Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

About NIST

How is NIST different from other international schools in Bangkok?

Thailand has a very high ratio of international schools per capita compared to other countries in Asia, providing parents with an immense number of choices. However, most international schools in Bangkok offer only British or American curricula, with few other options available. NIST is one of only three full IB international schools, and the only one with not-for-profit status and a central campus in the heart of the city.

The IB philosophy permeates our school, and our values of integrity, caring, community and growth are central to our learning and actions. To inspire, empower and enrich our students, we diligently work to provide unique learning opportunities that you may not find at other international schools in Bangkok.

What Does NIST Offer that Other International Schools in Bangkok Do Not?

In addition to activities that encourage and challenge, such as Action Week and Challenge by Choice,  NIST partners with elite organizations around the globe to offer first-class programmes and resources. This includes partnerships with Chelsea Football Club, Harvard Business School and the Global Citizen Diploma.

While there are many international schools in Bangkok, few can offer the expansive facilities, resources and programmes available at NIST while also maintaining a strong, caring community.

How multicultural is NIST?

NIST was founded primarily to serve the children of expatriate families living temporarily in Bangkok. We also welcome Thai and other long-term, Bangkok-based residents who are committed to the mission of the school and can contribute meaningfully to our community.

Approximately 29% of student population is Thai, while the remaining 71% represents 50 nationalities. Learn more about our community here.

Can English language learners study at NIST?

NIST has a well-resourced English as an Additional Language (EAL) department, and in the elementary school we are able to  accept beginner English language learners. Because of the curricular demands in the secondary school, we are able to support intermediate and advanced level English language learners.

English is the language of instruction in all year levels and it is important that students are able to successfully access the curriculum within our available EAL support resources.  We may therefore limit the number of EAL students in each year level to ensure they have access to needed services and that strong English language standards are maintained throughout the school.

Does NIST offer learning support?

NIST is able to support students with mild to moderate learning differences, but we are not equipped or staffed to educate students with severe learning or physical disabilities. Children with minor learning differences or minor physical problems may be admitted if we determine that the differences can be accommodated in the regular classroom setting and existing learning support programmes, and if our environment is deemed to be the right fit for the student.

Should significant social/emotional issues or learning differences become apparent following enrollment in the school, we will consult with parents and strive to support the student within the extent of our resources and capabilities. However, we reserve the right to review a student’s progress. If we determine that we are unable to accommodate a student’s special needs, we will endeavor to direct parents to more suitable options in the best interest of the student.

Does NIST offer boarding?

We are a day school and do not have boarding facilities. Students must therefore reside with their parent(s) or other legal guardian appointed by their parents and live at a location within commuting distance to the campus.

How many students and teachers are there per class in each year level?

We recognize the need to maintain a student-teacher ratio that offers maximum opportunities for instruction and learning. In principle, the maximum number of students per class is as follows:

 
Year Level
Classes & Students
Teachers & Assistants
Early Years 12 classes, 18 students each1 teacher, 2 assistants
Early Years 23 classes, 19 students each1 teacher, 2 assistants
Year 15 classes, 20 students each1 teacher, 1 assistant
Year 25 classes, 23 students each1 teacher, 1 assistant
Years 3-65 classes, 23 students each1 teacher, shared assistant
Years 7-135 classes, 23 students eachN/A
In exceptional circumstances, a class may be increased by up to two spaces with the approval of the Head of School.

 

Admissions

Does NIST offer scholarships?

NIST only offers academic scholarships to students wishing apply for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (Years 12-13/Grades 11-12). Applications will only be taken from students who are not, and never have been, students at NIST. (Current and previous students of NIST are not eligible).

Application Criteria

  • Strong academic ability and scholastic potential
  • Excellent academic proficiency in English
  • Well-roundedness, with strengths in areas outside of academics
  • Readiness to undertake community service and extra-curricular activities

We accept scholarship applications during the month of February each year. Please contact admissions at admissions@nist.ac.th for further information.

What criteria do you use to make your admissions decisions?

The admissions process follows three stages:

  1. Completing the application, including the admissions assessments
  2. Being identified as admissible
  3. Entering the waiting pool

All children are unique, so we process each complete application individually. We must first be satisfied the child will be able to access and benefit from our educational programmes, meaning they must be admissible. This is why we require transcripts and perform admissions observations and assessments.

Admissible applicants will then be added to the waiting pool. We consider several factors when we review an admissible application in order to make a decision whether to extend an offer of enrollment. It is at this stage that we also give special consideration to families with UN employees when possible, in line with our relationship with that organization. Along with this, other factors include:

  • Age
  • Class size/space availability
  • English language proficiency
  • Previous school records and recommendation(s)
  • Siblings currently at NIST
  • IB programme experience
  • Nationality/ethnicity
  • Admissions test/academic ability
  • Extra-curricular/community involvement

Though all of these factors play a role in our decision, none guarantees acceptance, as they are considered as a whole. Placements for students who require EAL or learning support will also depend on availability of resources and the needs of our current students.

When should I submit an application?

