BRIGHTON College is arguably the most successful UK school to open an international campus in Bangkok. Having recently been ranked the top co-educational school by The Sunday Times for the second year running, to what extent does Brighton College Bangkok have the right to trade on the long-established reputations of its UK counterpart?
Pupils at Brighton College UK may achieve some of the best academic grades in the country, accomplished not through hothousing, but through a balanced and holistic education that encourages pupils to be the very best version of themselves possible. Prospective families are however right to question whether the quality and authenticity of an international school are comparable with the original UK ‘brand’.
This is guaranteed firstly through formal inspections from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), the benchmark for all UK independent schools. Secondly, the school employs a significant percentage of teachers and senior management directly from Brighton College. Their founding Headmaster previously led Brighton College Al Ain, the Head of Prep School was the founding Head of Prep at Brighton College Abu Dhabi whilst the Head of Science joins from Brighton College UK. Their understanding of what a Brighton College education is and their direct contributions to the outstanding achievements of the other schools in the family will undoubtedly help Brighton College Bangkok recreate the same magic in Thailand.
Furthermore, Brighton College Bangkok is the only ‘branded’ international school that is managed directly from the UK. The school recently welcomed Mr Richard Cairns, Headmaster of Brighton College UK and member of the Bangkok Board of Governors, for the fourth time within 12 months. During his visit, he observed lessons, interviewed members of staff and acted as a critical friend to the Bangkok campus, to ensure that the education offered reflects the quality, values and ethos of Brighton College.
With the two well-established Brighton College International Schools (Abu Dhabi and Al Ain) both mirroring Brighton College UK by topping their respective league tables, what is the secret behind this family of school’s success? The recipe is simple; it is due to the complete focus on each child that attends a Brighton College.
Whilst examination results are important, Brighton College is also renowned for seeing education as a journey, one that continues long after its pupils leave for the world’s leading universities. At Brighton College, the aim is to ignite a love for learning that will burn for a lifetime, and this is the reason why the school differs to others in Bangkok. By following the structure of the overwhelming majority of top independent schools in the UK, its pupils benefit from a full timetable, taught by subject specialists, from the age of 9. At this age children are ready for an additional challenge, enabling them to delve deeper into a subject. Specialist teachers have a depth and breadth of knowledge in their areas of expertise that help to sow the seeds of fascination in young minds.
First and foremost, at Brighton College Bangkok, learning is fun. However, the school also believes in providing rigour, and the Common Entrance Examinations that all pupils sit at the age of 13, provide focus. These examinations have enormous benefit, with pupils learning how to cope with formal exams, how to revise and all-important exam technique; all requisite skills for IGCSEs and beyond.
These same pupils also prosper from their time spent as leaders in the Prep School. When they join the Senior School, at the age of 13, they are ready to take on responsibility and have the understanding and the approach required to be good role models and ambassadors. This develops from spending two years as the elder statesmen and women of the Prep School, rather than being at the bottom of the ladder in a large secondary school.
One hallmark of a truly successful school is the enormous pride felt by its ex-pupils, who remain friends of the school and of each other for decades that follow. This kind of collegiality and solidarity are the result of Brighton College’s unflinching commitment to ensuring that children grow into first-class versions of themselves and the significance attached to the House system.
Unlike at many schools, where Houses are merely team names, perhaps for sports and drama, for Brighton College Bangkok the House system is the most powerful pastoral vehicle of all, where pride and camaraderie abound, and where the qualities of leadership, compassion and empathy become ingrained in every pupil. There is something quite magical about the team spirit that evolves through an all-encompassing House system. Indeed, when children have a vested interest in one another, a culture of kindness pervades and becomes the norm, as has already evolved at the Bangkok campus. This is where the kind of pride that lasts a lifetime is developed and these are the secure and happy foundations on which tomorrow’s leaders will be built.
Brighton College Bangkok, Krungthep Kreetha soi 15/1, Huamark, Bangkok, 10240