BiB026: Starting an International School with David Tongue

In this episode of Brewed in Bangkok I sit down with David Tongue, who is the founding headmaster of Brighton College International School in Bangkok. Brighton College in Bangkok is a sister-school of Brighton College in the UK. Out of 9,000 schools in the UK, Brighton College UK is ranked the #1 co-educational school and the #5 school out of 9,000 schools in the UK. It’s David’s passion for working with children that inspired him to become and headmaster and later open up Brighton College in Bangkok.

About David Tongue

  • excelled in athletics but was injured while over-training
  • was a good student
  • earned a few detentions for being “chatty”
  • attended Watford Grammar School for Boys in London
  • started as an inspector and deputy headmaster at one of the oldest British international schools in Madrid
  • was one of the founding members of the National Association of British Schools in Spain
  • received his first headship and moved to South America, where he worked as the Director of Education in the Falkland Islands
  • joined the Brighton College family of schools and set up Brighton College, Al Ain in Abu Dhabi
  • moved to Thailand in the beginning of 2017 to open Brighton College
  • believes creativity is important in education
  • has three kids, two of which go to Brighton College Bangkok
  • wants his students to have the early direction he didn’t have

Topics Discussed Today

  • role and responsibilities of a headmaster
  • how Brighton College spends tuition
  • staffing and managing the teachers of an international school
  • tracking performance of Brighton College
  • expected and current problems with running a school
  • student body at Brighton College
  • why co-ed schools offer a richer experience than all-boys or all-girls schools
  • workload of Brighton College students
  • important questions parents should ask international schools
  • cultural differences and how they make his headmaster duties challenging
  • Brighton College’s available scholarships and bursaries
  • dealing with investors, property partners, architects, and designers
  • the changes needed to develop the public education system in Thailand

Resources Mentioned


I had some help with this episode: Lou Pobjecky kindly helped me with a lot of the necessary audio edits to get the file in a listenable shape. Lou also put together the cover image and quick description for this episode.

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Lou is a podcast producer and audio engineer. He makes sure that the Brewed in Bangkok sounds as smooth as silk. You can find out more about him on LinkedIn.

1 thought on “BiB026: Starting an International School with David Tongue”

  1. Interesting and informative. However, the bit about costs is a bit mind-boggling. It is from about 50,000 to 100,000 baht/month, depending on the year. Obviously the partnership with a property developer makes the costs high (with of course impressive facilities). But this kind of “the best for the richest and the worst for poorest” really has an ethical problem in it. Finland is a great example to counteract this, as the richest and the poorest all get the same education (it is illegal to charge for schools, which make private schools not so much illegal as without a business model, and frankly unnecessary).


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