Applications for August admission should be completed one year in advance. Mid-year applications by families coming to Thailand from overseas may be submitted at any time throughout the school year. In all cases we encourage families to visit our campus, if possible, before submitting an application. This gives us a chance to meet with you, answer your specific questions and give you a personal school tour.

What can I do to increase the chances of my child’s admission?

As a not-for-profit school, one of the few in Bangkok, our motivation is finding the most mission-appropriate students. This also means that we want parents who are well-aligned to our mission and ethos. Sometimes during the admissions process, parents will share with us ways in which they will contribute to the community if their child's application is successful, and this may be factored into our admissions decisions. But just as all children are unique, our admissions process takes into account a wide variety of factors, including the readiness of the child to access our curriculum; where additional support may be needed and our capacity for providing it; and our class capacity and cultural mix, which can vary between year levels.

Will my child have to complete any tests before they can begin classes?

Each child must be assessed before being considered for acceptance at NIST. The results of the admissions assessment help determine whether a letter of acceptance will be offered.

What is the application timeline?

Once you have submitted an online application, we try to contact you within a week to acknowledge receipt of the application. Although these applications can be submitted at any time, we maintain a relatively constant schedule for our annual planning:
  • Mid-September: Applications for the following school year open.
  • September - December: Families are encouraged to make an appointment to meet with a member of the admissions team and tour the campus.
  • January: Any outstanding records, such as report cards and transcripts, must be submitted.
  • February - March: The admissions team contacts families regarding assessment dates.
  • March - April: Admissions assessments take place, and the first acceptance letters are sent as spaces become available.
  • May - July: Acceptance letters continue to be sent as spaces become available.

 

Curriculum

What is NIST’s curriculum?

NIST follows the International Baccalaureate (IB) framework for its curriculum, while also incorporating its own unique courses. However, a curriculum is not simply the content that is taught; it also includes teaching methods, approaches, resources and assessments. For a more in-depth explanation of each of these areas, you can download our prospectuses on our pages for the IB Primary Years Programme (Early Years - Year 6), Middle Years Programme (Years 7-11) and Diploma Programme (Years 12-13).

Are students grouped into classes by ability?

Class placement is not based on ability, but is instead carefully considered to meet the academic and social needs of each student. Educational research has consistently demonstrated that planned implementation of mixed-ability classes results in equal or superior levels of performance. In line with our philosophy of inclusion and diversity, our teachers, administrators and learning specialists work together to place students in learning environments that enrich all learners.

How much homework is assigned?

We believe in assigning homework not as "busy work", but rather as a means of reinforcing concepts, building connections and practicing skills. The amount of homework students receive thus varies by year, teacher and subject. In general, NIST teachers provide enough work to challenge students, while still allowing time for extra-curricular activities. Additional details are available in the parent handbooks.

 

Living in Bangkok

What is the traffic like? Does the school provide transportation?

Traffic can be quite heavy in Bangkok, especially during rush hour, when a 15-minute drive on major roads can quickly change to an hour-long journey. To help families avoid the traffic, the Montri Transportation Corporation provides daily pick-up and drop-off services throughout the city. Additionally, students who travel on the BTS or MRT can take a courtesy shuttle from locations near the BTS to and from the school.

For more information about transportation and busing services, please visit our transportation page or contact the Admissions Office.

Where do most families live?

One of the great advantages of NIST is its central location in downtown Bangkok. We’re within easy reach of shopping centers, hospitals, dining, green spaces and entertainment the city has to offer. As a result, most NIST families choose to live near the school, and near public transportation. This also helps to substantially reduce the commute time to school.

We are unable to provide specific recommendations for condos, apartments or homes, but many real estate sites can be found through a Google search.

 

School Day

What time does school begin and end?

The daily schedule for students varies based on their year levels:
  • Early Years: 8:30 AM - 1:50 PM
  • Year 1: 7:30 AM - 1:50 PM
  • Years 2-13: 7:30 AM - 2:30 PM

Do students need to wear a school uniform?

Yes, each child attending NIST must wear the school uniform. Uniforms can be purchased at the school shop, which is open from Monday to Friday, 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM.

Does the school provide lunch and snacks?

NIST Catering operates the elementary and secondary cafeterias, as well as cafés in the Secondary Building and The Hub. All students have accounts created for them through the NIST Catering Campus Online system. This system can be topped up with funds via credit card or cheque, or by cash through the kiosks on campus.

Parents may choose to purchase a meal plan for elementary students, which includes a light morning snack. Secondary students are able to buy snacks and lunch with either cash or through their NIST Catering accounts.

Can my child be involved in extra-curricular activities (ECAs)?

Yes. NIST offers a wide range of ECAs for students in Years 2 to 13, and a more limited selection is also available for students in Early Years 2 and Year 1. These ECAs usually take place immediately after school, with activities for EY2 and Year 1 running from 1:50 to 2:30 PM, and activities for Year 1 to Year 13 typically running from 2:30 to 3:30 PM.

Times may vary for some ECAs, particularly sports. Additionally, some ECAs--most often those provided by external groups--require an additional fee.