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School in Kuwait

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by norwichred, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    So, a school in Kuwait has taken up references after I made a recent application. The school has two campuses and is named after a leafy university town back here in the east of England that has a worldwide reputation. The school has no affiliation with this said university though.

    I think most people here know my background. Currently in a pretty bad demanding job here in England, not teaching the age group I like. I want to get back into primary but lack recent experience so am finding it challenging.

    I have a partner and two girls aged 2.5 and 1.5, and I have kind of accepted that I will not get into a top tier school at first. So I need to balance what the potential school and lifestyle is like, compared to our present one (which is pretty horrendous) and whilst the children are very young get some experience and money behind us for a couple of years before moving onwards and upwards.

    However, the online comments about this school are not good albeit from some time ago.

    Does anyone have any comments on this school and / or the country. I am a very resilient teacher who is used to dealing with difficult students and have taught in Oman and Qatar in the past.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Run, hide, change your name, change your email address, move house, change your mobile number, have plastic surgery and pray they never find you to offer you a job!
  3. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    Oh dear :(
  4. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    If you want I can send you a conversation with links to some second and third level employment agents that surprisingly have a few good job opportunities.

    Joining Search Associates us also good advice.

    Kuwait is as Donald Trump would describe as a s.h.!.t hole of a country.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  5. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    Hi and thanks for your help.

    Is your comment more to do with the school or the country or both?

    Many thanks
  6. ashja91

    ashja91 New commenter

    Kuwait gets some bad press on here. I’m currently teaching here, and Kuwait is what you make of it. The main draw is money, I have more than doubled me wage in the U.K as a teacher and I am saving a hell of a lot of money. Message me if you want to find out someone else’s opinion.
    IkzJ01, Asgar_taj and garykenny85 like this.
  7. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    There are a few countries that offer a package that is better than Kuwait.

    Next the op needs to consider that at least one of his children will require a nursery school place and the school in question doesn't attract English speaking students.

    Does the school offer decent accommodation suitable for children, swimming pool, sports club, ACed playground.

    What does the medical insurance cover as 2 children often need to be taken to the doctor's for one reason or another, does the insurance cover inoculations and a dentist.

    Whats the cost these days for obtaining a driving licence as life in Kuwait with a family needs a car.

    Maybe if the job was at the original English School or the Blue, Green or Purple school it would be an ok move. The opportunity to do some tuitions may make the place a bit more appealing, but still the best view of Kuwait is from an airplane window on the way out.
  8. BondStreetBabe

    BondStreetBabe New commenter

    february31st your first comment made me laugh out loud!
    Is ‘the zoo’ really as bad as ever? I had the feeling that with a complete change of SLT things had improved. I could even force an application myself but couldn’t cope with the shared accommodation as offered...
  9. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    That’s not the first time I’ve heard the “shared accomadation” comment. It sounds very similar to an academyc place in the capital of Qatar I once worked at.

    Surely, SURELY they wouldn’t offer this to a family though would they? Or am I being naive?
  10. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    I always recommend the cost of subscription to the International Schools Review. Then I would recommend reading all the post on schools in Kuwait and the comments about living in the country.

    Then you can judge how stupid the owners of the schools in Kuwait actually are and how they expect to be able to treat staff.
    abikuwait likes this.
  11. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    Kuwait is teaching hell on Earth. Entitled, arrogant, lazy, sparkless, thoughtless servant owning students and parents, owners only interested in money. Cheating in international exams as well as corruption endemic, standards a joke. Appearances always more important than substance. Search this forum for lots of posts about how sh*** Kuwait is.
  12. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    I promise I am taking everything on board. I may sound like I’m being contradictory but I am listening.

    I’’m just wondering - is it any worse than it would be, for example, in any other Middle Eastern country? As I mentioned I taught in Doha before, in what I suspect is a very similar setup, and a lot of our teachers had that opinion about our students (I was the year 6 teacher and head of primary).

    Whilst they may have had a point, I personally quite enjoyed my time working there within the necessary confines of understanding the students, their background and their privilege.

    I am possibly more concerned, to be honest, about the worry of the accomadation, and my children’s education. I do need a school where my eldest would be able to go to nursery and I’m not sure whether this school would be appropriate even for a year. I am taking your comments on board in terms of that. Also, with a family I cannot take a risk that the accomadation may not be up to scratch.

    My main concern is some suggestions I’ve seen that the school may not be entirely honest when making an offer...
  13. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Don't stress yourself out till you get an interview request. Then ask all the hard questions you want and take it from there.
  14. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    I have an interview :)
  15. garykenny85

    garykenny85 New commenter

    Hi Ashja91, I've recently accepted a job offer at *the not so old* English School in Kuwait. Could I possibly message you about life there? Thanks
  16. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    @norwichred I don't know about life in Kuwait, but I do know about finding a school that's suitable for my daughter and in my opinion if you already have a number of doubts about it then it's probably time to move on. You can never be 100% certain until you're there, of course, but you seem to have significant doubts already.

