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Moving to Guernsey for AHT post: good idea?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by jimmegee, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. jimmegee

    jimmegee New commenter

    I've recently pressed Send on an application for an Assistant Head job in Guernsey. I currently work on the South Coast of England but was attracted by the opportunity to work in a small school on the island and by a brief experience of the place on a holiday recently. Am I mad? Or is this a good thing? I'm mainly concerned about the fact that the education system is changing from 11+ / grammar school to comp in a couple of years' time and it looks like the state's planning to reduce the number of sites from four to three. But I'm also worried I'll be putting myself into career exile. Do you have any experience of moving to Guernsey to teach?
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I wanted to a few months back, but my OH didn't want to move, so we didn't.

    On my own I'd go in a heartbeat.
  3. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

  4. Ozzie777

    Ozzie777 New commenter

    I was offered a job on Guernsey a couple of years ago - having been there on holiday, the lifestyle looked fabulous and I would have loved to work there.

    I turned the job down in the end for the following reasons:

    1. Housing is very expensive - there are restrictions on what you can rent set by the Guernsey Government - effectively if you have no prior links to the Island you pay (high) rents and can only rent properties designated for the open market.

    2. Tax is different - you need to factor in take home (which may be higher) vs. the higher cost of housing and living.

    3. Pension arrangements seemed complicated (no payments into TPS, only into a Guernsey scheme)

    2. It can be difficult to get off the Island in bad weather - especially important if you have dependents in the UK.

    3. My wife has a business and I couldn't establish whether or not she could work on the Island

    4. You need health insurance - there is no NHS equivalent (not a particularly big problem, but it is an additional cost).

    5. There may be a time limit with your visa (eg. five years) - probably no right of indefinite stay on the Island.

    5. When/if you want to return to teach in the UK, I think it will be like returning from any international post - costly in terms of attending interviews, relocating.

    Hope this helps in your deliberations.
    phlogiston likes this.
  5. ZestyMordant

    ZestyMordant New commenter

    I moved to Guernsey for a teaching post and lived there for 5 years, the entire length of my housing license. I really enjoyed it, it's a beautiful place to live but there are some serious factors that you need to consider and to be honest, I don't think that I would live there again.

    1) As a "foreigner" you are only permitted to stay for a certain length of time. This housing license depends on your right to work length. When I was there it was a maximum of 5 years for teaching posts but I believe that this has recently changed to 3. Deputy heads and head roles were subject to a 15 year license, but again this has probably changed so you need to speak to the education department at the Grange.

    2) Where you live depends on what you earn. If your salary falls into a certain bracket, you are only permitted to rent within a certain bracket for a certain size house. For example, on a standard teaching wage after 3 years of service, I could not rent anywhere cheaper than £1250 a month for anything bigger than a 1 bedroom. Once you take this into consideration, living expenses can become eye watering.

    3) Living expenses, Gas and electricity are VERY expensive. Food shopping is ok, but bear in mind there is only waitrose, m and s and coop. Plan your meals carefully.

    4) Health and ambulance insurance. You absolutely NEED this. You can buy ambulance cover for a year and you must do this. For example, if you bump your car and somebody else calls an ambulance for you, even though you didn't call and you don't need it. You will pay for it. Aprrox £600.

    5) It is incredibly expensive to get on and off the island. There is no easy jet, ryanair etc. I think there may still be flybe, but only from certain airports. The rest is government owned Aurigny.

    6) Obviously in teaching you will come into contact with social services, other agencies etc. Be prepared for the same difficulties and red tape as the uk. Only in Guernsey, you will most probably see the social worker and the family that you have referred during your weekly shopping trip. This is difficult.

    7) That being said it is a very small community. Nothing really prepared fior that, Everybody, literally knows everybody elses business. You will see pupils and parents and colleagues in the shops, at the beach and on a night out. Your GP may be a parent for example.

    8) There are families who are NEVER left the island. This presents a challenge in itself.

    9) there is much more poverty, drug abuse and alcohol abuse than I would have imagined. The extremely wealthy, mostly attend the same school as the children living on the poverty line. This can be very challenging.

    10) Being a "foreigner." I haven't experienced this before, but living in Guernsey as a English person unfortunately meant that on occasion I was subjected to "you're not local, you've taken someones job, you're a foreigner etc etc. Some of it in jest, unfortunately there were one or two occasions where it was more. It was extremely uncomfortable and there is an ongoing 'undercurrent' of who is more 'local' and therrfore more superior. Be aware of this.

    11) The education department. Be mindful of your employers. Have a back up plan. They closed schools whilst I was living there. Teachers lost their jobs especially ones coming to the end of their license and were basically told goodbye. Personally, I wouldn't trust a single thing about the education department. They are great at hiring uk teachers with good relocation packages to fill those difficult vacancies, but be very mindful.

    I hope that this helps, feel free to PM if if you need any other info. Like I said, I lived there for 5 years after applying from a TES advert.

    good luck :)
    phlogiston, sabrinakat and BYusuf like this.

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