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School Review: BKK Kids Checks Into Bangkok Prep Primary Campus

Fifteen years from the day when HRH Princess Maha Charki Sirindhorn inaugurated the school, Bangkok Prep, known more formally as Bangkok International Preparatory & Secondary School, is recognised and acknowledged as an established centre of learning, attracting both expatriate and Thai students.  On two campuses – Thong Lo (Primary Campus) and Sukhumvit 77 (Secondary Campus) – the school provides British education from Early Years until Year 13, preparing students for top universities around the world. The focus of the school and its teaching faculty is on empowering its student body to be the leaders of tomorrow. A big school that has worked hard on cultivating its signature ‘mid-size atmosphere’ on both campuses, Bangkok Prep has an enviable record as an institution that envelops its students in a safe, creative and comfortable space.

The Primary Campus is where the Bangkok Prep story started. Ideally situated in the heart of Bangkok, this city school is for those looking for a top-ranking school that’s close to everything, an ideal location for that urban lifestyle. The newly renovated Primary Campus offers state-of the-art, student focused facilities to enhance the learning environment.

First Impressions

First impressions are of an open, spacious, positive space with large, airy classrooms filled with natural light. The undercroft flanked by the football field and the basketball court is the heart of the campus where the students arrive to begin the day – it’s a space where students feel safe, secure, and valued. A relaxed child, learns more and Bangkok Prep provides the ideal environment for this. As access goes, Bangkok Prep is conveniently situated in the heart of Bangkok. Adding to the convenience is the BTS Thong Lo Sky Train station, on the school’s doorstep. In spite of being on the main road, inside the school is an oasis of calm. The school staff, whether teaching faculty or the administrative, is approachable, friendly and helpful adding to the over all positive experience.

The Teaching and Learning

Bangkok Prep is all about putting the student first. Obvious from day one when you engage with the teachers. The school offers a thematic curriculum specifically designed for the school but firmly rooted in the National Curriculum of England. The 21st century collaborative approach means the teachers are empowered to extend the curriculum and are in no way limited by its statutes.

The teaching faculty is highly qualified with Postgraduate Certificate in Education, Qualified Teacher Status (England & Wales, UK), and Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages (CELTA), for those who teach English as a second language (EAL).

To engage with the students carefully selected, cross-curricular themes are used to develop essential core skills. The buzzwords here are ‘stimulating and engaging’, a style of teaching that encourages children to find the answers, capitalizing on the natural curiosity, enthusiasm of young children, helping them define themselves as individuals. And yes, no child is left behind.

The entire learning space is collaborative and the small size of the class (limited to 24 students) ensures every child gets the attention he needs. The size also ensures that parents and teachers form a bond in empowering the students together.

The Students

A school is about its students, and their demeanour reflects their emotional and psychological health. Break time at Bangkok Prep Primary is where you see children interact with each other in a positive and encouraging environment. An upright piano in the undercroft subtly underwrites this approach encouraging children to dabble in music. It is there for all to play and enjoy, to take the stage, to experiment… it’s an overwhelming experience to see kids gathered around it, laughing, having fun, discovering the musician in themselves.

Bangkok Prep is all about internationally minded students ready to face the challenges that the future holds. This is reflected in the over 40 nationalities that form the student body, where each student is encouraged to celebrate his own identity while at the same time celebrating and learning from the multi-cultural student body. The students frequently interact with each other in collaborative multi-age groups in a stimulating environment thus cementing the bonds between them. Bonds that also creates lasting friendships.

The Space

A sustained renovation, after the Secondary section moved to a brand new bespoke campus, has meant that the Primary is benefitting from the additional space.  Instead of adding more forms, Bangkok Prep has knocked down walls to enlarge classrooms and create multiple breakout spaces for every year group.  This has seen the rebirth of the Primary Campus which emphasizes the credo of ‘big size school with a cosy ambience of a mid size school’ where children never feel lost.  With only five forms per Year Group, there’s plenty of space for the one thousand odd strong student body.

The large classrooms, all equipped with smart boards have a physical classroom environment that influences students to achieve. It is a scientific fact that structural facilities have a profound influence on learning and here the large classrooms fully equipped with the latest resources are filled with natural light that sets the perfect stage for learning. There is no external noise, the temperatures are set at an optimal level and air purifiers in every classroom ensure the children thrive in a healthy environment. Outside of each Year Group are common breakout spaces where students are encouraged to engage in ‘passion projects’ and develop their ideas.

The Verdict

Speak to the teachers here and they underline their credo, ‘We are a school with a soul’. Evidence of that is to be seen everywhere: in the faces of the clearly happy and engaged students, in the parents satisfied with the choice they have made, and in the quality of teaching. And there’s satisfaction too. As one teacher put it, “As a teacher, I couldn’t have asked for a better work environment or a better school.”

Speaking of satisfaction a parent, Kay Ashton, adds, “The school teaches the British curriculum in such a creative and child led way that we knew our kids would get the structure they needed as well as the flexibility and creativity. I feel the academic programme is so incredibly well planned and thought through but still leaves so much scope for the children to guide and shape their own learning and individual development. The staff is very passionate about the school and the level of care shown to the children in the school is just incredible.”

Bangkok Prep Primary is not just about primary children, it is also about empowering children to face the future as secondary students and then as adults. As a secondary parent, Neetinder Dhillon explains, “My son’s transition from the Primary to the Secondary was so well handled that would have normally been a stressful period was a breeze. My son went into Secondary completely confident.  He is confident young man today, with strong opinions and the school has played a big role in it.”

What is a huge positive is that Bangkok Prep underlines besides academic excellence, character development, acquisition of skills for learning and becoming a part of a community of students. The Life Values that the school emphasizes are not just empty words but are lived every day.  The school focuses on developing globally minded, passionate learners who uphold the Bangkok Prep Life Values of being honest, holding high moral standards and having integrity and empathy towards others.

All in all, this is a school that should be on the list. Find more details about Bangkok Prep: https://bkkprep.ac.th/

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