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Singapore questions

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by ijs182, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. ijs182

    ijs182 New commenter

    Me and my wife are both teachers and looking to move to Singapore in the next couple of years to teach but I have a few questions that I haven't been able to find the answer to elsewhere. We have visited Singapore in the past and really love it but we're aware that it'll be a tough ask both getting a job, but you've got to try!

    In terms of curriculum, we're looking to keep the pool of potential schools as wide as possible. Clearly our preference would be the UK Curriculum however what are people's thoughts on other curriculum's and are there any to avoid?

    Also, we have 3 children. Our eldest is 18 later this year (so I know this won't apply) but we have 2 others who are primary school age. Do International schools usually give full fees for staff children? Or reduced fees?

    If my wife and I were both successful in getting a job would we both receive a housing allowance? And if we were in different schools is combining any allowance a simple thing to do?

    And finally, if we had 2 incomes, should we be able to save a fair bit of money?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    ijs182 likes this.
  3. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    OK, so quite a few questions then!

    Singapore is one of the most competitive places for teachers to get jobs, particularly in the best schools – they don’t come up very often and when they do, there are a lot of applicants. If you are dead set on there, then you might need to be prepared to wait a year or two years; otherwise, you could consider looking at other cities nearby to build up your international experience before applying (given that your kids are in primary, moving them around a bit won’t affect them too much.)

    A good school should offer full fees for both your children. Some may offer part fees for one or both – it’s up to you then whether the full package will allow you to live the way you want and to make up the difference.

    In terms of housing allowance, this will depend on the school, but usually if you land up both at the same school you will get a married couples allowance which is usually less than two single allowances combined. If you are at different schools, it will vary – some schools will pay you both the single housing allowance, meaning you’re quids in, others will talk to each other and divide the married allowance between you. One thing to be careful of is that if one of you gets a job while you’re in the UK and the other doesn’t until you get to Singapore, the second job offer is likely to be on a “local hire” contract – this will mean that while you might get the same monthly salary as an international hire, you will not get housing or flight allowances as they will expect those to be paid by the first job’s school.

    Flight allowances are also something to look for. Ideally, you want to make sure that not only will they pay yours, but they’ll also pay for your dependents too. Sometimes these can be annually, but other times they will only be at the start and end of a contract so you have to pay for your travel mid-way through.

    For curricula, moving abroad from the UK for the first time you would probably be most comfortable going to an English curriculum school. However, I wouldn’t rule out IB as well – although schools do tend to look for IB experience, if you have taught A level in secondary or a similar level then most will be OK with this. American curriculum schools can be a bit funny about hiring non-American staff, but I think this is the weakest curriculum. Part of your consideration of this should be what you think your children are likely to benefit from – my daughter will do A levels as a narrow focus suits her, while the broader curriculum of the IB may suit others (though the new Maths curriculum for IB Diploma makes it much, much harder for kids who struggle at Maths.)

    Savings – depends where you are. Singapore is expensive, so your savings potential is much less than if you were in, say, Shanghai or Kuala Lumpur. It also depends on what you do – are you going to travel a lot, do you go out much, will you get a family ticket for Universal Studios on Sentosa Island, etc. You should be able to save something with two salaries, though.

    Hope this helps!
  4. ijs182

    ijs182 New commenter

    Thank you so much for the in depth reply it is really useful and you've definitely answered a lot of my questions.

    There is a possibility that I may look to secure a job out there first for a year with my wife following afterwards. If this were the case and she was successful in getting a job would she still class as an international hire (as she'd be living in the UK still) or a local hire because I'd already be working in the country?
  5. migratingbird

    migratingbird Occasional commenter

    If she got a job at the school you were working at, she'd be a local hire I would assume. I guess it is possible she could be hired on an international contract at a separate school. Would it be such a problem if she was a local hire? If you're both at top or mid tier schools then financially you'll be fine anyway. You wouldn't need two international packages to be comfortable. The vast majority of the benefits would already be covered -by one package - health insurance, flight allowances, school places. The only benefit really would be extra housing allowance. Or maybe I'm missing something?

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