Teaching in Singapore
Teaching in Singapore provides many benefits for those who take up this marvellous opportunity, with most schools offering packages that include:
- a generous salary
- free accommodation or equivalent accommodation allowance
- private healthcare for you and your family
- free education for your children
- annual return flights to and from the UK
- an end of contract bonus (usually one month’s wage per year worked)
Although salaries vary, teachers in Singapore will typically earn between £30,000 to £40,000 per year. Income is subject to tax but this is much lower than in the UK. In addition, those teachers who take up posts in international schools usually receive free accommodation or a tax-free accommodation allowance. Many UK teachers working abroad also benefit from letting out their UK homes whilst they are away.
Find Teaching Jobs in Singapore
As English is the main language used in both state and international schools, teachers have a range of places they can apply to in Singapore. For those wanting to develop their pedagogy, working in a Singaporean state school is an excellent career choice.
The Singaporean education system is one of the best performing in the world and places huge importance on continuing professional development. Working there, you’ll teach fewer lessons than in the UK and have more time for planning and developing your classroom skills. To work in a state school, you will need to be approved by Singapore’s Ministry of Education.
More familiar will be the international schools that cater for expat students. These offer either a British, American, Canadian or Australian curriculum. A British International School, for example, will have EYFS and Key Stages and will teach the National Curriculum, GCSEs and the International Baccalaureate.
As a UK teacher, you’ll find all schools in Singapore fairly easy to adjust to, though British International Schools will be most like those at home. No matter where you choose to work, you’ll get the opportunity to meet staff and students from Singapore as well as those from around the world. Classroom teacher vacancies are available in both state and international schools. At times, there are also vacancies for middle and senior leadership posts.
Although English is the predominant ‘working language’ of Singapore, its multi-ethnic demographic and large expat population mean there is always a demand for teachers of English as a foreign language (TEFL). These posts require you to teach adults and children and you may be contracted to work evenings and weekends.
Qualifications Needed for a Teaching Job in Singapore
Singapore has a very high standard of education and teachers will be expected to have the same qualifications as are required in the UK. These are:
- Relevant degree (e.g. B.Ed. for primary, degree in your teaching subject for secondary).
- In addition, you may need 2 - 3 years successful teaching experience in an English-speaking school.
For senior leadership roles, candidates should have a suitable leadership qualification, e.g. NPQH, and may also need an M.Ed. or Ph.D. To teach TEFL, you will need to be a native or fluent English speaker, hold a bachelor’s degree and have a recognised TEFL qualification.
Living as a Teacher in Singapore
Singapore is an independent city state located on the coast of southern Malaysia. A former British colony, it is the home to a multicultural population of predominantly Chinese, Malay and Indian origin. The country has four official languages: Mandarin, English, Malay and Tamil, and has a wide range of religions of which Buddhism (33%) is the largest.
Despite being a very small country, Singapore has a great international reputation. Although densely populated, it is a city that is being developed for the 21st century. Over 50% of its area is green, it is exceptionally clean and has excellent and affordable public transport. There are good schools, medical facilities, local amenities, low crime rates and one of the world’s best airports.
The country’s ethnic and expat diversity make it a real cultural mixing pot. You’ll find a Little India, Chinatown and a Malay district as well as a truly international cuisine from the city’s 6000+ restaurants, including Indian, Chinese, Russian, Malaysian, Peranakan and even Argentinian food.
Singapore is also a leading international business centre. One of Asia’s most important financial hubs, it invests heavily throughout the world and is a major exporter of electronics, chemicals and wealth management services.
According to the UK Government website, 450,000 UK citizens visit Singapore each year and most visits are trouble free. However, you are reminded that the country is conservative in nature and that its laws and customs can be very different to those in the UK. When working there, you should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times.
Being a modern city, there are many facilities and amenities on offer and lots of places to visit. Beyond the city, there are over 60 islands to explore with a wide range of beaches and water sports. And there’s always lots of good weather, too. For those looking for adventures further afield during the school holidays, Singapore with its excellent airport, is well placed for flights to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and even Australia.
With typical teaching contracts being two years, you’ll have plenty of time to experience all that this fabulous state has to offer and go exploring its exotic neighbours during the longer breaks. You’ll get the chance to make new friends, go on lots of adventures and take home memories that will last a lifetime.