international schools in the Kingdom to assess their quality in areas which include strategic and action planning, curriculum development, student learning, student life, use of ICT for educational and administrative purposes, human resources and financial management, governance, quality assurance and accreditation systems.
The foregoing process is known as ‘Internal Quality Assurance’ (‘IQA)’; Bloomsbury was proud to be awarded an IQA score of 96/100.
Bloomsbury is a member of the International Schools’ Association of Thailand (‘ISAT’) and the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (‘BCCT’) and regularly participates in activities held by these organisations.
Bloomsbury currently employs 14 expatriate teachers from English-speaking countries (two from the US, one from Canada and the remainder from the United Kingdom). All its teachers are fully qualified, and they include specialists in Performing Arts.
Bloomsbury students are also provided with enjoyable and stimulating Extra-Curricular Activities (ECAs), most of which are free of charge. They also gain personal and educational benefit by being able to take part in various cultural events held at the school throughout the academic year.
Thai culture is regarded as an essential component in the latter, and Thai parents are kindly requested to note that the international ethos Bloomsbury offers seeks to build on, consolidate and enhance their children’s understanding and respect for Thai culture through lessons, activities and celebrations of important festivals such as Loy Krathong. The school thus regards respect for local culture as a vital complement to international schooling.
Bloomsbury operates a unique Setting System in Primary Mathematics – this means level-based placement in this subject is directly linked to ability and to extended support where this is required.
Reports are issued regularly to parents, who are also welcome to participate in our Parents’ Committee and/or to discuss their children’s progress with academic managers whenever issues or concerns arise.
The school is housed in well appointed, bespoke buildings whose design follows traditional British school architectural features (such as arched cloisters) situated in an enclosed, protected and secure environment where students’ health and safety are accorded the highest priority. Luncheon (in which fare rotates between different culinary styles) is served daily during term time; a strictly administered staff duty system ensures all students are fully supervised outside classrooms throughout the school day.
A grass-covered play area expedites both formal sporting events and informal games.
A school-administered ‘bus service helps secure easy and convenient access for students who need local transportation.Andrew Elliott BA (Oxon); M Phil (Cantab)