Recent school visits

Last year we posted a blog about our recent school visits here.  In this week’s blog, we continue to share this valuable feedback. Our team at Teacherhorizons have a thorough understanding of what makes a school desirable from a teacher’s perspective. We travel to our schools and check in with the quality and environment of the place often so that we can share this wealth of information with you. We know how useful it is for teachers in making a decision about whether they would like to work there. Here are some of the schools we have visited recently, and what we found out.

 

british school jakarta

 

School name: The British School of Jakarta
Country and city: Jakarta, Indonesia 
Curriculum/s: British

Who visited?: Alex

 

 

 

How did you get to the school? 

I took a taxi to the school early in the morning – still slightly jetlagged from a long flight from London. Traffic in Jakarta is famously bad and there’s a saying that it ‘takes two hours to go anywhere in Jakarta’. That is a slight exaggeration and I wasn’t staying too far away but we still managed to bump into a motorbike, luckily he was fine – he hardly turned back to look (seems pretty standard for Jakarta!) It helped wake me up though and it was amazing watching hundreds of people, children and animals all rushing around starting their days as we drove through the hot busy streets in the morning sunshine.

Where is it located? 

The British School of Jakarta is located in the outskirts of town which is why the campus is so big and green. The area is called Bintaro, in South Tangerang and it’s a quieter more residential part of town, away from the madness of the city centre. Jakarta has a population of over 10 million so being based in a quieter neighbourhood makes it a much more appealing place to work than other parts of the city.

How big was the school? 

The school was founded in 1973 and has become one of the mgardenost established and highly regarded schools in South East Asia. It has grown considerably over the years and now has almost 1,500 students from nursery to eighteen. Students are from all over the world.

What were the buildings and facilities like? 
The campus is one of the biggest I have visited – set in a fourteen-hectare campus and with beautifully designed buildings and gardens. Classrooms are spacious and well equipped. The school even has its own clinic on the campus!
Did you speak to any staff members? If so, how were they finding it? 
Yes – I know a few teachers there from previous visits. I also visited a friend of mine from back in the old days when I used to teach in Japan. He lives in a place called Country Woods Residences which is a housing area where lots of BSJ teachers live. It’s a relaxed and comfortable place to live with gardens, a pool and a cafe where residents can socialise. It’s also really safe for children to play which is an added bonus.
What was the best thing about the school in your opinion?

There are many great things about the school but I think one of its big draws is the package they offer. As the cost of living is low in Indonesia, most teachers are able to save considerably. I think the other great thing about the school is that it is located about half an hour from Jakarta’s international airport so teachers can easily get to a wide range of destinations around South East Asia for holidays and even places like Bali for weekends

 

                                                                                         

garden
School name: Deira Private School
Country and city: Dubai, UAE. 
Curriculum/s: UK national curriculum
Who visited?: Laura

 

How did you get to the school? Where is it located?
 DePS is located in Dubai and it is easy to get to and well connected to the city. Staff live all over the UAE and the school provides a free bus service for them every day to and from the school.
How big was the school?
The school had a very community-based feel and there are 28 teachers employed from a variety of countries. The main theme connecting these teachers is their strong understanding of UK national curriculum pedagogy and practice. The school embraces different cultures but all the teachers have a very good understanding of the UK NC. The Head has over 20 years’ experience from the UK and has a great relationship with staff and students which is evident to see when walking around on the tour with her.
What were the buildings and facilities like?
The buildings are not typically flashy with extensive facilities but the space is utilised very well and the corridors and classroom displays are wonderfulIMG_7098
Did you speak to any staff members? If so, how were they finding it?
 No,  but the staff seemed happy and the Head said the staff team are very friendly and collaborative.
What was the best thing about the school in your opinion?
The children first and foremost were wonderful, some even came to shake my hand whilst on the tour! They are clearly very happy at their school and enjoy school life. The school will allow teachers opportunities for promotion and career development. One teacher who joined with the Head as a regular teacher is now a Senior Leader
Were there any downsides that teachers should be aware of?
 The salary is only able to support a teacher without dependents and teachers must be able to happily integrate into the culture of the UAE as nearly all of the students are from various Arab countries including 30% local Emirati students

Have a read of our Happy Teacher Archives, for more happy teachers in Europe and other locations.

Country and city: Beijing, China
Curriculum/s: Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate (DP), International Baccalaureate (MYP), International Baccalaureate (PYP), SAT Reasoning Test
Who visited?: Maggie
How did you get to the school? 

Travelling in China can be a little tricky because you can’t access Google maps, so it is a good idea to plan your journey the night before. I usually take lots of screenshots so that I can navigate without the use of the internet! The metro is easy to use though and there is an app called Didi which is the Chinese version of Uber. When visiting schools, I tend to get to the nearest metro station and take a Didi the rest of the way so that I don’t get lost. A good tip is to have a Chinese version of the school’s address because most taxi drivers don’t understand English. 

 Where is it located? 

The school is located in the Chaoyang District of Beijing which is one of the largest districts, but the school itself is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main city. 

How big was the school? 

The school has an amazing campus and it is incredibly well-resourced. There is a river that runs through the campus and to get from one part of the school to the other, you have to walk over a huge bridge which has a fantastic view. Despite the size of the campus, it still has a friendly feel and I felt very welcome. The school was founded in 1994 and has over 1,500 students. 

What were the buildings and facilities like? 

IMG_1058The buildings are pretty huge – they are modern, clean and well-maintained with fully equipped classrooms as well as a theatre, gym and swimming pool. There is an air purification system in the whole school (every class, gym, auditorium, offices, corridors etc) that keep the indoor air very clean and purified. There are also tranquil areas such as the Chinese Garden, Secret Garden, Peace Park and Duck Lake. I was lucky to visit on a clear, sunny day and the outdoor areas were vibrant and colourful. 

Did you speak to any staff members? If so, how were they finding it? 

The staff at the school were very friendly, happy and welcoming. There is a very low staff turnover and most teachers stay for several years often extending their contracts. To have this school on your CV would definitely open the doors to most international schools around the world! 

What was the best thing about the school in your opinion?

The campus was one of the best that I have ever seen! A great mix of spaces dedicated to learning as well as areas that can be used to relax and take in the scenery. Beijing is an amazing place to live; the capital city of one of the world’s fastest-growing countries with easy access to many cultural attractions and endless food options as well as great public transport and a cheap cost of living

Were there any downsides that teachers should be aware of?
The school is a little way out of town, so it may be too quiet for some teachers. However, it is pretty easy to get into the centre of Beijing. When I was in Beijing most of the days were sunny and clear, on other days the pollution was quite bad. The pollution has definitely improved in recent years, but it is still something to consider when moving to Beijing.

We have over 2000 schools in over 160 countries, so it might take us a while to get around them all, but we endeavour to! We visit new schools every month, so keep an eye out for more blogs like this one in the future.

Written by Alexandra Plummer

Filed under: Uncategorized