King Rama IX commemoration day 2019

Today, we commemorate the passing of the late King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej, known as the King Rama IX, he reigned Thailand since 9 June 1946 until his death on 13 October 2016, making him the longest-reigning monarch ever in Thailand’s history.

We held a special occasion and meaningful moment at our school last week in remembrance of Thailand’s beloved King. Pre-Prep assembly started with the Royal anthem, followed by a beautiful video and PDF presentation that focused on a great man’s lifetime and how he had lived and worked for his people.

We held a special occasion and meaningful moment at our school last week in remembrance of Thailand’s beloved King. Prep assembly started with the Royal anthem, followed by a beautiful video and the below PDF presentation that focused on a great man’s lifetime and how he had lived and worked for his people.

Year 8 pupils then shared their respectful perspective to the King, which was followed by our Headmaster’s speech, to honour the late king to our all of our pupils. Mr. Nigel Westlake stated that the King’s way of life was very much an identification of what our school motto’s meaning truly resembles, and that he was a perfect example for what ‘the whole person, whole point‘ truly means.
Lastly, all pupils sang together for a beautiful rendition of ‘Kings in fairy tales‘. View the video below to gain a sense of this emotional song and witness how the story unfolds through the video.
The King Rama IX left an important message for the Thai people, which was to not remember who he was, but more importantly remember what he did. We encourage our Rugby School Thailand pupils to follow the king’s steps by being a good person and doing honest, helpful and kind things. 
King Rama IX, Bhumibol Adulyadej remains forever in our hearts here at Rugby School Thailand, and we pay our most profound respects on this remembrance anniversary 2019, from the board of directors, management, and staff of Rugby School Thailand.

A public announcement

Dear staff, parents and students of Rugby School Thailand.

On 10th of July 2019, my husband, Nataphol Teepsuwan, received the Royal endorsement from His Majesty the King Maha Vajralongkorn to became Thailand’s Minister of Education. The Teepsuwan family is humbled and forever grateful for the Royal appointment and the trust from the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O Cha. However, to avoid conflict of interest as Nataphol is the top policy maker in the Education portfolio, I have to resign from the position of Chief Executive Officer, School license holder and Governor of Rugby School Thailand – effective immediately. We apologise for the short notice as the appointment to this honourable and prestigious position cannot be predicted.

Education has always been our passion. We are fortunate to be have been able to create a unique private education institution to enhance the development of children in so many ways. This new path of Nataphol will lead to greater education improvement for the country as a whole which is even more critical. The experience that we have had in the RST project (many thanks to all of you) will surely contribute towards the development of education in Thai society.  Whilst the RST dream is not yet complete, our priority must be the greater good of Thailand. We have to acknowledge and accept the consequences.

Our aim is naturally to ensure that this change has as little impact upon Rugby School Thailand, particularly its children, as possible. The day-to-day running of the school’s administration will accordingly continue to be led by our Executive Committee, our COO, our CFO, and our General Manager; all educational matters will continue to be addressed by our experienced Heads and their senior management teams; we will continue to benefit from the advice and guidance of Rugby School UK; and RST’s Governing body will continue to focus upon the key strategic and financial decisions. In other words: ‘business as usual’.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board of Governors for all your kind support, along with a great working relationship, throughout the time. I know that Rugby School is in very good hands and that the school will continue to develop and thrive in the terms and years to come.

Sincerely Yours,

Taya Teepsuwan

In response to Khun Taya’s announcement, we would like to add that on behalf of all the management, staff and students of Rugby School Thailand. We offer our sincere gratitude for all that you have built and contributed towards establishing a truly unique international school, and for all of your dedicated hard work in leading the plans to bring together a magnificent school combined with talented staff that will continue to operate and provide an education like no other. We wish you the best of luck, and send our blessings with you on your next steps.

The Louise Ball Prize for Creative Writing

Portrait of Louise Ball

At Prep Speech Day today our Senior School Head, Alan Ball, presented a new award in the Prep school: The Louise Ball Prize for Creative Writing. This new prize has been created in honour of Alan’s late wife, Louise, who passed away suddenly at the beginning of this academic year, a tragic loss for all who knew her, and especially for us in the Rugby School Thailand community.

In one short year at RST Louise made a lasting impact on the school. While teaching English to Prep pupils, she was also realising her dream job as the school’s Founding Librarian. To “be with books” (in Alan’s words) gave her complete joy, and fostering a passion for books and reading in children came naturally to her.

