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Saxoncourt - Shane

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John Hamilton

Joined: 17 Apr 2006
Posts: 45
Location: France

PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 8:51 pm    Post subject: Saxoncourt - Shane Reply with quote

Has anyone had any experience of working with Saxoncourt. I think they are part of the Shane group who apparently have schools in Japan and China.
Good or bad it would be useful to know if anyone knows anything about them.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


I have a close friend who has been very happy working at the Shane schools in Taiwan. The group is represented in Japan, New Zealand and south Africa as well. Complaints I heard of were mainly at the managerial level. How the UK branches work, well, that I dunno. Would imagine their requirements are a little higher than in East Asia.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 1:30 pm    Post subject: Shane/Saxoncourt Reply with quote

Well, there's this, which was posted on Dave's a couple of years back. Any use to you? There's also a reply to it from Shane/Saxoncourt, which I'll post later - in the interests of fair play!

There is a lot of negative stuff on the net about Shane. None of it is wrong, but some is inaccurate. Let me rectify these inaccuracies.

People are leaving Shane in droves, and they are experiencing problems recruiting new staff. This is mainly due to the multitude of illegal practices the company carries out and acts of intimidation that have become common knowledge via the internet and word of mouth in Japan.

For example if you are sick they charge you a day and a half’s pay (people have been forced to leave Japan due to this and incur huge debts), and pay the cover teacher half a day’s pay (if they are lucky).

The healthcare is also a total scam, and gives kickbacks to Shane. They are expensive and reserve the right not to pay out. If they do, it takes months, and goes through so many NZ bank accounts, which all charge a handling fee, you are lucky to get 75% back. The Japanese national scheme costs less for your first year than Global healthcare does for two months and it's not impossible to get off of it once you are on, contrary to Shane’s mantra.

You must work 13 extra days a year unpaid. Days off are rarely consecutive. Unpaid leave must be applied for three months in advance, with no guarantee of getting it. They do not pay all travel expenses as promised. When you arrive, you are charged highly inflated prices for apartments, bedding etc. You must then pay back the money used as a deposit within three months, so you are held to financial ransom for a quarter of your first year.

They also demand that you have a telephone and are contactable at all times, yet won't install a phone or sponsor you for a phone to be installed. They send bad references when you leave and show you a false copy. They tell future employers that they are considering taking legal action against you for leaving to scare them out of hiring you. They ask for two months notice to leave. This is illegal. The law says that you must give two weeks, unless your contract states otherwise; then one month is the maximum. If a national holiday falls on pay day, you get your money after the holiday. This is unheard of in Japan.

They sell themselves as a 'British' English school, yet use American language texts. They lie to students to get them to buy the same book for their children twice and keep them in the same class with no prospect of progressing. They only use their own home made texts which are terrible and full of errors. Students are put into any available, level class to maintain targets.

There are many teachers that have been with Shane for around 8 to 10 years, but they came here when the economy was good, and their pay hasn't changed since then, and they couldn't earn that money elsewhere. People trying to start unions have not had their contracts renewed.

In a recent typhoon which killed 7 people, teachers were forced to stay in the schools and not allowed to go home early even though most students cancelled and the train lines shut down. Contracts state you will get an hour for lunch yet the reception staff are told to only allot you 45 minutes. Students are told lies about why you leave the company. Japanese receptionists are paid less than they are in a local hamburger shop.

I could go on longer but I'll leave it for your good selves to double check all of this. Try or or call the Tokyo Bar Association on 03 3581 1511 to have a contract checked by a Japanese solicitor with a translator for free. Have a look at for teachers’ opinions. Other than that, come to Japan and get a job in a state school.

Posted: October 14, 2004
[email protected]
Tokyo, Japan

Last edited by SandyM on Thu Jul 13, 2006 1:58 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply Reply with quote

Here's the response...

Thank you for approaching us for input with your article. As a recruiter of EFL teachers throughout the world (both for Shane and other schools groups) I am aware of the various chat rooms and websites devoted to EFL teachers' experiences. On sites such as Dave's ESL Cafe, I have yet to read a positive posting on any school, anywhere, and it is important to keep these posts in perspective.

