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Returning to UK AFTER teaching abroad

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by jimgardner, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. jimgardner

    jimgardner New commenter

    Having taught abroad for two years and now having returned to the UK, my daughter has now been told she should have had a criminal records check done in Vietnam before she returned! She now faces the prospect of having to pay for flights back to Hanoi to apply in person to a Justice Court for a criminal record check. If this is true then anyone planning to teach abroad for a significant period of time needs to be aware of this before they return!
  2. sicalifornia

    sicalifornia New commenter

    There was a thread about this a while back. It's really frustrating for you I'm sure, but anyone living and/or working abroad, should always get a police check done before leaving the country, even if you are moving somewhere else abroad; it's always good to have a chain of records for all of the places you have lived and worked!
    Angelil and 576 like this.
  3. jimgardner

    jimgardner New commenter

    We realise this now but how many people considering teaching abroad are made aware of this? At no point was my daughter made aware of this requirement by agencies, schools, TEFL providers etc etc It has only come to light now after she has returned. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
  4. 576

    576 Established commenter

    It does make sense that if a UK school wants to check you don't have a criminal record in the UK (via DBS) then they'd also like to see evidence that you behaved in any other country you've lived in. To prove you weren't doing a Gary Glitter!
  5. Jessaki

    Jessaki Occasional commenter

    If your daughter was only out of the UK for two years (and presumably teaching in the UK prior to moving abroad), I am surprised she did not know she needed to have police certificate or criminal records check from abroad - considering how stringent they are about these now. I am not judging and perhaps this was just a massive oversight, however I would also have thought that her school in Vietnam would have ensured she get this sorted or at the very least told her to get one done before she left. Even if she had not planned on returning to the UK - most international schools (certainly the British ones) want to see something like that from wherever you have been teaching. I had one done in Egypt before I left, and even though our HR team was useless, for some reason they did remind staff about getting that done.

    Has she tried seeing if anything can be done via the Embassy. It might be different for Vietnam, but I am sure others in a similar situation were able get something via the Embassy or Consulate, at a cost of course, but not as much as a flight home.
  6. blue451

    blue451 Lead commenter

  7. jimgardner

    jimgardner New commenter

    Jessaki - My daughter went straight from University to teaching abroad having done a TEFL course so no, she hasnt taught in the UK and no-one explained this to her before she left the UK. And she worked at both Private and Public schools over there and at no point did any of the schools or HR depts mention having to get a police check done before she returned to the UK. She was regularly having to get her visa renewed by leaving and re-entering Vietnam on a regular basis over two years and had no problem entering Vietnam. She has tried contacting the Vietnamese embassy before but they are pretty useless to be honest - we will try again! I'm sure if she ends up having to go through so many hurdles and pay out a lot of money for checks (she hasnt got a job yet) she will simply move back abroad as it is far, far easier to get a job abroad actually teaching English than it is to get a simple Teaching Assistant job in the UK.
  8. jimgardner

    jimgardner New commenter

  9. HeroForTheDay

    HeroForTheDay Occasional commenter

    it sounds like your daughter wasn't at "a top tier" school whilst she was abroad. I can say from experience of working in mostly lower tier schools that every place I've been at doesn't suggest I take a police check before leaving because the HR have no idea about requirements outside of their own sphere of influence. Perhaps she can contact her school and see what they would be willing to do on her behalf but I wouldn't hold my breath that its much
    Kartoshka likes this.
  10. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    As this overweight pachyderm has pointed out many times, returning to teaching in the UK after a few years in foreign parts is not always easy and hassle-free. If you are already thinking about returning to dear old Blighty before you actually left, then I would say that it is probably not a good idea to leave in the first place. Unfortunately some teachers think that going overseas and then coming back again is some sort of educational Hokey Kokey.
  11. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    It is possible to get a criminal records check done through a UK embassy, though in my case this was for an EU country rather than south east Asia. You stand a better chance by going there instead of sending them an e-mail in English. Good luck with posting the completed forms to Vietnam, though...
  12. Jessaki

    Jessaki Occasional commenter

    I see, so your daughter didn't do a PGCE and then teach in the UK, before leaving for Vietnam. I assumed when you said she was teaching, that is was via PGCE etc and not TEFL. I guess this is probably where it is then. One of the things drummed into your during teacher training now and all the interviews is the criminal records check and had she been hired as an overseas trained teacher at an international school, they perhaps would have made her aware of this or at least someone would have. I presume she wants to teach in the UK now? I know this is a total long shot and might not bring anything, but has she contacted the DBS (or whatever they are called) and asked for advice on how to proceed?
  13. 576

