Bangkok Patana School: Teaching In and Beyond Classrooms to Groom Well-Rounded Individuals

The School aims to ensure that students of different nationalities grow to their full potential as independent learners in a caring British international community.

A successful businessman turned American writer, who became a celebrated historian, James Adams, once said, “There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live”. The Bangkok Patana School renders both of these, distinctly and accurately, to all its students for shaping their future as well as shaping them as people. Founded 60 years ago in the year 1957, Thailand’s original British International School, has a proud record of academic, sporting, and artistic achievements. ‘Patana’ in Thai means ‘development’ and the school does justice to the name perfectly.

The history of Bangkok Patana School is defined by a focus on academic achievement and personal excellence. Under the stewardship of committed parents and dedicated staff members, this not-for-profit school remains at the forefront of education in Thailand and is one of the most respected educational establishments in South East Asia, today. Its priority is quality learning and teaching as well as it aspires to cultivate progressive global citizens. The school currently has an enrolment of over 2,200 students from over 60 different nationalities.

About the ‘Head of School’

Head of School, Matt Mills, is a career educator, who at ten years of service is the longest serving Head in the long history of the school. He grew up in the Pacific Islands and spoke Samoan fluently. Matt trained to be a teacher in New Zealand and has worked in Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Germany. With intercultural experience ingrained in his blood, he is uniquely positioned to lead such a diverse student body.  “My role as Head of School is to have a clearly defined vision and be able to enact that through the talent pool of teaching faculty and staff. I am a great believer that you judge your own personal success by the success of people influenced by you,” he asserts.

Courses and Accreditations

Bangkok Patana is the largest British international school for children belonging to the age group of age 2 years to 18 years. It offers courses to its students from foundation stage to primary to secondary to senior studies. The school follows the British national curriculum up to Year 11 and the International Baccalaureate in Years 12 and 13. Students benefit from the rigor of a British education combined with a strong extra-curricular program that nurtures them into global citizens who shape their world through independence, empathy, creativity, and critical thinking.

This year, it had its first batch graded under the new 9-1 system, with the old A* being separated into Grades 8 and 9 to identify those of the highest ability, in its GCSE subjects of Art and PE. These reformed courses have been specially designed to be challenging for the students and increase their competency. Even though it is academically non-selective, Bangkok Patana’s results are in the top tier of international schools.

Bangkok Patana School is accredited by the Council of International Schools, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and is an IB World School.

Outdoor Learning

The school promotes and practices the idea of outdoor learning. Addressing the same, at Bangkok Patana they say, “Gaining insight and understanding of the wider world doesn’t just hold academic implications, but also arms learners with the knowledge needed to make considered decisions with regard to safeguarding both their local and wider environments”. This teaching method gives the students from all years an invaluable chance to take part in true experiential learning within a natural setting.

Rather than utilizing textbooks or search engines for research, Bangkok Patana’s Secondary Biology students explore the flora and fauna to find creatures they would like to study. Fresh air and hands-on learning methods have helped students’ deepen their understanding to a level unlikely to be facilitated in the classroom. This allows its students to produce powerful research before creating biological illustrations of their respective creatures.

The school believes, ‘Ecosystems and the nutrient cycle are key elements of science. For Year 5 students, getting out among the trees to see their ‘rainforest’ learning in action is critical to cementing this core scientific component, immersing students in the fascinating world of plants and the ways they adapt to the surrounding environment’.

Co-Curricular Activities and Events

In addition to the regular school education, all students at Bangkok Patana are given opportunities to participate in a range of fun and interesting activities, encouraging them to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle. The school offers 400+ Extra-curricular Activities (ECAs) during the academic year.  More than 90% of students attend one or more ECAs each week. Activities range from sports, music, and arts to the Model United Nations (MUN) and the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award program. It has five focused academies, staffed with specialists, with yearlong programs in Football, Swimming, Tennis, Gymnastics, and Dance/Drama. Beyond the classroom ECAs, it conducts various events like one-week residential trips from Year 5 onwards, field trips, educational visits, TEDx Youth, and the most celebrated International Day.

Community service and action is strong amongst its community of teachers and students. Students not only volunteered in a community organization, but are challenged to lead or create a project that demonstrates change to the people it is meant to serve. At Bangkok Patana, students as young as five years old are made aware of the community around them and encouraged to develop a strong sense of altruism.

Best-in-Class Faculty

The teaching faculty of Bangkok Patana School comprises of about 80% of qualified teachers from the UK or British international schools, with the rest coming from Australia, Canada, the US, and other countries.

Learning in the Outdoor Classroom is bolstered by teachers such as Alexander (Coke) Smith. Coke has been an environmental educator for 30 years. With teaching experience in Washington, California, China, and now Bangkok Patana School in Thailand, he is one of the most respected outdoor educators on the circuit. He is also an avid wildlife photographer and writer, published in dozens of magazines and books worldwide, including publications such as the BBC’s Planet Earth Two and Science Magazine, among many more.

Moreover, the Secondary Design & Technology faculty was one of the first international schools’ faculties to be awarded the prestigious Design Mark Award from the UK in recognition of excellence in design teaching methods.

All-Inclusive Infrastructure

Bangkok Patana School has made a commitment to provide teachers and students with world-leading, cutting-edge learning environments. Its superbly resourced campus of 50 acres includes state-of-the-art classrooms and IT facilities, new Secondary and renovated Primary Libraries, three swimming pools, an indoor sports center, tennis courts, and games pitches. Additionally, its technologically advanced Arts Centre offers world-class facilities for students, teachers, and the community. The school’s Science Centre mimics the high standards of scientific learning usually found in top-notch, post-secondary institutions. Its on-campus Outdoor Classroom is an example of the attention given to the learning environments.

Building the Future of its Students

Bangkok Patana School’s graduates attend some of the best universities around the world including well known institutions such as- in the UK – Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College, King’s College, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and all the other Russell Group institutions; in the US – Ivy League schools such as Yale, Cornell, Princeton, Harvard, and the University of California schools; and renowned European universities. Typically, about 80% of graduating students have received offers from their first and second choice universities.

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