If you have a child of or coming up to school age and live overseas, you will have undoubtedly given their educational needs a great deal of thought. For many, regardless of if they are originally from Britain or not, they will have given a British-based curriculum a lot of consideration. Even if your child is only at kindergarten, you may have already decided that their education should be one with a close connection with the UK.
When you think of overseas education, there are several British curriculum schools in Bangkok, starting at kindergarten age and continuing right through until A-Levels. The National Curriculum of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, to give its full title, is highly respected worldwide. It opens doors and presents opportunities for students when they go on to further education or enter the workplace. It is suitable for students of all nationalities and is available in almost every country in the world.
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Why a British-based Curriculum?
Unless you are British, you will probably have considered other curriculum and syllabuses such as the American Schools System or the International Baccalaureate (IB). While these, and other examples, are excellent curriculum, they don’t have the same prestige or reputation as the British curriculum. If you want your child to study overseas, then you need to select a curriculum that will be viewed favourably by universities, and the British version certainly achieves this.
Most things that are British are trusted and respected, and the educational system is a prime example. It is assumed that the examinations are of a consistent standard and that the level of teaching will prepare students for life at university. It covers a diverse range of topics and enables students to pursue their chosen careers. The British curriculum opens doors rather than closes them, so as a parent, this should be what you are considering for your child’s future.
It Offers a Broad Education
The British education system strives to develop individuals in all aspects of their lives, not just academia. It will help develop their personalities from a young age and teach children vital life skills, with students being encouraged to question others’ opinions and form their own. Critical thinking and developing analytical problem-solving skills are at the very heart of education, with less emphasis placed on retaining facts and more on solving problems and coming up with solutions.
Young children in their formative years even benefit from learning in a “British” learning environment when some of these skills will start to be introduced through play. It will stand them in good stead when they enter primary school, and the skills they will have learned will stay within them throughout their lives. It is one of the reasons why parents are encouraged to think about the type of curriculum that they wish their children to follow even before they reach kindergarten age.
It Caters to Students of Different Abilities
The British curriculum is unique in that it caters to students of all abilities. Brighter students can challenge themselves with additional learning around the same or different topics gaining a broader understanding. They will also be encouraged to help support other students who may be finding topics challenging. Less academically advantaged children will also receive the schooling that they require to advance and, in some cases, catch up with their peers.
Nurturing students, whatever their age, is seen as fundamental to the British curriculum. It will lead to students fulfilling their academic potential whilst also teaching them the importance of interpersonal relationships. Physical education will teach them to respect and value their bodies, and extracurricular learning will help them become more rounded individuals and follow their own interests.
The British Curriculum Is Transferrable
If you are an expat living and working in a city such as Bangkok, having the flexibility to move around is essential. However, some curriculums aren’t transferrable, or find a school that follows the same curriculum can be challenging. The British curriculum is highly transferable, and students can change between schools will minimal disruption. International schools offering the British curriculum can be found in almost every country in the world, so you will have a greater choice when it comes to selecting the next school.
As the British system is separated into “Key Stages,” students, parents, teachers, and schools can track progress against schools across the world. The Foundation Stage is available for children aged 3 to 5, with Key Stage 4 for children in Years 10 and 11. Regardless of where they may be in the world, students are expected to reach specific targets, making transferring between schools easier.
In schools across the UK, students will generally sit their GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) at the age of 16, although this can be before or after in some subjects. Overseas students will sit the equivalent IGSCE exams, which is the international version. The exam papers will be set by either the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) board or Edexcel Examinations Board. It is something that guarantees consistency around the world and creates trust and respect. Typically students would study maths, English, science, and modern language along with some elective choices.
Students in Years 12 and 13, the 16 to 18 age group, will take A-Levels and AS Levels regardless of where they geographically. The choice of A-Levels will probably be determined by the course that they wish to study at university and this would be the same in the UK. It is the last stage in preparing students for further education or entering the workplace and is designed to create the foundations for their future learning.
Creating Long-Term Options
For many students, the direction they choose to follow at university may not be the one they choose throughout their lives. The British curriculum allows people to adapt, handle uncertainty, and respond to changes in the labour market. Students are taught transferable skills, and the environment is designed to develop independent, self-motivated individuals, and attaining British standards will allow them to work in a globalised world.