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What is a tier 1 school?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by snitzelvonkrumm, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. rideemcowboy

    rideemcowboy New commenter

    Yes, a combination of all factors mentioned but it is more the attitude and arrogance that comes from some who work in the self-appointed higher tier schools that yerks me. I have worked at some of the so-called better schools and some that might qualify as 3rd tiers. In many ways, the fonder memories and better experiences professionally and personally were available and had in the 'lesser' schools. If you are looking for an international school and wanting a genuine experience, keep an open mind.
  2. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    Odd things about tier 1 schools

    1. Often easier to work for and less stress than tier 2 or 3. I made that transition and so did colleagues and we all found the same. Less work load! And more money. Oh yeah!

    2. Resting on laurels. Often well led tier 2 or even 3 schools are actually better at educating students. The Principal is so important in schools so yes regardless of school tier, some are awful but in a tier 1 school you feel it much less. Tier 1 schools often face less criticism or inspection from IB or CIS etc. Tier 1 often select students so dont have to work so hard for good results.

    3. Tier 2 or 3 you can get promoted a lot quicker. But paid better in tier 1. And work less. And have more holidays.
  3. snitzelvonkrumm

    snitzelvonkrumm Occasional commenter

    Great points made!
    rideemcowboy and ruthwill500 like this.
  4. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    In Shanghai and some areas of China the tier2 schools bow pay better then the t1 schools. Nearly all the t1 schools are owned by international educational businesses, so they know the value of the $. Due to the fall in value of the GBP/¥ schools have cut packages by 4-5000rmb, but the pay in GBP remains the same.
    ruthwill500 likes this.
  5. karel

    karel Occasional commenter

    After this question coming up many times and reading the responses I still not think it is as clear-cut as some make it out to be. To that end, I do not know whether I have worked in a tier 1 school or not, neither do I know whether I have aspirations to work in one. My current school may be considered to be by some, due to its package etc. Certainly, while I've been here we have had at least 2 people that I know of applying here from one of those big 3 schools in Bangkok that have been mentioned. One didn't get the job, the other will start next school year. Does that mean they at least must consider my school to be 'tier 1', otherwise why would they take a step down if not? I've worked in what I consider to be an excellent school in Western Europe, teaching all 3 of the IB programmes, very much involved in IB development, you see the teachers a lot in the IB PD videos. But a school in this location does not provide a great package - no accommodation, no private medical, but you get a nice pension paid and have welfare benefits and security. These things rarely get mentioned are recognised on here. I would not be willing to place one of these of these schools above the other in terms of ranking their tier. They are totally different and would appeal to different people for different reasons.
    JL48, rideemcowboy and SPC2 like this.
  6. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    Perhaps a Tier 1 school is in the eye of the beholder - if you're happy there, and it meets your needs, then it's Tier 1 for you, anyway.

    Perceived reputation, and even remuneration, does not necessarily mean a good fit.
    576, snitzelvonkrumm and karel like this.
  7. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Im with @SPC2, i think it foesnt really matter. The only people i have found that care, are the type of people that like to tell everyone they work at a tier 1 school. As long as the school is good, you enjoy working there and they pay you what a professional deserves then its your tier 1 school. I work in a school where every department has workshop leaders and team visit members, and CIS visitors. We even have people that literally helped write the guides we all work from, but yet i dont think i work at a tier one school.
  8. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    Bit surprised by this, @february31st - are you claiming the Duke's boots, less than shiny magicians and the east of england motor car company etc are T1? I would say the only top schools in Shanghai are the two run by our cousins over the pond. See - it's all in the eye of the beholder as to what tier a school is classed as. The big edu-business schools in Shanghai, in my opinion, are good (well some are) but will never be first class due to the fact they are businesses first and foremost.

    Also are they now paying in $ rather than RMB - or do you mean they have lowered the packages for new starters?
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  9. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    i always thought the American school was the top one there
    yasf likes this.
  10. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    The average new salary I have seen in Shanghai is 24krmb, this use to be 28krmb. But when you consider in the last 5 years the ex-rate has changed from 11¥/£ to 8.5/1 so the salary converted to £ remains the same.
  11. tjh102

    tjh102 Occasional commenter

    I know this is hardly the point, but my favourite part of this forum is trying to work out the clever clues people leave. Some are really obvious, some take some work. It is like a secret little language.
    snitzelvonkrumm likes this.
  12. yasf

    yasf Occasional commenter

    The best payers by all account.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  13. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Its one of the only places in china i would consider. Had a bunch of colleagues work there, they loved it
  14. JKBKK

    JKBKK New commenter

    If I were to ever leave Thailand (as doubtful as that is at this point), I wouldn't mind the Christian school in Shanghai either. Over the years I've visited it for various reasons and really liked the campus, atmosphere and people. I've heard similar things about the school on the Western side of Beijing, but haven't been there. Those two plus the American school would be the three I would consider in the running.
    rouxx likes this.
  15. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    Agree with you there, @JKBKK - it's what I meant by the two from across the pond (counted the one with two campuses as one). Heard similar about Beijing. Not sure but there's also a good one near Shenzhen, isn't there?
  16. englishdragon

    englishdragon Occasional commenter

    This thread is certainly an interesting read. Any absolute classification system uses an established set of criteria which are fine-tuned through multiple revisions prior to codification. Think taxonomy. It would be an interesting exercise to try and do this for international schools, or perhaps, more pertinently, to categorize the ant's nest of schools popping up all over China. An established "Good Schools Guide" could inform new teachers en route to the Alternate Universe.

    But, @tjh102, your post about PD made me laugh. It made me remember an anecdote shared by one of the now dearly departed intrepid nine foundation teachers in Tianjin. I was told the Chairman of Governors of the infamous Six Letter Hopeless International Kingdom Sad Values School announced to incoming staff in August 2017 that his school would be the BEST international school in Eastern China (building on his mother's best - NOT - kindergarten in all China). He claimed the school would offer staff PD opportunities that were second to none in China. After the Foundation Principal was forced out less than eight weeks later, a Consulting Sussex Pomegranate from the Sad Values School in the UK appeared to take a leadership role with International Staff.

    One of the Consulting Sussex Pomegranate's crowning achievements was to send foreign staff links to Daisy the ESL teacher's YouTube videos as PD.

    Does every question have an equal and opposite 're-question'?
    I must ask, 'What is not a tier 1 school?'
    lottee1000 and tjh102 like this.
  17. tjh102

    tjh102 Occasional commenter

    I think this is a really good way of reframing the conversation. I spent a long time writing a review for ISR last night, and there was one word that constantly jumped out at me.


    If the school treats its teachers as disposable resources, no more valuable than pencils, then it is not Tier 1.

    If the school treats its children as little more than cash cows without caring for them and their education and wellbeing, then it is not Tier 1.

    If the school lacks quality control / rigour in its curriculum or recruitment, then it is not Tier 1.

    If the school does not pay consistently and on time, including to an agreed pay scale and including all agreed bonuses and allowances, it is not Tier 1.

    If a school lies about its location, resources and provision in order to get staff or children to the school, it is not Tier 1.

    Any more?
  18. tjh102

    tjh102 Occasional commenter

    It has taken a full week, but I have finally worked out the less than shiny magicians. That was very clever!

    Working this out has made my day. I feel like we need a cryptic crossword of school names!
    richardwillis998 likes this.
  19. snitzelvonkrumm

    snitzelvonkrumm Occasional commenter

    I am still trying to work out the 'less than shiny magicians'. I have never been good with the cryptic clues. A more straightforward hint might help my simple mind.
  20. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Dull....and then witch

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