Background Information for Applicants: The British School, Kathmandu Overview A brief summary of the vision of The British School (TBS), the organisation of the school and some information relating to working conditions. School Vision Statement At TBS we seek to be a school where staff, students and parents work together in a safe, caring and tolerant community to nurture the students in their care so that each achieves their optimum in terms of learning and emotional, social, physical, moral and spiritual development. In this partnership, we seek to develop happy, well-rounded individuals who are confident, adaptable and able to embrace and influence an ever-changing world. Our students, as adults, will care for communities, local and global, for the environment and seek social justice for all. All members of the school community will model the behaviours expected from the students. In doing this, the school will be a centre of excellence at the forefront of education, community development and environmental awareness (from the website www.tbskathmandu.org). To this end, priority is given to providing the family with a secure, friendly, stimulating environment in which the child can benefit from high teaching standards, efficient, well-equipped facilities and a broad-based curriculum (extract from the Governing Body Handbook). The key groups working together to fulfil this vision are: The Board of Governors The Principal, Senior Management and Senior Leadership teams who direct the work of the school staff teams – teachers, teaching assistants, administrative and ground staff. The Parent Class Representatives The Student School Councils and the Senior Prefect team General background information The British School was first established in Nepal in 1966 under the auspices of The British Embassy and supported by the Government of Nepal. In 1997 the parent body, on the recommendations of the Board, voted for the school to include Key Stage 3 pupils at the start of the new academic year. At the same time (July 1997) the school moved to it’s present location. HRH the Prince of Wales officially opened the school in February 1998. In August 2004, the first cohort of Post 16 students began their AS Level courses. The Board of Governors oversees all matters relating to the school. The Board delegates the day-to-day running of the school to the Principal. The School is also a member of COBIS and FOBISIA, international school organisations that comprise those British Schools who meet the criteria of employing UK staff and who have been accredited through a British School Overseas inspection report (our recent 2013 OFSTED report can be found on the TBS website). Both COBIS and FOBISIA regularly hold CPD events and allow students and staff to work as part of a wider network of schools. A recent pre-inspection said we were a ‘confident, creative, open-minded and innovative school’. The students Our students are a joy to teach. They are enthusiastic, respectful, interested and keen to do well. We have around 450 students from over 35 countries and they work together extremely harmoniously. As in all good schools, this situation is based on hard work from teachers, non-teaching colleagues, parents and the children themselves. Working at TBS is not easy, we have very high expectations of our students and staff and we do want to be outstanding in offering the best possible opportunities
to our children and students. Therefore, we are looking for teachers who want to grow as individuals and professionals and who want to work in an environment where there is an opportunity to try new ideas, to work with motivated students and perhaps to take on new roles and responsibilities. Teachers will be supported in their professional roles and welcomed into the TBS community outside of school. Recent Earthquakes (April & May 2015) As you will have seen in the media, in 2015 Nepal suffered a series of earthquakes and aftershocks which caused a great deal of destruction in large parts of the country. It resulted in a tragically high loss of life particularly in the remote villages and in areas where buildings were constructed less sturdily than is the case in most of Kathmandu. It has been a great tragedy for Nepal and its people. For all of us, it was a frightening occurrence and the largest earthquake to hit Nepal since 1934. However, relatively few of our 43 teaching staff and 91 non-teaching staff decided to leave or not to return to Nepal, but we did insist all individuals reflected on their personal attitude to the risks involved in living in a country with a risk of earthquakes. In spite of the sadness that we all experienced living amongst people who suffered greatly, we are even more determined to make this an excellent school and to do even more through our community work to help those less fortunate than us! No-one in our wider school community was seriously hurt and our well-built school and homes proved resistant to the earthquakes so we were very fortunate and we are stronger as a community for the support we were able to offer each other through the difficult times in April and May and beyond. The size and organisation of the school TBS is a small, but expanding, school with a family feel based on a picturesque site which comprises a purpose built Secondary section and a Primary section which resides in a converted house (which was owned by a prominent Nepalese General) as well as in a number of purpose built newer classrooms. Primary is currently two form entry, and Secondary will be mostly two form entry in 2016-17. The Primary section currently has 240 on roll and Secondary approximately 220. Numbers are very healthy and we expect to be at capacity again for 2016-17. This demand is behind the plans to further develop our current site and eventually move to a new purpose built site. We are a restless school and we want to keep improving. In recent months we have invested heavily in ICT hardware and software so that all secondary students have school iPADs and/or Macbooks, primary classrooms have Nexus tablets and there are two bookable ICT rooms as well as increasing laptop use (both Apple and Windows) in lessons. Teachers are keen to exploit technology for learning and we have experimented with tools such as edmodo, google classroom, blogs, thinglink, etc. We have also implemented an improved CPD/Appraisal system which emphasises the importance of quality external INSET alongside in-school action research, peer lesson observation and collaboration, and a supportive and positive attitude to teachers wishing to try ambitious and challenging new ideas which will have a high impact on student learning and achievement. Perhaps most importantly, the focus on learning and considering how we know we are enhancing learning through the use of the myriad data available to us is an ongoing debate. We also have a very wide extra- curricular programme which we want to continue to enhance with more trips, expeditions and clubs. We are extremely keen to contribute positively to our local community and we expect all staff to be involved with the students and children in our TBS community programmes. This is an exciting place to work where we want to support teachers in their professional growth. Cost of Living & Pay Scales The cost of living is relatively low here in Nepal and our staff enjoy a good standard of living. The net pay scale for teachers is slightly above UK pay scales and qualified teachers enter the M1-M6 scales (less 15%). As school accepts Nepal income tax liability on behalf of expatriate teachers, colleagues will usually be financially better off than if they were working in the UK (those on M6 will receive a net salary of approximately £2500 per annum more than would be the case in the UK). For every year successfully completed, staff are paid the equivalent to one month’s salary, providing all
