Editorial Team

The slogan, ‘The Whole Person, The Whole Point,’ explains everything about Rugby School Thailand. With an education that goes well beyond the classroom, Rugby School nurtures the mind, body and spirit of its students, helping them grow holistically and succeed in all areas of life. “Just like our much-revered parent school, Rugby School UK, we focus on developing the whole person: in other words, a student who is not only academically able but also well-rounded. That is why our overarching ethos that informs all we do is ‘the whole person, the whole point,’” says Mr Bruce Grindlay, Principal, Rugby School Thailand.

Started with a collective vision to bring genuine British independent boarding school education to Thailand, Rugby School’s 80-acre campus sits in the majestic countryside of Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard near Pattaya, Chonburi and within easy reach of Bangkok. With the glorious setting, a wide variety of activities and expert pastoral care, students at Rugby School enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle. “We believe every day is an opportunity to develop intellectually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and culturally and achieve this through an extended school day, a full flexible boarding programme and a holistic approach that combines academic rigour with an award-winning enrichment programme. Our aim is to improve the outcome of every individual within our School,” shares Mr Grindlay.

A Creative Space for Innovative Minds

Rugby School Thailand encourages innovation and creativity in many ways and has been repeatedly praised in inspection reports for the way teachers integrate technology to enhance learning. The School recently won the ‘Innovation and Creativity in Learning’ award at the 2023 prestigious International Schools Awards (ISA). Mr Grindlay adds, “An award-winning Augmented Reality initiative that we developed last year is now in full use across our Design and Technology (D&T) programmes for 10 to 18-year-olds to help them assess, design and develop ideas.”

Students are always busy learning, playing and growing at Rugby School Thailand. The School has a highly well-resourced 80-acre campus with an additional outdoor education centre and surrounding facilities that include 6, 10 and 24km trails for hiking and biking close by. “We deliver over 60 different types of activities each term, from sport, sailing and scuba diving courses to drama, debate and robotics programmes that help our students to develop not only academically but in many other ways too,” explains Mr Grindlay.

Rugby School Thailand is not a ‘cookie cutter’ school, unlike many. “We wholeheartedly recognise that your child is an individual and, as such, their educational journey needs to be uniquely tailored if each student is to become confident and comfortable and able to develop the self-esteem and self-confidence necessary for a lifetime of success and personal fulfilment,” shares Mr Rob Groves, Head of Senior, Rugby School Thailand. The School’s enrichment programme has been awarded Beacon Status by The Council of British International Schools (COBIS).

An Exceptional Team of Teachers

All teachers at Rugby School Thailand are professionally qualified with at least two years of relevant experience, demonstrable through impeccable references. Almost all are UK degree holders with postgraduate certification, usually a UK-based PGCE certificate, in their specialised area. Many teachers and leaders within the School hold a Master’s or Doctorate level degree too. “We employ teachers of the highest calibre who offer not only a pathway to academic success and entry to the world’s top universities but also skills, interests and talents that support the delivery of our exceptional enrichment programme,” shares Mr Grindlay.

The student-to-qualified teacher ratio at Rugby School Thailand is 10 to 1, with many staff members offering further support in the classroom and elsewhere throughout the School. Classes typically have 20 students, but it varies depending on the age of the students. For instance, in Sixth Form (16+), class sizes tend to be around 10-14. “We pride ourselves on offering differentiated instruction that provides a bespoke educational journey for each child. Most classes are set by attainment and ability and are delivered by specialised teachers throughout the School,” asserts Mr Grindlay. From the age of ten, all subjects are taught by specialist teachers. This means teachers delivering each class are specifically knowledgeable, well-qualified, experienced and, very importantly, super enthusiastic about the subject they deliver, which helps with understanding and motivation.

Rugby School Thailand also has a team of experienced teachers and counsellors to help students attain A Level qualifications, which are widely recognised as the gold standard for university entry worldwide and support individual applications no matter what goal has been set. Mr Grindlay shares, “Most students go to university to study, many at world-renowned institutions, but others choose a placement in business, banking and industry. We have alumni studying and working in many countries, including the UK, USA, Canada, Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, Australia and Europe.”

Including the Parents in Action

Rugby School Thailand is ultra-modern in every aspect. The School uses a unique parent app called The Rugby Post to deliver essential information and instant messages. Parents are also informed of events happening throughout the School by sending a weekly roundup of what happened in the School each week via newsletter. “To ensure parents are kept informed, and students remain on the correct path for success, we also create detailed individual progress and achievement reports for each student twice a term (six per academic year),” says Mr Grindlay.

