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Teaching primary in an international school.

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Bumpoid, May 7, 2020.

  1. Hello,
    I’m thinking of moving abroad for a couple of years (not yet obviously) and working as a primary school teacher in an international school. I am wondering if people could tell me their experiences on countries that offer this - pros/cons, money, tax, what’s included and what’s not etc. I am a qualified primary school teacher and also mum to a one year old and will be heading out with them and their dad. So any information on what he could do and what would happen with the baby in the day time etc!
  2. lc547186

    lc547186 New commenter


    I can give some advise on Kenya and Hong Kong, although obviously this is only based on my experiences.

    -Most of the international schools are British Curriculum. Depending on the school you will teach either lower primary, upper primary or even lower KS3 since most schools are Prep schools and therefore will not enter senior school until Year 9.
    -My last school was an IAPS schools and so had common entrance, therefore I believe it was from year 4/5 that they had separate sciences and specialist teachers
    -Lower primary- obviously teach all subjects except specialist subjects like art, dance, drama, PE.
    -Kids are fantastic, really well behaved children and eager to learn
    -In my last school, EAL was not really present as such, however it was factored into the lesson planning. EAL support was growing though due to increase number of Chinese nationals in Kenya.
    -Money is okay, you are looking at around 250,000Ksh-300,000Ksh per month when you first come over if you are in a decent school. This is okay to live off if your partner is working.
    -Kids pay just 15% of the tuition, although at my last school this was only from Year 1 I believe. Below this it was full fees.
    -You normally get accommodation allowance/or accommodation, flights annually, medical insurance for whole family, pension scheme and a few other benefits included. There was also a very small relocation allowance.
    -Tax is about 30%
    -Most people will have someone at home to look after the house and the baby, this will cost about 20,000Ksh per month.
    -Accommodation for a family of 3- so say a 2 bedroom ranges from 50,000Ksh to 75,000Ksh depending on where you want to live. You can get cheaper as well if you go for certain areas of Nairobi
    -working hours will vary alot, some may expect you to be in at 7.30am and you will not leave till 5pm, others you may get away earlier, but you will have extra duties like lunch, break, mornings, after school bus duties etc.

    Hong Kong
    -International schools really vary in curriculum from IPC, IB, British, Australian, America, Canadian, French etc, so it depends on what school you would work at.
    -Money is very good, however rent is very expensive. That being said, if 2 people are working and you are good with your money you can save well, very well in fact.
    -School provided flights, 1 week hotel accommodation, a very good relocation allowance, end of year bonus, gratuity pay at the end of contract, medical for family.
    -I am not sure about the school fees, but I think you pay about 20% at the school I work at, however I know some schools you get it for free
    -Tax is low, around 10%, with a lot of concessions
    -Electricity, water etc so cheap. I have not had an electricity bill yet that is more than maybe 10 pounds a month since they have so many benefits and government relief schemes that they basically pay for it.
    -Most people have a live in helper, which I think costs about 5000 HKD maximum per month. Very cheap in relative terms. However, this would mean you need 3 bedrooms, so accommodation would be about 17,000HKD plus per month.
    -Monthly pay will really depend on the school, it could be from 35,000HKD/month to anything up and beyond. This will vary based on experience, but with a family I would not take anything less than 50,000HKD.
    -Teaching, sorry I cannot give too much info on this as I work in the secondary section, however I do know that for specialist subjects like drama, dance, PE etc they do have specialist teachers.
    -Hours of work once again can vary. My school expects you to be in for 7.45am and you can leave by 3pm, however most people will be in earlier and leave later. Other schools may have extended hours and extra responsibilities for you after school.

    I hope that kind of helps you a little bit.
  3. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Couple of general points to start. First, what will your spouse do? If he isn't already a teacher, could he retrain - going out as a teaching couple will make you more marketable. Second, if you go before your child is able to start school (or if in the meantime you have another) you do need to think about childcare - depending on where you are, it could be fairly cheap or not.

    In terms of money, in a good school you should be looking at taking home after tax at least £30,000pa, if not more. At least, at the moment - nobody can be certain what COVID-19 will do to schools financially, and while this may drop more likely it won't increase over the next few years while costs of living undoubtedly will. You will usually become tax resident in the country where you are working, so tax is paid there, but you will be liable for tax in the UK if you have any income there (eg you rent out your house.) Best advice is to get someone qualified to do that for you!

    The post above pretty much explains my experience. One thing to consider is how far you are prepared to travel - the likelihood is for the next few years it's going to be difficult but probably not impossible to get to Asia quickly, and that might affect where you want to look. I would suggest the Middle East as starters, UAE for example.
  4. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Bumpoid, I have sent you one of those TES Conversations. Quite a lot of very sensible and practical advice has already been given by amysdad and lc547186. I would echo amysdad's comments about your hubby. What is he going to do?

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