Her own childhood was spent on a dairy farm with limited Television, so books were her escapism and reading sparked a light in her. Just two weeks before she passed, Louise was thrilled to be able to spend a day in a book fair in Bangkok, choosing books for our libraries.

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every

syllable that is spelled out is a spark”

Victor Hugo

Louise wanted the Pre-Prep library to be a bright, homely, comfortable, and relaxing space for our youngest readers, so she was hard at work knitting cushion covers for cushions she planned to scatter around the floor. This project is being completed by some of Alan’s work colleagues back in Australia, and by Louise’s colleagues here at RST.

When the ‘Louise Library’ was unveiled in October 2018, the absence of its founder was profound. But in the same way that the library holds her hallmark, we see the Louise Ball Prize for Creative Writing as a fitting legacy, recognising the young writers of RST who are bringing words to the world and continuing to spark joy.

A huge congratulations to Ira Tantsyura for winning the inaugural Louise Ball Prize for Creative Writing.

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“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”

Maya Angelou (one of Louise’s most-loved authors)

5 Benefits to boarding

Our aim in the boarding houses at Rugby School Thailand is to create a  happy place where children feel relaxed and supported, but there are also many other benefits to a positive boarding experience. Here are our top 5:

Expert pastoral guidance

In the homely environment of our boarding houses our House Parents and House Deans ensure good guidance to their boarders. This stretches from developing core values and supporting any personal issues a child might be experiencing, to strict rules on mobile and screen usage, to help children build interpersonal skills and discover new hobbies.

Less time commuting, more time engaging

Everyone knows commuter hour is busy, particularly in cities like Bangkok where the journey to and from school can take up many precious hours of the day. The boarders at Rugby School Thailand cut out the commute and instead enjoy a short walk along green pathways to get to class. This means they have more time to engage – with friends, in lessons, during free play, with new hobbies.

“Boarding is such a unique environment; the children are away from their own homes, but they become part of a ‘family of friends’”

Tim Jones, House Parent for Marshall House

Friendships for life

The friendships made in our boarding houses are incredibly strong. There is a sense of family community that comes from living together, caring for and supporting each other, and enjoying free-time together. Some of the deepest-rooted friendships develop amongst boarders.

A sense of independence

From the first boarding years through Prep, to the last ones in Sixth Form, we build a sense of independence in children that helps them through life. For example, children make their own bed and are encouraged to help with laundry, or with loading the dishwasher after snacks. This all contributes to our boarders leaving school with a mature attitude and prepared for the demands of university.

Incredible facilities in the ‘back garden’

The facilities at Rugby School Thailand become part of your home environment. This means playing fields are a back garden for boarders, and swimming in the school pools, exploring the nature trails around the grounds, and camping in the Outdoor Education Centre are regular activities. Life on campus is dynamic and inspiring, but we also take boarders to a whole host of exciting local place on weekend excursions.

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“My favourite thing about boarding is the bonds we can make with friends”

Nina (Year 7)

“The house staff get on really well, they are good friends, and it makes the house feel like a big family”

Milly (E Block)

“The food is delicious”

Mischa (Year 8)

“You don’t have to get up early, which is good because we have more time to sleep and more time to do work”

Tim (LXX)

Being Human: Pastoral Care at RST

“A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone”. So says Matt Haig, author of ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ which confronts the reality of rising rates of stress and anxiety in our technological era.

As a school we have pastoral responsibilities to keep our children happy. We offer them a positive, nurturing environment to learn, while also aiming to give them the tools to adapt to the challenges posed by the changing world around them. Educational philosopher, Guy Claxton, looks at the way many schools purport to “(prepare) their students for a ‘lifetime of change’”, but how the difficulty is to “prevent these fine words slipping back into a concern with improving examination performance”. Academic excellence will always be a key focus for us, but the development of wider interests, character and core values is equally vital. The emphasis on developing the human in such a fast-paced technological world is a fundamental part of our pastoral care here at Rugby School Thailand.

With a prevailing era of wellbeing, the benefits of self-care and mindfulness within organisations have become widely recognised. Wellness (in its holistic sense), promotes happiness, which enriches performance. It is deep in our DNA to devote time to physical health (after all, our roots lie in the very school that invented the game rugby), but we also whole-heartedly believe in the power of emotional health. The Rugby school motto is ‘the whole person, the whole point’, and our holistic approach to education underpins this. Much of the learning here happens far beyond the classroom walls, with activities that nurture mind, body and spirit, across the 80-acres of countryside we have at our disposal.

