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Having a baby abroad

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by coconut15, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. This may be a bit of an "out there" question, well series of questions but;

    My fiancée and I are both experienced teachers (currently both heads of year) and on paper feel that we would be strong candidates in what would be a competitive international job market. Our reasons for leaving the UK are ones of career progression , improvement in quality of life and having the opportunity to save.

    We would also like to start a family and with UK child care costs being what they are would like to ideally start a family abroad allowing us to save whilst being housed by a school. Has anybody been in a similar situation?

    Would a school take kindly to a staff member having a baby whilst in contract? If employed as a teaching couple what would they do with regards to housing?

    What would be a good location ? (we're thinking Singapore)

    Do schools offer a BUPA package?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you
  2. 576

    576 Established commenter

  3. If they are both UK passport holders then that Google search is not relevant.
  4. My last post was a reaction th 576 scare mongering. However, I may live to eat my words, so I would perhaps read the details of his search. I have no idea where your heritage extends from.

  5. percy topliss

    percy topliss Established commenter

    We had a baby abroad, both British and it took all of three weeks to get a passport. Most school need you to work for a year at least before you become eligible for maternity leave. They normally then stick to the local laws. China = about 10 weeks, Thailand 12 weeks etc.
    We had to pay for the birth etc and once again I think that this is pretty common, although as soon as they come along the little one is covered by the schools insurance. Any other questions send me a message.

  6. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Specifics vary widely in terms of when you're eligible for maternity leave / insurance cover for pregnancy, and of course how much leave and how much cover. For that, you'll have to investigate with individual schools. You can mention at interview, probably the second interview instead of the first, that you might want to start a family after you're been at the school for a year or two, and how would that fit in with the ethos of the school. If you do it right, you give a good impression of your potential longevity along with your fair notice that you might fall pregnant.
    Re a different question: Do schools take kindly? This really depends on how you handle it. Best idea would be to work for at least a school year before you'll be needing maternity leave, and to stay a while after that, as in don't depart right away. I've seen cases where people turned up to the job pregnant, never having mentioned anything at interview or before reporting for work. They (yep, it's happened a handful of times) then worked a few months, took maternity leave, and departed at the end of a one-year contract. The cheekiest did 2 maternity leaves in 2 years, then left. It's cases like these that made many schools design rules that delay eligibility for maternity leave. Please don't take this the wrong way, babies are wonderful and it's not always easy to fall pregnant on cue. I'd be very sympathetic to someone who had been trying for years and finally managed an unexpected success just as they were due to start work at a new school.
    Communication and intent are the key. If your actions seem designed to milk the overseas situation, they won't be interpreted well. If you are making a longer term commitment to the school, time things as best you can, and communicate appropriately, you should be fine.
    Good luck with the job search and the family expansion.
  7. Sandman

    Sandman New commenter

    My advice would be to try and find a school with a good package so both of you don't have to work. This would allow you to be a full time mum. The early years are precious and go very quickly. Think many people are not in a position to do this but in many overseas posts you can and it is a good reason to be overseas instead of trying to scrape through from month to month in the UK.
  8. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    What I meant to say but somehow left out...
    Better schools tend to be very welcoming of couples starting and raising families. It helps with stability for the school and creating a warm community. In most cases, you'll find a pregnancy is met with joy and support. The technical issues of cover etc still have to be dealt with, but for a couple who are adding value to the school and giving back as much as they get, those details are simply seen as details, not problems. We expect and plan for a certain number of pregnancies.

    It's only the extreme short-termers that raise hackles.
  9. To answer your specific question about Singapore, a friend of mind has been working there for six years and she has had two babies. The school was perfectly fine with that, and Singapore is a great place to raise a family: very modern and very safe (although maybe a bit boring to some).
  10. mousethew

    mousethew New commenter

    It's inadvisable to turn up pregnant (I've never seen this happen in 16 years of teaching overseas) as BUPA - or any insurer - only cover pregnancy costs (which can vary - in Taiwan, we paid insurance and were covered under the excellent state system to an extent that the government paid one month's maternity pay to match the employer's; in Mainland China, it's all private and costs thousands of pounds for the uninsured) 12 months after joining. I've had (or at least my wife has) 2 children born in Asia in different schools and both have been excellent about it - long term we were still 'cheaper' as a couple than 2 single people (due to the difference in housing allowances) and brought the impression of stability to the school - I'm sure I'll hear otherwise but parents seem to find it easier to talk about their children's concerns in school with teachers who are parents. Other staff have had to 'cover' a half-day on half a dozen check-ups but the actual maternity cover was by a short-term supply teacher brought it who, was of course, happy to have the work. I love bringing my children up outside of the UK, not just for financial reasons, but the quality of life we have in comparison to that which we could afford in the UK.
    Both the schools in question, however, were good schools. Search carefully!
  11. Syria1

    Syria1 New commenter

    We've been abroad 5 years and produced two small children along the way: same hospital, same midwife, same delivery room; two years apart. Super treatment and much, much better than the NHS. Only issue was the fact that the birth certificate is in a different language. As above posters have said - check the insurance and delay if you can until you have the maternity cover sorted. Good schools anticipate this - my current school certainly does. Small children get a much better deal abroad (in SE Asia anyway) - everyone loves them, there is good domestic care available and restaurants don't mind when you bring them in! Best thing that has ever happened to us.
  12. I'd say go for it. Just pick your school carefully - find out if there are any teachers with children currently working there.
    All of my children were born in (a very nice hospital in) China, and even though I work full time I am able to spend much more time with them than I would if I were still in the UK because I don't have to do any housework.
    They also attend a fabulous school.
  13. deadly lampshade

    deadly lampshade New commenter

    As so often, read the post from Gulfgulf; it is on the money. Also, in my experience, what Sandman says is very accurate.

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