    Just as an aside, you mention that you have a partner. Are you married? Just wondering how Kuwait would react to an unmarried couple visa-wise?
  17. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Interesting new reviews of the blue school on the ***, max class size now 28! Two scores of 7 and 4.5 out of 10 and realistic reviews of living in the country.
  18. lindsay_taylor2

    lindsay_taylor2 New commenter

    As for your original question, I agree with February 31st. If the school has a Sheriff and Robin hood. Then most definitely run away screaming. I worked in Kuwait for 14 years altogether so if you want an honest assessment PM me.
  19. peakdj

    peakdj New commenter

    I can't comment on the school in question, as I have not worked there, but I have worked in Kuwait so might be able to offer some info in general about the country and things to look out for.
    While the salary might appear to be great, make sure you check the amount they pay for "rent allowance". They almost certainly will not offer family-suitable accommodation, so factor in at least 450-500KWD for rent. I would be surprised if the rent allowance they offer would cover this, so keep in mind that you might have to contribute a sizeable chunk out of your own pocket. Be wary of accepting the school digs even in the short term if you have family, If you do consider doing this, I would say it is worth going out there to take a look at what they offer in person.
    As others have said, have you thought about school places for your kids? While free school places might be offered, the majority of the "international schools" in Kuwait don't have many Western students and it will cost you a lot if you choose to send your kids to a different school.
    Also factor in cash for a private beach club membership (somewhere like the Corniche or the Hilton) as with kids, you're gonna probably want to have access to a nice outdoor space and a beach that is not covered with cat ****, cigarette ends and broken glass. Don't be fooled into thinking that you'll end up living in a marble-clad villa with a nice garden, or even a clean park nearby for the kids to run around in.
    Keep in mind also that if you intend to buy Western-style food, this comes at a price and your money, wlthough apparently great, will not go very far.
    Kuwait can be OK and some make it work very well for them. We spent 2 years there as a family and we enjoyed our holidays in Oman, the money and some of the great friends we made among the Indian/Philippino/Bangladeshi community. We loved the old Souk and used to eat their regularly and now we no longer live in the country it is easy to reminisce about our wanderings through the Oud smoke and our date tasting sessions at a great little date stall run by an Iranian wannabe comedian. We found some truly amazing Indian and Pakistani food. The country does have its charms, but in my view they are not to be found inside the expat bubble. In general terms, we had very little in common with the types of Western people that make Kuwait their long term home. We stayed sane by taking flights to Oman and camping on wild beaches during the holidays - it was the perfect antidote to some of the things we witnessed in Kuwait.
    How to finish? If it is a means to an end...with a view to moving on in a year or two, it might well work for you, depending on the sort of person you are. I moved there with little knowledge of what the country was like and often wondered whether Id'd have moved there if I had visited the country first to check it out, looked at the shcool accommodation, found out about rental prices, talked to the staff at the school I would be working at. So perhaps visit the country/school and ask the school if you can speak to a few employees before you decide...? If they don't like this then it'll tell you all you need to know,....
    Bentley89 and blueskydreaming like this.
  20. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    @garykenny85 - I just joined *** so if you're interested in the reviews on there let me know and I can give you any info you want.

    @everyone - Interestingly, having finally subscribed to *** and read reviews across this potential schools and others that I have worked in over the years - the general tone is so negative. I'm not so naive as to realise that there will always be negatives but one of the reviews hammering one of my previous schools was written by my previous prinicipal who was there for nearly ten years. She was more than happy to work under, and back, a certain member of staff who was a bully when she was there and then goes on to *** and slams the place when she left. She can't have been that miserable when she was there.

    Another review of the school I'm considering slates it but says as a positive "I made many friends on the staff over the years". Note the plural. It can't surely be that bad if you've been there years.

    Finally, a review of Kuwait - "Kuwait is a Muslim Country and they never let you forget it with the call to prayer". Well, I'm sorry but what do you expect?

    I guess what I'm saying is that I listen to everything and take it in but I try to take everything in context.

    @amysdad very perceptive as you always are :) You are always so helpful. As our eldest is 2.5 and in the English system due to date of birth wouldn't go to school until September 2020 if we were going to make a move like this, that would essentially get me back into the system and save some money then we see now as the time to do it so long term we have a chance to get into a tier one or two school in time for her schooling. As for being married - we're not. But we're aware that we would need to be. We were planning to get married anyway. ideally we would have waited until we had more money and could do it properly and when the children were old enough to appreciate it. But if we decided to go for this we would be married. I think the doubts are very much about other's perception of the school and how valid they are and how the position will compare with the one I am in now.

    @lindsay_taylor2 - thank you and I will.

    @peakdj - thank you. Such a well balanced interesting comment. I rang my partner and read it to her and she thanks you too. Due to my situation we know we're not going to get a top tier school, and I'm in a pretty horrendous job at the moment - not seeing my children three days a week at all, constant driving and difficult students. It's rewarding, but it's hard and things like no sick pay and other difficulties make it tough. I want to get back into primary so this job would only be for a couple of years to get me back into the sector and to save some money. Having worked abroad before and in the middle east for three years I have no interest in staying inside the expat bubble and thats not why we are moving abroad. We don't want our children growing up thinking that going abroad means acting like spoilt entitled rich brats, just waiting for their next Phuket beach holiday. No - we want them to mix with locals, understand the culture, appreciate it. When i was in Oman, for example, I got to attend service in a Mosque which I found fascinating. We want the children to understand the world and gain tolerance and understanding. How can this world be a better place if our future generations don't learn this? I'd much rather go to the Souk than an illicit expat bar! I'd much rather drink proper Arab coffee in a local corner shop than a Starbucks. i could do that at home!

    Sorry for such a long post. @february31st and others I shall be asking some very stringent questions if I get offered the job. Mainly about accomadation and Visas amongst other things. If the job doesn't offer 100% free accomadation it will not be accepted.

    I may be premature but I applied for another job, admittedly in a brand new school opening in September, in another country and although the job doesn't close until Monday I got an email back within a couple of hours saying "Thank you for your very interesting application, we will be back in touch" so that sounds promising......
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019

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