…At ISR, we spend considerable time reading School Reviews and looking at corresponding school websites to verify certain information. After viewing thousands of school websites, we’ve concluded that schools with multiple poor Reviews on ISR have websites that share similar characteristics. As we head into recruiting season, we thought now would be the perfect time to share what we’ve learned:
Website RED FLAGS
Under Construction, 404 Pages, No Website at All!
An International School with a poorly functioning website is unacceptable and shows a distinct lack of investment in technology, an antiquated business model and/or an inability to keep pace with the modern world. A poorly functioning, or non-existent website can signal low transparency and a purposeful lack of communication with the school community at large. ISR advises you to proceed with caution.
English-Version Website Non-Existent
Schools catering to an International community should, and must, have an English-version website. Lack of one suggests a school that caters to locals only and lacks an International/diverse population.
Welcome letter not signed by Director. No Staff Directory
Websites lacking a personalized Director/Principal welcome letter should send up a red flag. Be wary of school sites with generic welcome letters or mission statements signed with, simply, “School Principal.” These schools are frequently represented on ISR by School Reviews that tell of excessive staff/admin turn-over.
Well-established, well-run schools not only display a photo of the person in charge, a brief run-down of their qualifications, and a signed letter, but also a directory of staff. Admittedly, some schools do not name their staff and/or admin team to protect their identity. As such, this may be a sign of anti-American or anti-European sentiment in the community. ISR recommends you exercise caution when considering schools without admin/staff transparency.
The Same Few Expat Kids Are All Over the Website
Alarms should be going off in your head when you spot the same few expat kids in multiple photos. Chances are the school is trying to look international when in reality it’s made up of a predominately local population. The few expat kids scattered throughout the website are usually the children of the international teaching staff. On the other hand, if you are looking to teach in a school that caters to mostly host nationals, this could be a good sign.
Facilities and Canned Photos Galore
School websites with lots of cropped photos of facilities and stock close-ups of individual kids may have something to hide. Teachers often review such schools by saying they have unfinished construction, unopened sections of the campus, issues with student population, run-down facilities, poorly constructed buildings and/or a non-international student body.
Accreditation Badges Missing
Last but not least is an item we think of as a Yellow Flag. If you see a school website without Accreditation badges, or that does not mention the agency that accredited the school, it’s an indicator further research is needed on your part. Lack of Accreditation badges can mean the school lost its Accreditation for failure to meet standards. In such cases, Reviews of the school usually reflect this point. Many never-accredited schools do, however, receive perfectly fine Reviews.
As always, we remind you:
RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH!
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