International Schools in Phuket
A quality education is a decisive factor for foreign families considering a move to another country. In this regard, Phuket is the only tropical resort in Thailand suitable for extended family stays. For over 30 years, Phuket has been developing as a holiday and winter destination for wealthy foreigners. Over time, several international schools have opened on the island, offering American, British, French, Canadian, Finnish, and Russian curricula. With the opening of schools, it has become possible not only to enjoy a longer vacation in resorts, but also to relocate to the country for permanent residence with the additional benefit of enriching the future of children.
Phuket offers a wide selection of schools with leading global educational programmes that serve as a gateway to a world of opportunities for children and can potentially secure admission to universities in the USA, Canada, and Europe.
Most international schools in Phuket teach in English, but a lack of English proficiency is not a hindrance to admission to an English-speaking international school. Almost all such schools have preparatory courses and classes to help pupils adapt and improve their English abilities.
The majority of international schools are located in the Chalong area, the most popular with expats and the developed region of Phuket. Chalong is conveniently located on the east coast of the island. The main transport line of the island runs through the area, making it easy to access it from any residential district. For this reason, even if you reside on the southern part of the island or at beach resorts, it is convenient to get to Chalong schools.
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14 International Schools in Phuket
According to the International Schools Database, there are 14 licensed international schools in Phuket. Almost all schools offer preschool programmes and nursery groups in addition to primary and secondary education.
The school is located in the northern part of the island near the airport and the Bang Tao Beach. Children are taught in English according to the international IB programme. The school is accredited by international educational organisations CIS and EARCOS. The campus has separate buildings for preschoolers, as well as for junior, middle, and senior classes. There are also rooms and playgrounds for extracurricular activities, clubs, and physical education.
Education at UWC Thailand costs from 8,000 to 21,400 US dollars per year, depending on the grade.
The school has about 360 pupils, 85% of them are foreigners from 57 countries of the world.
This is the oldest international school in Phuket. It was opened in 1996, and it has the most picturesque campus on the island. The school is located near Chalong, closer to the east coast of the island’s centre.
The British curriculum has been adapted to achieve a balance between academic excellence and pupils’ emotional well-being. Here pupils can acquire professional skills in the fields of sports, arts, business, and natural sciences, in conjunction with their school studies.
The campus is equipped with top-class amenities: there is a golf course, gym facilities, tennis centre, and an Olympic-size swimming pool. Starting from high school, children can attend the school with a full boarding plan. The school follows IGCSE, IBDP, and LAMDA certification standards. With such certificates, graduates can enrol in universities in the UK and the Commonwealth countries.
The preparatory group is for children aged 3 and above. Education costs 11,000–22,000 US dollars per year, depending on the grade.
About 900 pupils are enrolled in the school, of which 70% are foreigners from more than 50 different countries.
Oak Meadow International School in Chalong offers a comprehensive academic programme along with additional music, art, and foreign language classes. The curriculum is taught in English, and pupils can also opt to learn Thai or Chinese as elective courses.
Children aged 3 and above can enrol in the preparatory group. The tuition fees range from 6,700 to 11,000 US dollars per year, depending on the grade.
Lighthouse Academy is located in the Rawai area in the south of the island. Children attend classes in small groups of 10 pupils on average. Here, they are taught the Canadian curriculum in English and in accordance with international standards and the Montessori approach. The Canadian diploma of secondary education allows graduates to apply to universities all over the world. Pupils can also take the IGCSE, GED, and SAT exams, which potentially will open the door for admission to universities in Canada, where there are many scholarship programmes for foreigners. Canadian institutions offer fully funded scholarships to foreign students even at the bachelor’s level if the exams are passed.
The preparatory group is for children from the age of 2 years. Education costs 4,500–5,500 US dollars per year.
Montessori House Phuket International School is located in Chalong, surrounded by jungle and close to the Chalong Temple. Сhildren aged from 3 to 12 years old are taught in the school according to the Montessori programme.
Education costs 6,000–7,600 US dollars per year.
Another school with a British programme, which has been well-established in Phuket since 2008, was founded by the University of Cambridge. Located in the south of the island in the Rawai area, the school is situated on a large plot of land with a football field, covered outdoor playing area, tennis court, skateboarding ramp, trampoline, and school stadium.
Pupils are taught according to the Cambridge International programme, which is recognised worldwide. Schools following this programme can be found in 160 countries, allowing pupils to continue their studies when moving to another country.
The tuition fees range from 3,400 to 4,200 US dollars per year.