Studies have shown that simply exposing children to nature can reduce stress by as much as 28%, while also improving mood and cognitive performance. Nature distracts from civilized life and allows the mind to ‘be’ in an age of connectivity where there is little time for that. Our daily sports programme, sailing lakes and a unique Outdoor Education Centre (where children can learn the likes of archery and bushcraft), mean exposure to nature is part of life here.

Nature aside, one of the reasons we dedicate a large portion of our timetable to co-curricular activities and sport is for children to indulge their curiosity and discover new things that make them tick. It gives every child a chance to excel in a fun and social environment, and ignites passion for continual learning.

Dr Nick Bayliss notes the extraordinary benefits of simple social activities, such as community action. He says it “elevate(s) ones happiness, physical health, self-respect and sense of being able to make a difference”. The simple act of doing good for (and with) others, is actually doing good for yourself. Our pupils experience this self-service regularly through our Community Action Programme (CAP), which this year has seen RST senior students working alongside the Wat Koh school in Rayong to host a charity Fun Run that raised money for lunches and sports facilities that need additional funding at Wat Koh. The feel-good factor at the event was palpable.

So while technology has advanced even within the space of this article, and the world remains forever unpredictable, our hope is to provide a steadfast space at RST where pupils are happy and healthy. Somewhere that never loses sight of the human, and the importance of the whole self. Somewhere to learn the art of adaptability, so whatever this fast and nervous planet throws at them, our children are more than able to cope.

Holiday Camp at Rugby School Thailand

Children jumping in a sports day race

Behind the scenes… the staff football team

We’re going behind the scenes with Mark Symmonds, our ‘Year 1 Sharks’ teacher who helps manage the staff football team.

Why do you think having something like this is important?

We have a huge campus and the school is growing all the time, so we don’t cross over with other areas of the school as much as we’d like. The football team brings a group together and allows us to make better connections as individuals, as well as giving better understanding of each other’s personal strengths at school. Many of the staff I’ve employed for the RST Holiday Camp have come off the back of learning their characters when playing for our team.

What’s your role within the staff football team?

Due to my aging bones I have taken a step back from playing and become the manager of the team ensuring we are competitive on the pitch. I have been tasked with communicating with the league on the fixtures, arranging the team for each game and bringing us together at the end of each season to celebrate our successes.

Who do you play against?

We play in a two-division six-a-side league and we are currently in Division One. The teams consist of a range of nationalities. There are some teams from the local area, teams from other local and international schools, as well as teams from Russia and other parts of the world.

Are the matches just a bit of fun, or do you take them quite seriously?

Initially it began as a bit of fun but as we played more we realised that we were able to compete and so it has become a little more serious. We ensure that we give everything we have on the pitch and support one another no matter the result; just as we do with the children in school.

How do you feel after football each week?

Win, lose or draw (and even if we are a little sore) we enjoy getting together after the game to celebrate our success and discuss where we can be better next match. The bonds that we have developed has been a real positive to being part of the team.

What are your future hopes and aspirations for RST’s football team?

Much the same as I say to the children I teach, we all just need to keep improving and aiming a little higher each time. We won promotion in our first season, as well as the Vase, so securing our place in the First Division and then pushing on for more success from there. With the new intake of staff we’re planning to create two teams next academic year, so we can involve more people. I think the aim is to have one more competitive team, and a team for staff who want to keep it more fun.

Marcus Large kicking the ball in a Rugby School Thailand staff football match Friends cheering the Rugby School Thailand staff football team


Spring Camp 2019

While RST students disappeared off for the Songkran break, two adventurous young tribes descended on our campus. Divided into ‘Panthers’ and ‘Peregrines’, the children taking part in our day and boarding Spring Camp were able to experience one of the best holiday camps Thailand has to offer.

‘With a schedule full of activities such as zip-lining, archery, mountain biking, STEM, ‘The Tower of Power’, rugby, sailing and trips to local attractions such as the Elephant Sanctuary, it would be hard to pick just one highlight’ says Camp Director, Mark Symmonds. ‘Spring Camp concluded with a Grand Finale where children, parents and camp staff could reflect on what was an amazing eight-days. The children had all tried something new, learned something new, made a new friend, and become stronger people from their time at camp.’

Mark Symmonds, Camp Director

We could tell you more about what went on at Spring Camp, but why not watch the video and see for yourself why we’re on track to become one of the top holiday camps in Asia.

