I will give you the facts and my experiences. No names or individual focus at all.
OK, for experience I put terrible because during the two years I was there the pay often was paid late as much as 2 weeks late with no apology or reason. Teachers room would flood with water pouring down from the ceiling and wires sparking. The smell from the toilets was awful, they were next to the teachers room. There were no enough text books to go around so you could be looking for a text book for a long time. The realia was so old and dirty it was disgusting. Teachers had to buy their own stuff like sticky balls if they want to make games. I tried to make dice and other stuff for the rest of the teachers. School did NOT pay for the visa. They did NOT give paid accommodation. Accommodation they did offer me was awful. Kitchenette style with kitchen and bed right next to each other with no dividing wall. tiny space, I couldnt call it an apartment. There was no health insurance, the western management said they would sort that out but they never did. They did not pay for the medical checks. They did not pay for the visa here in England or other visa costs whilst in China ie. residence permit etc. Pay was extremely low 12k rmb a month. Colleagues were from Holland, Ghana, p*k*stan, Uzbekistan and god knows where else which is great but I always got the feeling they were talking to me to practice their English.
Foreign management was very young and inexperienced and had their hands tied behind their back as you can imagine having Chinese boss and Chinese management they could not make any of their own decisions or implement anything. It is a tourist city so food prices are expensive and population swells during the best months.
If I could mention the city briefly, minus 18 in winter but you dont get the snow fall as it is a very dry climate there. Little rain and altitude is quite high. The food was awful. They did have Burger King but that was about it. One of my fellow colleagues usually ate nothing but Burger King all the time, quite wise too my guts never adjusted to the local food.
The colleagues were all great. The students were great, fun and enthusiastic on the whole. When it was summer Xining transforms into this wonderful place. The locals are distant and will only want to connect to practice their English.
Chinese colleagues were worked to the bone. Tired most of the time and too busy to chat with the westerners.
The school is in the middle of nowhere, far far west of China. Xining does not have a lot to offer, yes it has fast food and you can go watch movies but on the whole it's a pretty dead end city.
The timetable is not great as you finish late on Friday 8pm then have to be in on Sat*r*ay ready to teach 8am. Sunday morning same 8 am starts.
You will be asked to do games and teaching during the summer in a park and act as a judge for compet*t*ons outside of the school.
Before I finish on the cons I will give you one last experience which will clearly show you what the setup is like there. I left just before the pandemic started and my last months pay was delayed right up to the day before I was leaving. It wasn't necessary for them to do that but they did. When I got back to England I then got a torrent of abuse from the foreign management being called a thief and other extremely rude names I will not write here. Why you ask, well they had paid me an extra months salary by mistake. I had NOT tricked them or cheated them or stolen it. I could and still cannot pay it back as I had disconnected my wechat account from the bank. I tried to find a way by contacting the bank of China but the Bank of China in China is NOT connected with the Bank of China in other parts of the world. I certainly wont be going back to China anytime soon so the money is stuck. I worked there two years and now cant use them as a reference as they have this view that I have taken the money. Even I dont have access to the money so those two years are now a big problem for me. They are so unprofessional I am sorry to say. I am writing here to warn others that there are much better cities and school and to keep away from this specific branch. I am sure other branches of Kid Castle in the rest of China are great.
Advice to Management
The best way is to get training I feel. Have some professional training especially management training. I felt there was a lot of negative emotions thrown out not because of anybody in particular. Not knowing how to handle situations does a disservice to the school and the teachers. If you are in an undeveloped area then things happen. Whether it is teachers rooms flooding or rooms are noisy at night so cant get to sleep, wages not being paid. Just need to improve on all sides to make the experience better and more inviting for the foreign teacher. Yes I can understand Xining is not a rich city so maybe salary cant be increased but the way the school is run could be improved and accommodation more carefully chosen. Realia improved.
This branch of Kid Castle is NOT directly connected with the head quarters Kid Castle in Taipe or the school in Beijing. They bought the name and are a law unto themselves. They can run it how they like and they take advantage of that.
I was a foreign TEFL teacher.