“We have 33 more students than last year and I’m delighted that we now have over 100 boarders,” explains Clare Donovan, Head of Boarding at BISP.
The 103 students occupy four boarding houses surrounding a leafy, green quad on the vast BISP campus at the heart of Kathu.
The houses are named after famous Phuket beaches: Kalim (Year 11-13 senior boys), Nai Harn (Year 9-10 senior boys), Karon (Year 9-13 senior girls), and Rawai (Year 3-8 junior girls and boys).
The boarding population makes up approximately 10 per cent of the BISP student body. This population is diverse in terms of nationality, commitment and talent.
One third of the boarders are on scholarships, including athletes from the BISP Cruzeiro Football Academy/BISP Flying Fish Swim Academy and recipients of the Dr Arthit Academic Scholarship. Our elite swimmers include Asian Games and Youth Olympic competitors.
The Head Boy is a boarder, and among the other boarders there are a number of talented singers, musicians and actors.
But the one thing they all have in common is that they care about community, mutual respect and celebrating each others’ differences.
BISP boarding facilities are open to any BISP student, any time.
“We have a flexible approach to permanent and temporary boarding.
Two years, one week, two nights here and there; whatever suits the needs of the student and their family.
Or students may just need to avoid the commute for a few days, due to involvement in sporting or drama commitments ” Mrs Donovan comments.
“This can be especially helpful if parents need to leave Phuket urgently; they can place their child in boarding, safe in the knowledge that school commitments will not be interrupted, and that they will be well cared for.”
And what about the potential for students to become bored? “Bored in boarding? No chance!” Mrs Donovan says. “Everything we do is structured for an appropriate work/life balance. All BISP students experience time pressure, especially our Year 12s and 13s.
Our job is to help boarders maintain that all important study/down-time balance.
“We provide supervised study sessions five nights a week in a calm, quiet study environment conducive to effective learning.
But on the other hand, we hold film nights, BBQs and provide weekend activities from surfing to spa visits, kayaking trips to restaurant dinners.”
It’s worth noting that as part of the school’s non-profit ethos, money is regularly invested back into the BISP boarding houses, going towards upgrading the facilities.
In addition, as numbers continue to grow, Ms Donovan is already considering opening a fifth boarding house.
In November, the BISP boarding team will also host the South East Asia 2014 Annual Boarding Conference, where Heads of Boarding and House Parents from international schools in Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia and Hong Kong will come to Phuket to share professional experiences, and discuss strategies to better meet boarding student needs.
After all, they’re collectively looking after some of the brightest young minds in Asia.
The BISP boarding team would love to hear from you! For more information on boarding at British International School, Phuket contact Head of Boarding Mrs Clare Donovan: firstname.lastname@example.org