‘We’re now getting excited about the three-week Summer Camp in July, where we will build on the success of the Spring Camp and add even more amazing activities, lessons and excursions’ says Mark. ‘There’s a reason our holiday camps keep booking up so fast!’

The Summer Camp is sold out, but we’ll be announcing new holiday camp dates soon… so watch this space.

A boy choosing lunch at Rugby School Thailand Holiday Camp
Lots of children toasting marshmallows at a camp fire - Rugby School Thailand

Holiday Camp at Rugby School Thailand

Rugby School Thailand’s new PJ Tennis Academy

This term we’ve unveiled our brand new tennis courts, along with a world-class coaching programme run by Paradorn Srichaphan (former #1 tennis player in Thailand and #9 world ranking), and Jed Gould (former Australian #1 Junior tennis player, 20 years tennis coaching experience in Australia).

High-quality porous tarmac

Our four new courts are constructed from a traditional hard court surface material, known as the painted porous macadam surface. Our new court surface is constructed from the same material that is used at the Australian Open. Favoured as a middle ground, it allows for faster play than clay courts, but remains slightly slower than grass, and is often described as offering a true bounce. The court is designed to lower impact on the joints and lower limbs, making it ideal for well-paced tennis matches and training.

Spectacular floodlit courts

RST’s courts feature a state-of-the-art innovative lighting system, powered with a high stability output. Our LED floodlit courts offer players high efficiency and high power from precise lighting and directional aim. Featuring a built-in anti-glare system, players are able to play and train undisturbed throughout the evening.

Professional tennis academy

Paradorn and Jed will oversee our new coaching programme – within what is known as the ‘PJ Tennis Academy’ – and will pay regular visits to RST. Every coach working for the academy will be of international standard. We currently have Igor Trachenko here, who has been coaching directly for Paradorn Srichaphan at his International Tennis Academy in Hua Hin. Igor is working with pupils from aged 3 years up to elite level.

Expert coaching, from award-winning tennis players

Khun Varunya Wongteanchai (Yuyii)

Rugby School Thailand is proud to announce that we offer world-class coaching from one of Thailand’s top tennis players – Khun Varunya Wongteanchai (Yuyii). Khun Yuyii boasts a record of awards from her time playing in various tournaments. Dedicated to the sport, she strives for success and teaches extraordinary tennis skills that will last a lifetime. For a glimpse into her success, see the below list.

  • Winner Women’s Single under 18 Thailand King Cup 2011
  • Winner Women’s Single Thailand King Cup 2012
  • Winner Women’s Doubles $10,000 Indonesia 2014
  • Winner Women’s Single Singha tatp tour Impact tennis academy 2014
  • Winner Women’s Doubles $10,000 at Ramagardent Hotel 2014
  • Winner Women’s Doubles $15,000 at True Arena Huahin 2017​
  • Winner Women’s Doubles $15,000 at the lawn tennis association of Thailand 2017
  • Winner Women’s Doubles $25,000 Pune, India 2017​


Igor Trachenko

Igor Trachenko has been coaching for Paradorn Srichaphan in Hua Hin at the Paradorn International Tennis Academy. He works with students aged 3 years to elite level. He is Russian, and also speaks English fluently and a little Thai. He has completed a degree is sports science, majoring in sports management. His tennis profile is as follows:

  • National Top 10 player in Russia as a junior player
  • Top 20 ranked Russian junior Under 18.
  • Thai National junior ranking top 10 in Under 14 and Under 16.
  • Winner of 80 competitions/tournaments
  • Champion of Siberia and Far East juniors and seniors
  • 8 years coaching experience in Russia and Thailand”



When you’re green, you’re growing

A boy jumping at sports day, Rugby School Thailand A canoe on the lake at Rugby School Thailand

By virtue of our lush emerald surroundings, we are constantly reminded to think green. While our pupils enjoy activities outside and the nature around them, we ask them in return to take responsibility for this environment. In doing so they can not only enhance the world around them, but reap personal rewards, broadening their outlook in life and developing good values.

We firmly believe that ‘when you’re green, you’re growing’ and make this attitude part of the educational experience at Rugby School Thailand. With the city smog of Bangkok some 140km away we feel truly grateful for our green surroundings and fresh country air – but it’s a close reminder of increasingly alarming environmental issues.

