The best international schools in Asia understand that, in 2021, education is more than just academics, language skills, and a solid pathway to higher education. Getting into Oxbridge or the Ivies is a badge of honour but not the sole purpose.
Succeeding in life is equally about who you’re surrounded and nurtured by as a child. Among third culture kids, diplomat progeny, and youth who moved with their parents’ jobs, international schools provide a diverse student body where they could make friends and make sense of the world wherever they went after school and university.
In a survey of top international school admissions staff in key markets, 66% reported student wellbeing support to be a major factor in selecting the right school. “The impact of COVID-19 has raised awareness of strategic wellbeing provision in schools further to the point that, for more parents, it is now a stated requirement in school selection,” an ISC Research white paper said.
If you seek an international school that offers a well-rounded education and robust pastoral care in Asia, consider these institutions below:
Marlborough College Malaysia
For an international education that gives children a passport to a global future, head to Marlborough College Malaysia. Located in Iskandar Puteri, Johor, MCM is a fully coeducational and independent British boarding and day international school.
With outstanding academic results, Marlborough College Malaysia is one of the best in Malaysia, offering academic excellence with a healthy holistic approach for pupils. Coupled with international award-winning pastoral care, and set within a 90-acre purpose-built site, MCM provides opportunities for your child to flourish both in the classroom and beyond.
Facilities include an organic farm, a golf driving range, a lake for watersports, Olympic and beginner swimming pools, multiple rugby and football pitches, an athletics track, all-weather pitch, a high performance fitness centre, sports halls, a climbing wall, squash and tennis courts, a theatre, and design technology workshops. Spacious, verdant and well-equipped, it is an environment that sparks growth and enriches each MCM student’s development. It is an environment that sparks growth and enriches each MCM student’s development.
Ask boarders, however, and they’ll say the College’s greatest asset is its people. MCM’s boarding houses provide an unrivalled system of pastoral care. Housemasters and Housemistresses are supported by Resident Tutors, Dames, Tutors and other members of pastoral and support teams. They ensure young people in their care are safe, happy and healthy.
“The College is congratulated on its immersive culture of care and for the involvement of the whole community, through a wide range of well-being strategies and practices, in supporting the pastoral welfare of the pupils,” states a 2021 report by the Council of British International Schools.
What sets MCM apart is its shared heritage and close links with Marlborough UK — it is a sister school and not a franchise. MCM values and instils the same breadth of experience, intellectual rigour, creative joy, and sporting excellence as Marlborough UK. Graduates join the Old Marlburian network, a global community that includes the Duchess of Cambridge.
To learn more about what the Singapore Tatler describes as “The only authentic British boarding experience in Asia,” click here.
Tanglin Trust School
British-based curriculum tailored to Singapore, multiple pathways to university, over 95 years of experience, a campus with 50 nationalities represented, not-for-profit, outstanding exam and placement results — these are the features that set Tanglin Trust School students up for success in school, university and beyond.
Established in 1925, it is the oldest British international school in South East Asia, providing the English National Curriculum with an international perspective to children from three to 18 years old in Singapore.
Its location amidst a tech hub, and the heritage and nature areas of Rochester Park and Wessex Estate, reflects the kind of education that takes place within campus: established, holistic and future-forward.
Tanglin is also the only international school in Singapore to offer both A Levels and the IB. Outside classrooms, students make lasting friendships through the many arts, sports, outdoor education and co-curricular activities offered here.
Tanglin promotes and is committed to wellbeing based on the “PERMAH” and “Five Ways to Wellbeing” models for flourishing. The “PERMAH” model has six, equally important, aspects of wellbeing: Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Purpose, Accomplishment, Health. The “Five Ways to Wellbeing” model provides five actions that can build and enhance wellbeing: Connect, Be active, Take notice, Keep learning, and Give.
These models form the framework for its holistic Lifeskills curriculum programme across the school.
“Come and see for yourself a school repeatedly described by UK inspectors as outstanding and appreciate the full value of what we offer. We are most proud of the fact that our graduates are simply ‘good people’, who are prepared to flourish in, and make a positive contribution to, the world ahead of them,” says CEO Craig Considine.
Bangkok Patana School
As one of the most respected educational establishments in South East Asia, Bangkok Patana School knows what future-proof education is. Here, over 2,200 students from around 60 countries, from Foundation Stage right through Senior Studies, are nurtured to become lifelong learners who can adapt to an ever-changing world.
As they follow two excellent programmes — English National Curriculum and International Baccalaureate — they are getting the best intellectual, physical and social preparation for their futures.
Teachers here don’t merely give directions but work alongside the child in an open classroom. This encourages children to find meaning and value in their interests, which in turn gives them the confidence to share ideas and thoughts.
Here, student welfare is a key priority. Their wide range of extra-curricular activities provides a holistic approach to learning to ensure that their students graduate as well-rounded individuals ready for higher education and to positively impact society.
Charlie Golsby, who has been a student at Patana since Year 5, thinks he has developed a lot at this “great school”. He shares, “It helped me settle into living in Thailand and I’ve grown a lot. The school instils a sense of responsibility to not just yourself but to the community at large.”
New teacher Antony Wilson was sold on Patana from his first impressions. “I’ve worked internationally for more than 15 years so I know a well-resourced school when I see one; everything here is very purposeful.”
Wilson is committed to helping his pupils reach their goals again. “I am looking forward to seeing the kids grow and get their confidence back,” he says. “It’s been a difficult year for them. I can see they are getting to get back into a bit more normality, you can feel it ebbing back.”
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International