I worked in Japan for Shane (as well as in Egypt and Spain for other companies). I remember getting together regularly with other teachers in my district to drink and talk and occasionally complain about how hard we were working - but I have done that in every job I have ever had! I am still in touch with many people who I met in Japan as teachers with Shane (6 of us play football weekly in London) and we occasionally get together to drink and complain about how hard we are working and how easy things were in Japan........

I have been working for Saxoncourt in recruitment since 1998 and in that time I have seen more than 1000 teachers travel to live and work in Japan with Shane. The average stay is 20 months. One or two leave immediately, unable to cope with Japan, others are there for years. The point is that the 95% of teachers who had a good time tend not to get on to websites to write about it.

Saxoncourt/Shane invest a great deal of time, money and effort in recruiting teachers for Japan - ensuring that candidates are fully aware of the living and working conditions is essential in ensuring this time and money is not wasted in recruiting people unsuitable for the job. Being human, this does happen from time to time but staff retention is something that is constantly reviewed in an effort to address any problem areas that may be adversely affecting teachers.

As a recruiter I would like to recruit for a school that pays more than the competition, offers a range of free benefits (including housing, flights etc) has a maximum timetable of 15 hours per week with no split shifts and no weekend work. Unfortunately I have to recruit in the real world and there are aspects of living and working in Japan that are not easy. My job is to ensure that people are fully aware of this before accepting and I would answer any query as truthfully as possible - in fact many feedback sheets have comments like "accommodation wasn't as bad as I had expected" "travel time is less than indicated - which is a nice surprise" because we tend to go a bit overboard on the negative aspects.

I can send you a copy of the contract and the teachers handbook that accompanies it if you like - I'd rather demonstrate the amount/clarity of information we offer than get into a "he said, she said" argument. Suffice to say that many of the points raised by the poster you quoted were simply wrong. You can also get information from our Japan section in the website:

Best wishes,

Paul Mitchell
Marketing Manager
123 New Bond Street
London W1S 1DU

Last edited by SandyM on Thu Jul 13, 2006 1:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 1:53 pm    Post subject: Undecided? Reply with quote

See the entry below!

Last edited by SandyM on Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:24 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 2:20 pm    Post subject: More muck to spread... Reply with quote

Oh, and if you're STILL not sure about whom or what to believe, try this place...

Here's a couple of examples to whet your appetite...

I recently left Shane after working for them in Japan for about 15 months. I have to agree that they should be avoided at all costs.

The vast majority of Shane teachers are deeply unhappy in their jobs, and at the time that I made my departure, teachers were leaving in their droves to work for other language schools. Morale is kept deliberately low by removing holidays at the last minute, unfair distribution of cover days teachers are required to work, and frequent impositions on teachers´ free time by requiring them to teach additional hours for very little, and sometimes no, additional reward.

Accommodation is very, very small and poorly furnished, and they charge roughly twice the market value for it, thereby making a profit from their teachers' accommodation needs. Most other schools subsidise teacher accommodation. Attitudes to their teachers vary. Some DOSs are fine, but central management at Shane HQ seem to regard teachers as property rather than people.

Shane provide virtually no professional support. As far as I am aware (and I did make enquiries) none of the DOSs has more than a CELTA, which means that if you wanted to undertake a DELTA you would be in trouble, as there is most likely no one within the company who will be able to act as your mentor (a requirement for anyone wishing to undertake a DELTA by distance study).

And if you find yourself in any kind of trouble, you can expect absolutely no assistance from the company. Their only concern is that you turn up for work, regardless of what calamity may have befallen you.

I certainly wouldn´t recommend Shane as a first teaching job. It really offers no potential for professional development and in the majority of cases seems to put people off the teaching profession. Just about everyone leaves with a fairly bitter taste in their mouth, and I would suggest that any postings to the contrary are certainly written and posted by Shane management, or DOSs, under instructions from head office.

