In most parts of Asia, education is regarding as a privilege and something that should be respected. International schools, particularly boarding schools, maintain exceptionally high standards, with parents from across the region choosing to send their children away to boarding school as they get older. They believe that they will further their education, gain greater independence, and be encouraged to use their initiative to a far greater extent than in a state school or some international schools.
For the last couple of decades, it is has been noticeable that an increasing number of expats in Singapore and Hong Kong have chosen to send their children to boarding school. It is more evident in Hong Kong, where there are obvious links to a colonial past, meaning that a British international school in Hong Kong would be attractive for families of expats and locals. In this article, we will examine what options are available across Asia.
Why choose a boarding school in Asia?
Boarding schools globally have a reputation for developing independent and confident individuals who achieve their potential and enjoy success in later life, and indeed, this is no different in Asia. As many expat jobs are transient, selecting a boarding school means less disruption to their children’s schooling should parents be forced to move countries. Generally speaking, the facilities at boarding schools across developed Asia are outstanding, with a more significant amount of opportunities presented to students.
However, it is crucial to recognise that boarding schools aren’t for everyone as some pupils do become homesick and struggle to make new friends. Still, for the majority, the experience is an enjoyable one.
Harrow School Hong Kong is the sister school of Harrow School in the UK, a school that has a rich heritage dating back to 1572. There are four Harrow Schools in Asia, with the one in Hong Kong opening in 2012. The boarding school has established a reputation for excellence and offers students a “broad-based learning experience”. Naturally, the school offers the British curriculum from early years (K1) to Sixth Form (Y13), with students studying for iGCSEs and then A-Levels.
Most students go on to further education, with the majority studying at universities in the UK and being incredibly successful in their chosen fields. Boarders thoroughly enjoy the experience with a vast range of extracurricular activities available for students.
Jinseki International School (JINIS) is the first and to date only British international boarding school in Japan, having only opened in 2020. The school offers the British National Curriculum and is situated amongst the Chugoku Mountains. As you would expect, the school has very high standards and promotes academic excellence along with a healthy lifestyle. Students are expected to learn both English and Japanese and develop a global mindset.
Boarders can enjoy a range of extracurricular activities including, horse riding, golf and skiing. JINIS intends to create a family atmosphere, but students are expected to be independent and self-reliant. All students receive high levels of pastoral care to ensure that they are settled.
Branksome Hall Asia is the sister school of Branksome Hall Canada and is a boarding school situated on Jeju island. It is regarded as perhaps the best all-girls school in Asia. It offers students the opportunity to study the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, Middle Years Program and Primary Years program. The school is proud of its challenging approach to learning and aims to produce strong leaders who adopt a global mindset. There is a strong emphasis on building self-confidence and public speaking.
The facilities are outstanding, including those for boarders who can once again enjoy an extensive range of extracurricular activities to gain a broader education.
Marlborough College Malaysia is the sister college of Marlborough College in the UK. It is situated close to the boarder of Singapore and is regarded as one of the best boarding schools in Malaysia, offering the British Curriculum. They have a preparatory school for students aged between three and thirteen and a senior school for students up to 18. Of course, iGCSEs and A Levels are the courses followed, and the school welcomes students from around the world.
Boarding is available from Year 5 to Year 13 and is an experience that the majority of students enjoy, with the housemistresses having an excellent reputation. The school has an outstanding record of academic success while also offering a range of out of school activities.
Like many international boarding schools in Singapore, St. Francis Methodist School has close links with the Methodist or Catholic churches. The school was originally an all girls’ school until it was taken over by the church in 1994 and now welcomes both girls and boys. St Francis offers a comprehensive range of curricula, including British, Singaporean and Australian for senior school students. They offer a “nurturing” learning experience and follows “The Word of God” to give a complete spiritual and academic experience.
For boarders, they can expect a strict but fun experience with an extensive range of extracurricular activities available. The facilities are superb, and the school has a fantastic reputation for academic success with students going onto further education in Singapore or around the world.
The Rugby School Thailand has a close affiliation with one of the oldest and best independent schools in the UK, the Rugby School. The school is one of the most modern in Thailand, opening its pre and prep-school in 2017 and senior school in 2018. It is located on the outskirts of Pattaya and offers the British curriculum. The school welcomes students from K1 to Year 13 with students at senior school studying for iGCSEs and A-Levels. Although in its relative infancy, the school has already gained a reputation for academic excellence with the early leavers going onto universities, mainly in the UK.
The boarding facilities are state-of-the-art and with numerous out-of-school activities available to students meaning that they will never become bored or feel homesick. The Rugby School welcomes students from around the world and is built on an 80-acre site.