This is a question that many parents ask as they strive to give their kids the best possible start in life and the answer is quite complex. First, we should define the word ‘successful’, by that, we mean a school with excellent academic performance, a school that students like to attend, and one that focuses on the whole child.
Here are some of the areas a successful school would excel.
- Inclusivity – A top school would regard inclusivity as an integral part of the organization, parents are encouraged to get involved, with parent-teacher workshops held every semester. If you have an unusual career, why not offer to give the older students a presentation? This helps students make the right career choices; there are regular parent-teacher get-togethers, which helps both parties see the big picture.
- Active learning strategy – The traditional passive learning system is being replaced with project-based learning, which helps the kids to develop in many ways. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills need to be developed and when a group of students plans a project, a lot of dynamics come into play.
- Wide range of facilities – A top international school in Bangkok would have a large campus, with everything you would expect from such an institution; all sports would be covered, there would be science labs, computer rooms, arts & crafts centers, a few canteens and indoor halls for a range of purposes. There should be well-kept grounds that can be used as outdoor classrooms, plus the campus would be secure, with video surveillance and manned security during opening times.
- Academic excellence – Let’s face it, exam results do count and if you are looking for a school for your child, you should check out their exam stats across the board. If your son or daughter leaves school with a high GPA, they can likely enter the university of their choosing. The results of exams are a reflection of the standard of education at the school, so do check the annual stats that are available on the school’s website. Click here for various issues that could impact your child’s learning.
- Happy students – A happy student loves to learn and all activities should be fun-based, which instills a lifelong love of learning. For many schools, this is a critical aspect of their program, making sure that all the kids enjoy their time in school. If you plan a tour of a school, take note of the children and ask them to sit in on some activities, which enables you to get a feeling for the teaching style from the learner’s perspective. If your child is reluctant to go to school, this is a sign that something is wrong; it might be bullying, a conflict with a schoolmate or simply that school is boring. Whatever the cause, it is important to identify it and take measures to resolve the situation. Some schools simply ooze joy and happiness, which is contagious.
- Top teaching staff – A prestigious international school in Thailand would hire their teachers directly from the UK, with at least 5 years of teaching experience and, of course, fully qualified. There would also be trainee teachers who work under supervision and a good teacher-student ratio and all teachers would be lifelong learners themselves.
- Firm goals –Every school should write a 5-year charter and there need to be specific short and long-term goals; a wise school principal once said that every decision made should benefit the learner in some way. When looking at a school’s website, read its guiding statements and that should tell you a lot about its objectives and aspirations. We suggest searching online for all international schools within driving distance, then browsing websites and creating a shortlist of schools to visit.
- Secure facility – Nothing short of enclosed grounds with CCTV and a manned security center at all the entrances, with beautiful grounds merging with buildings. The students can explore in safely and there would be regular field trips.
When looking for the best school for your child, it makes sense to do some serious research on all potential institutions and that should lead to school visits. Prepare some questions for the school principal; you will get a chance to sit down with the director and find out more about the school and the campus.