A bad company to work for. Very disappointing.

disappointed [2004-11-16, 10:25:00][ID: 872-5710]

I left Shane after my home was flooded in a typhoon. I lost quite literally everything I owned, including my home, my clothes and eight months of work for an MA in Applied Linguistics. So, having nowhere to live and no possessions other than the clothes I wore to work that day, my partner and I decided to leave our jobs and move to her home town in the west of Japan, where we would at least have a roof over our heads and some assistance from her family in straightening ourselves out.

My DoS was very sympathetic and understood the necessity to leave the company without serving a period of notice. Unfortunately the Principal of Shane English Schools did not share his compassion and proceeded to chastise me as if I were a badly behaved child. This just two days after I had lost everything.

I am 37 years old and I spent the ten years prior to my employment with Shane working as a journalist at a number of newsrooms in Moscow and London. Newsrooms can be aggressive and highly competitive working environments, but I never experienced such intransigence and insensitivity in any of those where I worked.

Of course, the day to day experience of working for Shane is not so extreme, the Japanese staff are generally very helpful and in most schools there exists a co-operative and amiable working relationship between school managers and teachers. However, senior management seem to consistently demonstrate a quite staggeringly complete disregard for the well being of teachers, which must inevitably affect the way teachers perform in the classroom.

This, combined with the lack of resources (schools have no photocopiers or internet access, and you are restricted to using Shane´s own texts for all but upper intermediate and advanced classes) alongside the absence of potential for professional development and the inadequate and overpriced accommodation I outlined in my previous posting, means that the majority of Shane teachers are permanently demoralized and unhappy.

Sounds a crackin' place, dunnit!!
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First post, and I have a feeling it will stir up trouble. Hey ho - such is life in out little TEFL world!

Point one - I have a lot of bad feeling against Shane because I'm ex Shane Global Village London Bromley. If you don't know the story, PM me.

Point two - I applied for a job as recruiter for Saxoncourt and got to the interview stage but didn't get the job.

I've read through the links Sandy's given us and they hold a lot of truth. What I learned in that interview would make me think twice about taking a job with Shane in Japan. But then again - as was said in one of those links - I was told to talk up the disadvantages to potential teachers because Shane want to employ copers, people who can take on the demands of a tough job in a very, very foreign country like Japan.

I think it's very obvious that Saxoncourt and Shane are the same entity. Anyone who knows what Google is can figure this out.

I don't have any sympathy at all for Saxoncourt/Shane - quite the opposite. But my point is that anyone who is planning to take such a life-changing experience as moving to Japan to live should do a little research... and I suspect that research would put you off S/S.

I didn't come across anything in the posts that Sandy linked to that I wasn't told in that interview. Yep, they're crappy working conditions.... but there wasn't anything there that isn't public knowledge. I think they're terrible employers but I don't think they lie to prospective teachers.

For god's sake, if you want to move abroad, do it with your eyes open. I've been burned by awful schools abroad as well (not Shane) so I do understand. Do your research.

Flame proof pants on, standing well back!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 7:38 am    Post subject: Surgut,Russia Reply with quote

This firm also recruits for a notorious school in a notorius town called Surgut in Siberia!One word of advice-avoid Surgut as its a horrible place run by the Oil and gas mafia which now dominates the Russian economy, unless of course you like red-necks, minus 40C. and expensive Ukrainian whores for company!There are some very informative postings about the school under Russia on this site!Beware!!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Thanks for the post. I've MET Shane. I'm not surprised by what you say. Avoid.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was recruited by Saxoncourt to work for a school in Europe. (Not a Shane school, but they used Saxoncourt for recruitment.)