    576 Established commenter

    She was young! She didn't know and I guess there was no-one in the family who works with children and could say 'if you wanna work in a school when you come home....'
    Unfortunately it is no-one's job to do this. The job of HR in Vietnam is to keep her legal there.
    My first overseas school never said anything about these - I went to the police station on my own and enquired. My last school organised the checks for us but most staff there are British and most go home when they leave so I guess somehow it got on their radar but it's really an extra if a school does this for you. And you can't expect a school in Vietnam to know what a UK school will require.
    Kartoshka likes this.
  14. blue451

    blue451 Lead commenter

    From experience most of us here know to get police checks before we leave a place. Some schools organise this for you, in others you have to sort it for yourself but it's definitely easier to do before you leave.

    I'd also say that, depending on where you are and for how long, it can beworth getting in touch with a notary type person before you leave as well so that they can deal with anything that comes up afterwards on your behalf - tax declarations for example often don't need to be done until the calendar year after you've left.
  15. gafleecey

    gafleecey New commenter

    This doesn't just apply to teaching. There are many jobs which involve access to children or vulnerable adults where an enhanced criminal background check is required, and even more jobs where a basic DBS would be a part of the recruitment procedure.

    I am sorry to sound harsh, but why is the OP surprised about this?
  16. WatchYourTongue

    WatchYourTongue New commenter

    I've worked in six countries (TEFL) and the subject of getting a criminal check before leaving has never come up; neither HR nor colleagues have mentioned it. I got one done in the last place I was at, but that was because a summer school in the UK asked for it. I've worked for that summer school for three summer periods (2015/16/18) and it was the first time I'd had to get a criminal check from overseas. Previously I'd worked in two, separate summer schools (2013/14) and not been asked for a criminal check from overseas.

    Presumably references were checked, and the say so of my manager that I was working there (an accredited university) and that my behaviour was fine was sufficient previously.

    The TEFL industry still has a bit of the 'Wild Wild West' about it, and has quite a way to catch up with international schools with regards to checks and regulations. Hell, I'd been teaching in summer camps in the UK up to 2017 without any proof of any criminal records I'd not received, whilst outside of the UK. Realistically, I could have a criminal record in, I don't know, Mongolia and because I didn't include the job there in my CV the school isn't going to ask about it. I have gaps from 3 months to just over a year (waiting for visas, sickness) and all I had to do to fill them was type "Waiting for visa for next role" and "Sickness and operation" in the appropriate places.

    The nature of the TEFL job means there are thousands and thousands of teachers travelling all over the world, sometimes staying for only very short periods - I stayed in a role in China for less than three months because the apartment was diabolical - which could be the length of someone's holiday; no-one is asking for police checks for every country you've spent your jollies.
  17. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    My police check in Qatar did not amount to much. I went along to a police station and asked for one. I showed my passport (I think they took a photocopy) and a few days later I came along, paid a few riyals and collected it. What did it say? I do not really know. It was all in Arabic. I asked someone what it said and they told me that it was about traffic violations and that I did not have any.

    When I was teaching at a British school in Bucharest, my head asked for British criminal records check. I contacted the cops back in the UK and they said, "No, Mr Hippopotamus. We cannot give you one of those things because you are no longer living in the UK." When I suggested giving my mother's address, the officer politely pointed out that giving a false address to the police is a criminal offence. So I never got the background check thing and eventually my school just accepted the situation.
  18. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    I have one from a south east asian country that doesnt even have my name on it. Its just my id number from that country. They are completely pointless pieces of paper, but you still need to get them.
  19. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    It's always just been part of the checking out process in the schools I've worked at - toddling along to the police station, getting the check, and then getting it translated. Sometimes I'd have to go myself, sometimes the school would do all the work for me.

    You often need them for your next job - international or otherwise.
  20. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    It's true that this is well-documented. However, the irony is that some UK schools then refuse to accept the foreign checks, and insist that you get the DBS done even if you have never taught/worked in the UK. This is what happened to me when I came over to the UK to do the obligatory placement for my QTS (which I was gaining via Assessment-Only). Having only ever lived and worked in France as an adult, I got my criminal records check from there - which the placement school then refused to accept. Because of this I was allowed to do the placement but still had to be supervised by another teacher throughout/never left alone with the children. (Of course, my colleagues in the UK school found this ridiculous and basically disregarded it.)

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