After his victory in the Asian Faldo Golf Series in Vietnam, a British International School, Phuket (BISP) student was invited by Sir Nick Faldo to participate in a team competition in the U.S.A. Soon after, another pupil won the China Boys HSBC Open Golf Tournament in Guangzhou by 11 clear strokes, a swimmer won 10 Gold medals in the Penang State Championships, and yet some other students took part in the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, one of whom won a gold medal. These and other such notable achievements are regular occurrences at BISP.
The school’s sports academy structure is a gauge for countless international schools in the region, but very few others can provide such facilities or match the quality of professional coaching needed to launch successful sporting careers directly from school.
BISP however, Headmaster Neil Richards argues, isn’t only about sports. Sporting success is merely one of the notable manifestations of the school’s approach to education.
In addition to impressive sport academies, there are also academies for STEM, Business, Digital Media, Design Technology and the Arts. The purpose is to harness students’ passion, which is all important in providing opportunities to develop lifelong learning and experiences beyond the eventual goal of sitting for examinations. At BISP, impressive examination success is viewed as a consequence of a good education, not as its purpose.
The curriculum is geared towards producing well-rounded individuals, and every student here learns to play a band or orchestral instrument and read music. To this end, they undertake annual external ‘Voice Examinations’ under the umbrella of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA).
Bands and choirs are established throughout the school, boasting artistic events such as Secondary and Primary productions, choir and instrumental concerts and art exhibitions. The school concert band has played at prestigious international venues such as Disneyworld Hong Kong and aboard the deck of the Rainbow Warrior. Previously, two students have been awarded Top in the World awards in Art & Design by the Cambridge Outstanding Learners awards programme.
In 2018, a team from the school won the MIT Launch X Challenge for the Asia/Pacific region and competed in the global finals in Boston, while another student represented Thailand at a British Council sponsored Public Speaking competition in London, the second year in a row a BISP student has represented Thailand there.
BISP has an outstanding academic record in IGCSE and International Baccalaureate examinations, with university matriculation averaging 95 percent over the last five years. In 2017, its senior class of 61 students enrolled in universities across 13 countries, with the highest percentage going to the U.K. and Australia, followed closely by U.S. universities.
In all, 42 students have been selected to represent their countries in major international competitions over the past four years, including football, tennis, golf, triathlon, swimming, martial arts, ice-skating, wakeboarding and Alpine skiing.
At the heart of the school is the Triple Helix philosophy, which recognises that education requires an emphasis on learning as well as development of both mental and physical wellbeing and passion. This guides the school towards its goal of providing a holistic and unparalleled education to all BISP students.
As the Headmaster explains, “It certainly helps to have a beautiful 44-acre campus with outstanding boarding and sporting facilities. Additionally, the staff turnover is among the lowest of any international school in Asia, which makes it easy to develop and strengthen shared values across our community. It is a very happy place.”
It is this happy mix of realism and idealism that grounds the school’s unique philosophy. For the young people in its care, it is the driving force that prepares them for successful and enriched futures.