For reasons I am still not entirely sure of, my Saxoncourt payslips were in pounds sterling but the school paid me in cash in the local currency. Just before I finished my contract I was looking through my payslips when I noticed an "R" in the tax box on one of them. At some point the Inland Revenue had given me a reasonably large tax refund via my UK employer, Saxoncourt, but this hadn't been passed on to me. I advised my British colleagues to check back through their own payslips and most found that they too had been granted tax refunds. We complained to Saxoncourt and several months later cheques finally came through for *our own money*, with no word of apology.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked for SHANE English School in Chiba, then Tokyo in 2004/05. Fresh from doing a Cert Trinity TESOL it was my first (real) teaching job. I had been on the JET programme in Fukuoka for one year in 99/00.

I found SHANE good in that it was able to be fully-arranged outside Japan, in fact, by the English language school that hosted the Trinity course. Also, they meet new teachers at the airport, which is more than my present school in Prague did. However, finding your way from A to B on the subway is virtually impossible for the fresh teacher arriving at Narita Airport, and taxis impossibly expensive, unlike Prague.

I soon came to see SHANE as a post-cert training organisation, rather than a serious education provider. Scheduling was rather higgledy-piggledy, sometimes up to 10 different classes in the 6-hour teaching period. Chiba is traditionally a district hard to recruit to, meaning many days like this - rushed.

I will briefly speak about the three different DOS's I had, before briefing you on the financial shenanigans.

The first DOS was great, professional to a fault, empathetic despite the sometimes impossible task of assigning staff to back-breaking contact hours, and a good sense of humour. However, she up and left suddenly when her district was merged for cost cutting reasons, delivering two districts into the hands of a merciless SHANE warrior.

This fellow was well suited to wielding a stick, had no real social skills to persuade teachers to work the endless standby and cover days required for a short-staffed district, dismissed a teacher with great prejudice who had only been in the country two weeks for not being able to teach to the required standard (usually a DOS would take a personal interest to coach, you would think...) then allocated him four weeks of continuous cover while he completed the final month's employment! Eyesbrows were raised amongst many of us teachers at the logic of this.

Finally, at the end of 12 months in Chiba, I managed a transfer to the West Tokyo district. This district had a much better DOS and even scheduling. You will see some postings on this site on how the quality of Shane DOS can affect your stay, bear it in mind.

This is not meant to be a diatribe against Chiba district. It is just that I had such different experiences in the three districts I worked in. After merging, a few problems popped up with the salary payments. Outlines as follows:

1. Sometimes the extra 'standby' hours I worked were not included in the monthly salary calculations.
2. Three times the 5,000 yen 'cover' day bonus was not included at the end of the three month calculation period. Today, I am told teachers on new contracts don't even get this. Be prepared to work on your day off for free, with the real chance of not receiving one pence for your effort.
3. When I moved out of the SHANE apartment, the staff took out double the amount for final power and gas bills. I ended up having to catch a train to collect the refund (not reimbursed despite requests) as the two district admin offices' payroll systems couldn't, or wouldn't talk to each other...

So yes, you should be careful to check salary payments and keep utility receipts. When mistakes occur at Shane, it generally seem to be at your disadvantage.

SHANE was a punch-drunk, cash rooting, commercially-charging bull. The money supply screwed down extremely tight, and the fat little man has a truly gasp-worthy array of tactics to get teachers into working like little trojans for low pay.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:57 am    Post subject: Shane English Tiger Still Wears Same Scammy Stripes in China Reply with quote

I just saw another post and it look like these guys just can't or don't want to shoot straight.

This Shane English principal tried to squeeze 25,000 from a Brit foreign teacher and the guy blew the whistle on him! Pass out more whistles!
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first full time post was with a Shane school in China and it was a terrible experience.
Right from the beginning they left me feeling completely demoralized. When I got there the first thing they did was offer me a different contract to the one they'd peviously e-mailed me. Saying I had to pay them 20,000rmb (2,000 UK pounds) plus give 4months notice if I wanted to break the 12month contract .
They know they have you in a no-win situation, what do you do? You've come all the way to China, sign it or go 6000miles back home!

