International Schools in Thailand: A Primer for Expat Parents

Moving to another country makes you deal with a great amount of stress. Out of all the issues you go through, finding a good international school for your kid is one of the hardest.

For the kids adapting to a whole new set up, a whole new culture, the social nightmare of making new friends, the entirely different course materials, and the dreaded homework anxieties sometimes scare the kids so much that they’ll sometimes think about getting homeschooled.

For the parents, it’s about finding a well-structured school, the financial worries, the traveling cost, the new uniforms, and the new textbooks. Also, the fear of choosing the wrong school and pressurizing your little one is always there.

But the worries can be slightly reduced by reading this article. This article will give you some information about international schools in Thailand. There are plenty of world standard schools in Bangkok, such as Harrow International school. You can find out more about this school on

It may not encapsulate all the information about all the schools out there, but after reading this article, you will be able to make decisions regarding what to look for while searching for international schools in Thailand.

Page Contents

The Meaning of an International School

Simply, the schools that follow an international curriculum is an international school. It is a challenge for expatriate students to study in Thailand, especially when the teachers deliver instruction in Thai. To avoid this challenge of teachers speaking in a language your child may not understand, enrolling in international schools is the best solution, where English is practiced as a medium of communication and studies there.  There are myriads of international schools in Thailand; there are up to 70 international schools in Bangkok alone!

The Tier System

The international schools depend on different factors that are ranked by the tier system.

The tier system breaks down as follows

Tier 1

Out of all the schools, tier 1 schools are considered the best. Teachers tend to be highly qualified and competent in these schools. The fees generate between 500,000 baht to almost 1,000,000 baht a year, so it’s pretty high. The courses are taught in a western format and mostly follows the Cambridge or British curriculum.

Tier 2

Investors or conglomerates mainly own these schools. Families need to bear 300,000 baht to 800,000 baht per year. This range is less than tier 1 schools comparatively. The teachers are pretty qualified here as well. However, the western culture is followed less here.

Tier 3

Individuals mostly own tier 3 schools in Thailand. Fees range from 80,000 baht to 300,000 baht per term, which is pretty low compared to the other two tiers. The student body tends to be high mostly, and the western culture is followed even less in these schools than in tier 2 schools.

The tier system is not the end of the world. You may even find some tier 3 schools that are better than some tier 2 schools, so enrolling your child in a lower tier system will not damage their life. You will just need to do some internet scrolling and research.


If the curriculum that your country provides exists in Thailand, then it is better to continue with that specific curriculum especially if your child has spent time in that education system.

Thailand has a handful of curriculums, so you have a lot of options to try out to find the best match for your child.

In Thailand, there are four main curriculums that international schools follow: the IB curriculum, the British curriculum, the American curriculum. Other curriculums include Singaporian, French, and German curriculums, but most of the international schools follow the American Common Core Standards.

Things to Consider Before Enrolling

Before enrolling your child into a school, you need to consider some factors or else you might end up ruining your child’s student life, so it’s sensible to consider the following things while searching for the perfect school for your child.


The accreditation a school holds gives quite a clear picture of its quality. Many international organizations accredit schools. Some of the best organizations that accredit schools include:

  • Council of International Schools (CIS)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Centre for British Teachers (CfBT)

There are also some international organizations such as the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools or International Schools Association of Thailand.


Do some research about the school locations before enrolling your child. You definitely don’t want a school far away from your house. As you and your kid are pretty new to this country, picking a school near your house will cut a lot of hassle. Many schools have transportation available, but time and traffic factors should be considered before using them.


Quick research in the teacher forum won’t hurt. In fact, it will rather benefit and help you to decide on choosing a school with qualified and experienced teachers. Enrolling your child in a school with experienced and understanding teachers will help your kid communicate easily with them about issues related to studies and even life.

The Size of the School and Class

It is always said the bigger the better but When you are talking about class sizes it is the opposite, the smaller the better.  Teachers can give individual attention to more students when the size of the class is small.

However, large classes give you more possibilities to make friends. It also generally has more funding and facilities. So, some prefer large classes over the smaller ones.

Either way, a bit of research will help you decide on which type of school will be better for your child.

Extracurricular Activities

You definitely want to enroll your child in a school that is pretty active in extracurricular activities. Simply reading textbooks and doing well on exams should not be your child’s sole aim. Doing good in sports and arts should also be his/her goal. Enrolling your child in a school filled with club activities will not only increase his/her ability to know and understand the world well but will also bring out his/her creativity. Many schools excel in certain extra-curricular arenas. Enrolling your child in a school that best caters to his/her interest should be one of your prime concerns.


Doing research on which religious program is influencing a certain school is very important. Enrolling your child in a school that values your religion helps your child to cope easily with the culture.

Most of the international schools in Thailand are run by missionaries that follow Christian values and norms, so do research a bit if you want to find a school that follows a specific religious doctrine.

Hidden Fees

International school education never claimed to be cheap. There are many kinds of fees you’ll need to cover after the normal course fees, such as campus development fees, club fees, boarding fees, and facilities fees. Do a bit of research about the finances of international schools before enrolling your child.

After finishing this article, now you are roughly informed about the basics of international schools in Thailand. To know more about a certain school, it is always best to visit the school in person and gather the information about it!

Hope this article was helpful!