Rugby School Thailand offers formal sit-down ‘Parent and Teacher Conferences’ (PTCs) three times a year where teachers can discuss in detail with parents each individual child’s educational and developmental journey. Additionally, the School invites parents to email teachers and senior staff with a simple email request for a meeting anytime throughout the academic year. Parents also have the opportunity to join our ‘Parents’ Association’ (RSTPA). This association regularly meets with the Heads of School, the Principal and also the owners and founders of the School, which allows the parent community direct access to senior leaders and governors within the School. “Parents often meet teachers at drop-off and pick-up times each day, and we arrange regular coffee mornings and other informal events to bring teachers and parents together on campus each term,” Mr Grindlay.

Outsmarting the Pandemic Challenge

No doubt, COVID was a challenging time for schools worldwide. To counter it, Rugby School Thailand developed a unique online programme available to every student throughout the disruption caused by the pandemic. However, the School was better positioned, as it had world-class boarding facilities available to many students. This allowed Rugby School families to stay safe at home when required and permitted many older students to join a unique ‘boarding bubble’ that facilitated a return to face-to-face learning at a critical time in their education as many other schools remained closed.

“As COVID restrictions were lifted, the long-term benefits of boarding were realised by many of our families, allowing our boarding programmes to remain a powerful and important part of our school with numbers growing year on year ever since,” says Mr Grindlay. After Evaluating the efforts, COBIS Inspection Report marked Rugby School Thailand as a truly exceptional boarding school.

The Road Ahead

Rugby School Thailand has achieved much in only five years of operation, including awards in 2022 and 2023 at the prestigious International Schools Awards (ISA) and recognition as a ‘Beacon Status School’ from COBIS for its Boarding and Enrichment programmes. The School has also been recognised and accredited by several organisations, including The Council of British International Schools (COBIS), British Schools Overseas (BSO), Education Development Trust (EDT) and the International Schools Quality Mark (ISQM), Federation of British International Schools in Asia (FOBISIA) and the International Schools Association of Thailand (ISAT).

“Our immediate plan is to grow student numbers to a planned capacity of 1,400, shares Mr Grindlay. Rugby School Thailand has achieved full capacity in several year groups and currently houses 1,050 students. Mr Grindlay adds, “The focus over the next five years will be to add students mainly in our Senior School, with both organic growth as our full-year groups in the Pre-Prep and Prep Schools move up through the School, and also by seeking to recruit more well-matched Senior School students and overseas boarders for countries in Asia and beyond.”

Rugby School Thailand is keen to ensure its Sixth Form programme, for students aged 16 to 18, continues to develop as one of the best offerings from any British School in Asia. To help with this, different pathways for students who complete IGCSE courses at 16 have been developed with the addition of modern, new and creative A Levels courses. “Our growing team of university counsellors and careers advisers are looking for further opportunities to offer internships and professional work experience options that will give students as many choices as possible as they look to live beyond school,” pinpoints Mr Grindlay.

The School also wishes to attract students who would benefit from an education at Rugby School but who currently cannot gain a place as they need the required English language levels. To help this group of students, the School will launch an English for International Schools Saturday English programme in August 2023. This will add to the current support we can provide through EAL (English as an Additional Language) initiatives that have already proven successful for many in the School, especially those who join our boarding houses, as boarding with Rugby School Thailand is a great way to accelerate English language acquisition.

This year, the School has plans to launch the Thailand Old Rugbeians Association, as Rugby School Thailand is the only UK “sister school” whose alumni can become old boys and girls of the UK school association. It will give Rugby School Thailand students a real head-start as they seek connections to assist in jobs and career advice. “Of course, ‘the whole person is the whole point’ so the School’s award-winning and often applauded outdoor education programme will continue to develop, plus ties with our sister school will grow further as we begin a large-scale student exchange programme for students aged 14+ with Rugby School UK and Rugby School Japan in 2024,” concludes Mr Grindlay.

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About Mr Bruce Grindlay, Principal, Rugby School Thailand

Mr Bruce Grindlay read music at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he undertook Postgraduate studies. A highly accomplished organist, he was Director of Music at Christ’s Hospital from 2001 to 2009. He started his teaching career at Christ’s College in Brecon and Bedford School as a boarding housemaster. From 2009 until his arrival as Principal of Rugby School Thailand in 2021, Mr Grindlay was Headmaster of Sutton Valence School in Kent, a highly successful HMC and IAPS co-educational school for children aged two to 18.


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