British Ambassador opens International School of Samui (ISS)
Bophut, Koh Samui…August 31, 2010--The British Ambassador to Thailand, His Excellency Quinton Quayle, was a special guest of honour at the ‘International School of Samui’ (formerly ‘Bluewater) opening on Thursday, August 26th.
The ceremony, organised by school founder and principal Jeremy Lees and newly named Headmaster, Michael Cook, was primarily attended by the teachers and staff.
The teachers and school staff, enjoying an al fresco buffet lunch in the newly renovated patio cafeteria, were delighted to be part of the ceremony and have the opportunity to meet the British Ambassador.
Throughout the attractive school grounds, newly designed and enhanced over the summer, teachers and staff gathered together in anticipation of the Ambassador’s appearance with the British Consul on Samui, the Honourable David Covey.
It was a beautiful day as the Ambassador began his walking introduction to teachers in their classrooms - to learn more of this amazing example of international education in Thailand.
Following his touring of the grounds, he participated in a local televised interview with Khun Mananya Pantavatee (Art & Design Teacher at ISS and Miss Koh Samui 2009) to those gathered. At the site an engraved wooden plaque commemorated the occasion, the carved message festooned by flowers, reads: “The International School of Samui opened by Her Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand, His Excellency Quinton Quayle on 26th August 2010”.
The ceremony was held to recognise the achievement of being awarded the first international school license on Koh Samui. The prestigious award signifies ISS is now accredited as an International School by the Thai Ministry of Education, The Council of British International Schools (COBIS), Edexcel International Examinations and the Independent Schools Association of Thailand (ISAT). “The Licence from the Thai Ministry of Education means we are the first and only school in South East Thailand to be licensed to be an International School”, explained Founder and Principal Lees, “and that the school is operating properly and to international school standards as the only school on Koh Samui formerly regulated to do so by the Thai Government”.
The Ambassador said he was delighted to visit Koh Samui and ISS, commenting, “I am happy to be visiting Samui and hope to take a little time to enjoy the natural beauty of the island. I am keenly interested in learning more about UK expatriates’ needs and issues, especially in the areas of healthcare and education in Thailand. We are interested in championing and supporting British schools, such as ISS, which are an example of the strength of the United Kingdom.”
Headmaster Michael Cook agreed, noting, “ISS now serves as a ‘model’, a school that in only four years has been transformed into a ‘Private English School’, with the same standards as those in the UK – with a standard British Curriculum taught by all British teachers.”
After touring the school the Ambassador, who speaks fluent Thai, congratulated the teachers and staff in their accomplishments, in English and Thai. H.E. Quayle said how pleased he was to be at the ceremony to celebrate this success and was delighted to learn more about education for British citizens living in Thailand.
H.E. Quayle’s ambassadorship is actually his second posting in Thailand - the last posting was 30+ years ago in 1979 when he was assigned to the political desk in Bangkok with Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
As Ambassador, he is well aware of the large population of the many UK citizens living in and visiting Thailand, which also holds true for Koh Samui. The UK has the largest number of expats, of any country, in Thailand and he believes it is important to be aware of what is available for UK expatriates. H.E. Quayle considers the safety and welfare of these expats and visitors the highest priority of the embassy, and ranks the task as one of his job's most meaningful.
Fluent in both Thai and Royal Thai (and French and Romanian), he surprised ISS teachers and staff when he shared his language commitment with them. He reported that as a Thai speaker, he has been able to meet and converse with Thai people from all walks of life, as well as the extensive British Community living in various parts of Thailand.
H.E. Quayle says he has gained much of his own education abroad, learning and using the language in every country he's been posted. H.E. Quayle estimates he uses the language in 80% of his official dealings. This includes interactions with Thai embassy staff, which, for the sake of keeping up his skills, he's instructed to speak only to him in Thai.
In welcoming the Ambassador, Principal Lees said, “I’ve seen the school grow from January 2007 – with 22 students - to 230+ students. And, most importantly the student growth has been matched with new facilities and increased teaching staff, support and materials. I feel this is a great achievement for a school and we are honoured to welcome you in sharing our joy!”
The Ambassador applauded ISS for being the first licensed international school on Koh Samui. Mr. Lees noted a licensed school is a strong incentive for international managers to bring their families to the island. Resorts and tourism businesses can now assure their new managers moving to the island - or those considering leaving due to school concerns - that a high standard of education for families is now on the island – the International School of Samui.
For further information , Please contact ISS on +66(0)77 484548, (0)77 245 560 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com or visit : http://www.bluewatersamui.com