Runners getting ready at Rugby School Thailand's largest lake (aerial shot) Students learning about growing produce at Rugby School Thailand

The news on global warming, pollution and animal extinctions can be overwhelming, but our actions as individuals can make a difference. “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” (Margaret Mead). We all have choices, we need to change our behaviours and make the right ones to meet the UN Global Goals for Sustainability. Because there is no Plan(et) B.

At an Eco Beasts Action Day attended by a select group of RST pupils, a speaker pointed out that ‘children are 20% of the population, but 100% of our future’. This is why Mrs Dawson has recruited a passionate Eco Club within the school. These pupils make an excellent body of green ambassadors for their peers, developing initiatives such as poster campaigns promoting energy saving and waste reduction.  They have had fun doing recycling craft projects such as making bags out of old t shirts, decorations from rolled newspapers and planters from plastic bottles.

A teacher with students learning about green energy at Rugby School Thailand Pupils learning about kinetic energy at Rugby School Thailand

As a school, we have recycling bins throughout the campus. Our on-site café, Scrummy, offers discounts to anyone using their own cups. Staff and pupils are encouraged to use their own water bottles, rather than paper cups by the water dispensers, and paper shopping bags are available in the school shop to minimise the use of plastics at all. These initiatives help remind people within RST to reduce, reuse, recycle.

As the campus here develops, we do our best to be sustainable; planting trees, growing produce, preserving areas for wildlife and adding ecosystems with our school lakes. We are also working with BANPU INFINERGY to install solar panels across the campus, and these already produce almost 30% of our energy (a figure set to increase substantially). Project week this year focused on power and renewable energy, which we were able to demonstrate live in action. We are constantly reminding pupils to be environmentally conscious – the hope being that this attitude becomes second nature and that every child leaves RST with an innate sense of duty towards the world.

A solar powered tuktuk at Rugby School Thailand A solar powered tuktuk at Rugby School Thailand

As motivational speaker Denis Waitley says, “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” So, we are accepting responsibility and doing our best to counter some of human assault on the world. We may only be a few caring people, but we’re here to change the world.


Behind the Scenes… at the Prep boarding house

Behind the scenes with Tim & Fliss Jones, our Prep Boarding House Parents, who tell us why the multi-cultural ‘family’ in Marshall House is so special.

Tell us a bit about what you do?

As House Parents, our role is to provide pastoral support and guidance to the children in their home away from home. Boarding is such a unique environment; the children are away from their own homes, but they become part of a really unique family environment here. They are loved and supported, and develop a deep sense of loyalty, responsibility, kindness and courage, helping them to thrive in other areas of school life, as well as nurturing characteristics to see them into adult life.

How do you create such a warm ‘home from home’ environment?

A lot of it comes from the children themselves. Boys and girls, across all age groups and nationalities, come together as one big family in a very natural way. They genuinely look out for each other, 24 hours a day, every day of the week. We see our children here develop such a strong sense of loyalty towards Marshall House, and it’s a very happy place for them to be.

The sense of community here is something special. We seem to have drawn on the best of the traditional British Prep School model – keeping pupils active and entertained, nurturing individual interests and community spirit– whilst drawing on top qualities from the international system – notably the empathy and understanding that comes from the wonderful mix of different cultures, and the lifelong friendships it fosters. Ask any of the boarders what they love about it here, and friendship will be top of the list.  Marshall House is a unique ‘family’ of friends.

How do you keep everyone entertained and happy?

As well as the in-house team (us, the assistant House Parents, Penny and Steve, and the house matron, Amanda) we have a rota of Prep staff who bring an extensive range of evening activities into the mix. It includes everything from fun sports, to more relaxed or creative options. Some of the more popular activities have been dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, face painting, drama, slime-making, baking, photography and Mr Dawson’s famous Scottish dancing!

On weekends, highlights include going to the beach, catching the latest movie, ten-pin bowling, exploring some of Thailand’s best water parks, trampolining, laser tag, pizza-making, ziplining, rock-climbing, marshmallows around the campfire… the list goes on and on.

How does boarding fit with the school ethos, ‘the whole person, the whole point’?

The ‘whole person, the whole point’ aims to help pupils reach their potential not just academically, but also in sports, music, the arts, drama and equally in the formation of their character, morals and manners. Boarding provides a supportive environment where we actively encourage all of these things; but also where pupils are happy and healthy, allowing them to make the most of all the activities offered to them throughout the long school day. Instead of travelling long distances or sitting in traffic each day, boarding pupils can immerse themselves in all that Rugby School Thailand has to offer. And that’s a lot, right on their doorstep!

A group of children in the boarding house at Rugby School Thailand