contractual criteria are fulfilled. Many of our teachers manage to save money and enjoy interesting holidays in Nepal and abroad. Contracts are for three years initially and many people do stay longer. Other benefits The school provides annual UK flights for teachers and accompanying family members and this is designed in part to allow staff to attend INSET courses whilst in the UK. We have a generous INSET budget and INSET courses are negotiated in advance with the Vice Principal. As members of FOBISIA and COBIS we have access to many free webinars as well as sending some staff to conferences in the Asia region. All staff (and their families) are covered by a British-based medical insurance which is very comprehensive. At the moment this is provided by BUPA. The school also covers the costs of Nepalese visas. Families are given 350 KG airfreight allowance flying in to Nepal and 450 KG outwards with an extra 50 KG each way per child (two children max.). Single staff are given 200 KG inwards and 250 KG outwards. Staff with children pay 25% of the school fees for up to two children per teaching partner (excluding Nursery which has a considerably lower fee structure). For those teachers who can demonstrate that further study (such as masters or diploma courses) will have an impact on student learning at TBS, an application can be made for school to fund 10% of the annual fee up to a certain limit. All teachers are loaned a school Macbook pro and either an iPAD or Nexus mobile device to encourage excellent ICT use in supporting student learning. Accommodation The school does not provide or pay for accommodation for teachers but a small allowance of £40 per month per teacher was added to the payscale in 2015 and in May 2015 an additional payment of up to £200 per household (to a maximum of 50% of the total rent) was agreed. Despite some rises in rents after the earthquake it is still relatively cheap to rent. Two bedroomed flats can be acquired for approximately £300 per month with larger houses costing £475 upwards. The New Teachers Mentor will help with finding accommodation and often new staff take properties from teachers or families who are leaving. This process begins when a job offer has been made. On arrival, even if a suitable property has been found, the school places teachers into a comfortable hotel close to school and covers the cost of B&B for up to ten days. It rarely takes longer to find suitable housing for those who have on arrival not been accommodated. Agents also assist if new teachers do not wish to take any accommodation offered by the New Teachers Mentor. This process is normally a relatively smooth one. The School Year We work a four term year which we find extremely beneficial. It provides IGCSE and A Level students with more contact time and makes terms more manageable for staff! The term dates are published on the website ( www.tbskathmandu.org ). Parents We are a small school in a small community and parents can/will become friends, although staff choose how much they want to interact. The school is well regarded and considered to be the best in Nepal. Parents who come to work in Nepal often work within the community and are not here for large wage packets. The students adopt these caring values and we like to think the school has a family feel and everyone is accepted. Each class supports a community charity nominated by them and teachers support this. It is a genuine strength of the school. Other duties It is the expectation of every teacher at TBS to run at least two After School Clubs per contract year. Clubs are very popular with all children. The school is the centre of the community and families use the facilities regularly. Students and staff can seek permission to use the site during the evenings and at weekends for sporting activities and practice. As our community programme is at the heart of our vision and responsibility we expect all teachers to be willing to give up time to involve themselves with one of our TBS community projects alongside children and students.
Support for teachers The school is led by the Principal who chairs the SLT made up of the Vice Principal, Head of Learning Support and the Heads of Key Stages who lead on educational issues and the SMT who comprise the Vice Principal, Bursar and Admissions/Human Resources Officer who lead on non-educational matters. There are other key management posts including heads of departments, chairs of working parties and subject coordinators. The SMT & SLT is advised by the Board of Governors who value staff and who are supportive. There is a Staff Development policy in place for all staff across the school. We see the process as a means of developing staff as professionals. Colleagues across the school are supportive of one another and peer observations are fostered. Different departments and key stages work as teams to ensure all knowledge and skills are shared. Working parties focus on target areas with staff joining from across the school and all teaching staff work on action research projects in small groups. Staff have the opportunity to work with different age groups, e.g. the teacher in Year 6 can work with Year 7, etc. This flexibility is something we want to help all staff develop and we look for it in potential applicants. Working alongside the trained teachers are Nepali trained Class Learning Support Assistants (CLSAs). They are experienced and highly valued. In the Primary section all classes have one or two CLSAs working alongside them. In the Secondary department, staff normally share Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) across departments or to support the particular needs of a student. We also have a large and well-qualified Learning Support department with specialist EAL and SEN qualifications as well as a School Counsellor and a Speech and Language therapist. As you would expect in an international school, we do have some EAL learners, but native language level English skills are normally acquired extremely quickly thanks to the skills of our teachers and supporting professionals, our supportive parents and due to the social interaction and motivation of the children themselves. Current staff The overwhelming majority of the 43 current teaching staff are from the UK, but the Board have offered contracts to Commonwealth citizens who were the best applicants for the job and we have four teachers from outside the UK currently. Contracts are for three years. Staff may then apply for a new contract which is normally for two more years. A significant number of staff do renew their contracts. Alongside the teachers, we currently employ 91 non-teaching colleagues in educational and administrative capacities who help ensure the school runs smoothly. Do your research! Kathmandu is a fascinating place and it has wonderful opportunities for travel and immersion in a culture which is unlike anywhere else on the planet. Some of the places you can easily get to in Nepal are absolutely stunning and Kathmandu is a busy and interesting place. However, as with any developing country (and probably all developed countries too!) there are also frustrations which are easier to bear if you have done your research and are prepared for them! Conclusion Teachers at The British School enjoy an excellent working environment and the opportunity to work and live in a beautiful and fascinating country. Any successful candidate will join a small team of enthusiastic and committed teachers in this well regarded school. The school celebrates internationalism and diversity and expatriate staff feel privileged to be guests in this developing and historic country. John Moore November 2015