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Denla British School, a strong international school with a Thai heart – an interview by MomScream

MomScream met Dr Toryos and Dr Temyos Pandejpong, sons of Aj Arn Pandejpong, the founder of the famous Denla Kindergarten schools. They told me key details of Denla British School (DBS) and after listening to them, I thought to myself “Oh my goodness, I really want my kids to study here!”

This school is very interesting. Speaking with them for 2 hours gave me the assurance that Denla British School is a strong international school with a Thai heart.

“Our concept is personal.” Dr Toryos said. Denla Kindergarden is a legend and it is the foundation for DBS.

“Denla Kindergarden has been operating for nearly 40 years. When our father was finding a school for his eldest child, he had an eye on a school that would require her to leave the house at 5 o’clock in the morning, and arrive back home very late indeed. Our parents decided not to send her to this school because our sister was only 3 years old at that time. So, they started thinking about building a school by themselves that was similar to a home-school concept. At first, they planned to close the school after she graduated. In the beginning, there were only 17 students who were all relatives and neighbours, and all studied for free, and there were only 3 teachers,” Dr Toryos recounted.

The fact that the school was small with small classes, meant that students were fully developed, happy, and successful. After that, there were rising demands from parents and Denla Kindergarden had to launch its second branch.

Years have passed where Dr Toryos and Dr Temyos went to study abroad and both have graduated with doctoral degrees (PhD). However, Ajarn Arn’s love and dedication for education have always stayed with them, driving the urge in them to develop a great education for Thai children. Dr Toryos said,

“We’ve realised that during the past 4-5 years, Thai parents have been disappointed with the Thai education system because it focuses too much on learning by memorising. Thailand’s Ministry of Education has the highest budget in the ASEAN region, but why is the Thai’s ranking in education among the lowest in ASEAN countries? Thai students’ English capability is also not good. So, Thai families have turned the focus to a holistic education that emphasises an all-round knowledge that doesn’t concentrate solely on Maths, Thai, and English.

Therefore, they’ve established Denla British School to respond to the Thai society’s demand. DBS focuses on developing student’s individual aptitudes with experienced and native English speaking teachers. DBS teachers have to go through an intense recruitment process. Another thing that makes DBS different from other international schools is the focus on technology for children with a Mac Lab certified by Apple.

I asked the two Drs about the curriculum, “why does it have to be the UK curriculum?” Dr Temyos, who has studied it well, explained, “the UK curriculum emphasises specialisms, expertise, and subject knowledge, while the US curriculum emphasises individualism. The UK curriculum focuses on the social aspect, teamwork, and seniors taking care of juniors. There are more traditions and a focus on manners in the UK curriculum. It is quiet in the cafeteria, for example, and also when there are a lot of people, we need to respect each other. These values are familiar to Thai families.” Dr Temyos told me to think of Harry Potter movies, and yes, it is exactly like that!

The distinctive character of DBS is also the founder’s attitude. Dr Temyos said, “There is no best curriculum model, but rather, the curriculum model that best suit us. But it’s better to eliminate all the models and build a new one. Our DBS enhances the UK curriculum from the best practice of leading independent schools in the UK because it is known that students from the UK top independent schools have more chance to get into top universities. This curriculum is one of the best. We encourage an entrepreneurship mindset, and we don’t forget to support Thai culture. So, students who study here can surely be happy in Thailand.”

Dr Temyos added, “Many international school students cannot write well. This is vital for getting into universities. DBS teaches students to write good essays.” This is a facet of academic excellence for all.

DBS is about an age appropriate development and a forward-looking vision aiming for university education. In sport and music, DBS encourages students to be able to play as many as they can. Dr Toryos said, “I once met a teacher who said, ‘Don’t let children lose their chance, because they can learn many things. It’s just us that we don’t have places for them to learn.’ At DBS, we have everything. Each year classes will study different music subjects until they can form music bands and ensembles, and for those who have exceptional talents, they will have extra individual lessons. About sport, we are dedicated to it. When students are in universities, they can play all sorts of sports. Students will have this at DBS, and they will not lose their chance.” While we were touring the school, I was wowed by DBS. DBS has a 11-rai size football field with athletic tracks around it, an indoor salt-water swimming pool, and teachers who used to be coaches to national athletes.

After talking to the two Doctors and explored the whole school, I feel that Denla British School is perfect, both in academics and technology. I met a classroom where a teacher used iPads to teach kids. The teacher said, “with the iPad, I know what students are interested in, so I can help them develop further.” There are also science labs where students could build resin models out of their ideas, and the Apple computer lab is also impressive. Art studios are full of equipment, and music studios are full of instruments. Moreover, there is a whole building for sport, and also a theatre, and dance studios. My kids could definitely discover their own selves, with the Principal who has extensive experience from a top independent boarding school in the UK and the best teachers with great EQs.

This is the perfect international school. Another thing that I like about this school is the two Doctors’ determination. It is very difficult to build this kind of school, and to build it from scratch. The two Doctors generously shared their advice. They are owners of the school who are approachable to parents. Sam, the school bursar, also told us that if students are exceptional academically or in the co-curricular area, they can win scholarships. The owners of this school support students and believe in a Thai student’s potential. To all mothers, please come and check out this school at