The BCIS Phuket School is located in Chalong and offers primary and secondary education. The school provides a choice of one of two curricula: either Cambridge or French one. About 400 pupils study at this school.
The school’s infrastructure is quite impressive, with a large number of specialty classrooms, including a hydroponics lab, a literature and language centre with a library, a robotics classroom, art rooms, an art workshop and a fashion design class, a theatre, a music studio, a photo lab, a planetarium with a full dome projection (the only one in Phuket), Olympic-size swimming pool, gyms and playgrounds for various sports, including rock climbing, tennis, and gymnastics.
All of these activities for children are available at a reasonable cost. The yearly tuition fees range from 6,300 to 10,300 US dollars. The nursery group allows children from 18 months of age.
The Buds School in Chalong specialises in childcare, preschool and primary education. It accepts children from the age of 18 months to 12 years.
Primary school pupils follow the Californian version of the American curriculum, with an emphasis on academic disciplines. Further education can be continued at another Phuket school following the American curriculum, such as QSI. A SAT diploma can be used to apply for universities in the USA or their affiliates in other countries.
Among the additional activities, there are football, music, cooking, swimming, art and a drama club.
The tuition costs from 4,000 to 4,500 US dollars per year.
QSI International School has been providing preschool, primary and secondary education based on the American curriculum since 2000. The school is located in a rural area of Kathu, near Chalong. Pupils are assessed according to the American SAT standard.
As for extracurricular activities, pupils of this school can acquire management skills, participate in athletics and basketball, engage in crafts, and learn to play the guitar as well as learn various languages, such as Thai, French, Spanish, and Russian.
The school accepts children to its preschool programme from the age of 2 years.
A small school with approximately 120 pupils is located in the central part of the eastern coast of the island. Education is provided in Finnish language according to the Finnish international programme. After graduating from this school, it is easy to enrol in Finnish universities and study for free in Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral programmes, which are equally accessible to local and international students.
Secondary education in Finland is recognised as one of the best in the EU. Some other countries are trying to adopt the practices of Finnish schools, which are renowned for their rich social life and attention to the psychological well-being of pupils. Schools in Finland lead the way in terms of low levels of stress and involvement in the learning process of all groups of pupils.
The school also offers Thai and Chinese courses. A unique feature of this school is that pupils are taught to properly interact with information technology and with other people through information systems starting from the preparatory classes.
Optionally, children can practise swimming, tennis, ice skating, dancing, horseback riding, robotics and programming as extracurricular activities.
Education costs from 6,200 to 8,500 US dollars per year.
This is another school with a British curriculum in Chalong that uses the British standards for IGCSE tests. Graduates of this school consistently achieve excellent results in these exams. It is one of the most popular international schools in Phuket, enrolling over 1,500 children for preschool, primary and secondary programmes. 64% of pupils are foreigners from all over the world; the remaining 36% are Thai citizens.
The teaching staff of the school consists primarily of British teachers with high pedagogical qualifications.
Preschool groups accept children from the age of 2 years. Education costs 7,000–11,200 US dollars per year.
This is another large international school providing preschool, primary and secondary education based on the British curriculum. The school uses IGCSE as its testing standard. Additional courses include Thai, Chinese, French, and German. The school offers a diverse range of sports (gymnastics, acrobatics, judo, tennis, swimming, soccer, rugby, yoga, basketball, volleyball, badminton, and strength training) and dancing clubs (hip-hop, cheerleading, modern dance, ballet, and jazz) with all the necessary infrastructure for these extracurricular activities. The school actively maintains a blog on its website.
Preschool groups accept children from the age of 2 years. Tuition costs 10,000–14,000 US dollars per year.
There are two more schools that have recently been granted international status, but not because they teach according to a foreign curriculum but because their pupils actively study English. These are Growing Minds International Kindergarten & Learning Center and Wittaya Sathid School. The first one focuses on creative growth of children, while the second follows a national education programme with a strong emphasis on English.
Transfer and boarding schools
Due to the underdeveloped public transport system on Phuket, all schools on the island offer transfer services: they pick up children from various areas and later take them home after a school day. If the child stays in school for extracurricular activities, their parent/guardian needs to pick them up.
Certain schools, such as the British International School and UWC Thailand, provide the opportunity for full boarding 24/7.
Student and guardian visas
After enrolling in school, the child may qualify for a student visa. Any of the schools will help with preparing and submitting the paperwork for this visa, which can be obtained even if the child is placed in a nursery. Based on the student visa issued for the child, one of their parents can live in Phuket on a guardian visa.