Mark Brooke – Year 6
I have been teaching overseas for over twenty years so I feel well-qualified to comment on life at the British SchoolAlgiers.
New teachers can look forward to a welcoming atmosphere and plenty of support from both the senior management team and all the local staff who work very hard. The school itself is an old villa which has been refurbished. Since opening in November 2020 there has been a steady improvement in facilities and resources. It’s quite evident that a significant sum of money has been invested and that this will continue to be the case in the future. The children are a lively bunch but there are no major behavioural problems and I have found the parents to be friendly and supportive.
All the teachers’ apartments are located in the same neighbourhood as the school – Cheraga. Your walk to school in the morning is unlikely to be more than 15 minutes. The apartments are modern and of a good quality. They come fully furnished – all the usual white goods, flat-screen TVs etc. Cheraga itself is a busy part of town; it’s not the most scenic place in the world but you are never far from a shop, café or restaurant. The climate in Algeria is most agreeable – we’re next to the Mediterranean! The country also offers some great opportunities to visit Roman ruins and the mighty Sahara Desert. Once the pandemic fades away and flights resume, southern Europe will be a short flight away. It is a rare opportunity to live and work in a country seldom visited by westerners.
I would not hesitate to recommend this school to anyone looking for a new chapter in their teaching career.
Alan Gregory - Mathematics Teacher in Senior
The British School of Algiers has been up and running since the start of this academic year with students from a large variety of backgrounds, having widely different levels of academic attainment and ability in English.
The school occupies a former factory and its owner’s elegant living quarters in Cheraga, a busy and somewhat chaotic suburb a little way from central Algiers. The building and facilities include outdoor sports and play space, classrooms, offices and a dining room/large indoor area. While not custom-built, the facilities are suitable and some improvements are planned, such as dealing with the echo in the classrooms and the provision of a library. There are projectors in each classroom, though not interactive whiteboards. Classes are relatively small, limited to 20 children.
The school’s owner and management have a lot of experience and seem determined to do things properly for the students and the teachers; the other staff, many of them Algerians, are hard-working, very friendly and welcoming.
The children are generally very nice, though a little noisy as they return to classroom discipline and learning after the ravages of Covid-forced home-time. They clearly require quite a lot of attention to get them back to where they should be academically, but many seem eager to embrace the challenge.
The accommodation provided by the school varies but is reasonable and there was a welcome pack and greeting party when I arrived, which was a lovely start.
Algerians in general are very friendly and a little inquisitive as they are not overly used to foreign faces, and Algeria is an interesting country with a lot of history and natural beauty. There are one or two things to look out for, for example it is forbidden to take photographs of the police or official buildings, and it’s easy to fall foul of this particular rule. You also need to carry identification documentation to avoid spending too long with the police should you accidentally attract their attention, though it has to be said that they too are polite and friendly.
Overall, I would say this is a good place to work. You are made very welcome and treated like a professional, and the school is run by people who know what they are doing and care. I am sure that the teething problems of a new school start-up will gradually be ironed out. It's a great team to be a part of.
Sue Sullivan - English Teacher in Senior
I have been teaching English as a first language and humanities since November. Our classes are small which allows individual guidance and support. There is a lot of flexibility over the syllabus. My students are good-natured and rewarding to teach. Colleagues are friendly and helpful, and the school has a cheerful atmosphere. As a new venture there is plenty of opportunity for individuals to make their own contributions to shape the school's development. The school is small in a very attractive traditional-style building with palm trees in the playground and views of the sea and distant mountains. It is in a middle-class suburb of Algiers, with many shops and businesses just minutes away. My apartment is two minutes’ walk from school and of a very high standard.
My experience of Algeria has naturally been limited by Covid, although the restrictions are less severe than the UK as Algeria has had a much lower incidence of the virus due to swift and decisive early action by the government. I have found the Algerian people to be extremely kind and friendly. Foreigners are a novelty here and when out shopping I will be stopped and thanked by people for coming to Algeria and often given little gifts, a bag of Algerian pancakes, some dates and so on. I can communicate quite well with my basic French as everyone is so helpful and will go out of their way to try to understand even if I don't quite get it right. I have been into central Algiers a few times. The central bay surrounded by cliffs is very attractive and the city is a fusion of French colonial architecture that looks like it has been lifted from the streets of the Cote d'Azur and the more rugged urban maze of the Kasbah. Museums are extremely cheap and uncrowded.
Algeria has traces of its French colonial past; the locals will skip back and forth between French and Dardja, the local Arabic vernacular with dizzying speed and patisseries are to be found on every street but it is very much its own nation, not a North African version of France. Algeria is a developing economy with a strong Islamic faith and comes with its own charms and challenges. It suits those of an adventurous and tolerant temperament..'