The "teaching" was a complete joke, all they wanted was dancing monkeys to entertain the students. The staffroom was full of alcoholics/psychopaths who spent most of their free time drinking, playing poker and fighting. Me and my one friend there referred to them as the "lifers"
Professional development consisted of teachers swapping ideas for games with each other.
There was constant friction between the Chinese staff and the foreigners as basically everyone was treated like .....

I went there with the right attitude, I was prepared to work and get some teaching experience. In the end I stuck it for 5 months and walked away.
Learnt a few lessons about life at the bottom of the TEFL barrel
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I taught with Shane in Tokyo and Shanghai.

I think the problem with Shane Japan is that it has gotten too big for itself.

I was in the north of Tokyo proper (rather than Chiba) and I didn't have too many issues with the school. It was my first real teaching gig, so I didn't know what to expect.

Concerning the original post about how evil Shane is, I have to say that it is not what I experienced. But again, Shane Tokyo is so vast that people working in the Shinjuku area can have a very different experience to those working in the Omiya area. There are roughly around 140 schools in Tokyo (from when I worked there about 5 years ago).

I was based in what is now classed as Higashi Tokyo. The regions were merged in an attempt to create a more focused system from the sprawling mess that had emerged.
My DOS was a slimey *beep*, but he was fired and replaced by a really awesome guy who bent over backwards to help me out.
My ADOS was also possibly the most helpful guy I've ever met. When I told them that I was going to break contract early and move to Shanghai (a woman was involved, as usual) he offered me a payrise to stay in Tokyo. But when I explained the situation, he sorted out an interview for me with the Shanghai head office and made sure I would have no contractual problems. I owe that guy a lot and the least I could do was buy him the most expensive bottle of Glenmorangie I could find.

What Geetus says about the unpaid standby is true. When I moved there the economy had just taken a dive, so the company had stopped hiring for a period. Obviously, teachers were still leaving the company, so those who remained ended up working 6 day weeks. Due to the way the overtime scheme was set up, I only got overtime paid once in the year I was there.

Also, they would flick between being a Japanese company and a British company whenever it suited them. If the Japanese staff were getting paid early (due to a Japanese national holiday) the teachers would get paid later due to it being a British company. But when Christmas came up, we would get paid later due to it being a Japanese company.

I must say that teaching with Shane in Japan isn't really teaching. It's a conveyor belt of 45 minute lessons in which you just read through the book with students. But for a beginner (as I was) it was perfect. No responsibility.


Shane China.

Shane China was franchised to a guy (who's name I forget).
There are some issues with Shane China in that there are several schools who took the name and branding, but are actually not part of the company. Some sort of weird legal issue.
My experience of Shane China is actually nothing but positive.

I was based in the Head Office in the centre of Shanghai. I was working about 20 real hours per week and was getting paid a fairly decent wage (about £1200 per month) which is more than enough to live on in Shanghai.

I can't really say anything bad. I got sick while I was there and the company even offered to contribute towards my hospital bills if the health insurance didn't come through.
Teaching there was more like real teaching than it is in Shane Tokyo.

But again, there was some weird franchising system that went on in which some schools are named 'Shane', but are not actually part of Shane China. I remember hearing problems with such schools on the outskirts of Shanghai and in Ningbo (teachers not getting paid and such)
I remember this being an issue which the head office wanted to sort out since it was reflecting bad on their business, but as it was a separate school, they legally couldn't reign them in.

Anyway, I had a great time there and stayed for 2 years. I only really left because my girlfriend wanted to move back to Berlin. I've now taught in Tokyo, Shanghai, Berlin and Moscow, and I'd say that Shanghai was the by far the best.

So this is my experience with Shane. It really looks as though I lucked out compared to others.
But that said, it also depends very much on the teacher. Many people get into ESL expecting to work Monday to Friday, 9-5 and then throw a fit when they suddenly realise that this is not what's going to happen. Then they take to the internet to leave an outburst of hatred about the school who screwed them over.

I met a few teachers who came to China for all the wrong reasons and they ended up having a terrible time. One of them told me that she only came to China to teach because she couldn't find work in the UK and that she actually hated travelling. Alarm bells went off.
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