GUIDE FOR INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS
GUIDE FOR INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS
With a shortage of new teachers throughout England and a growing education community, the need for international teachers is as big as ever. Teaching in the UK offers many wonderful opportunities for personal and professional development and to be part of an education system world-renowned for its high values and expectations.
What qualifications do I need to become a teacher in England?
Essentially all international teachers must be able to obtain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in order to teach in England. However for teachers from certain countries, obtaining QTS will not be possible and therefore international candidates will have 4 years in which to gain their QTS from the first day they start teaching in England. Those teaching in England without QTS are seen as Overseas Trained Teachers (OTTs).
Gaining QTS will depend on the level of certification or licensure you have and this will vary hugely dependent on what province or state you work in and how your training works towards you becoming fully qualified in your own country.
The recommendation is that all international teachers apply for QTS in advance unless you are from South Africa or Jamaica as these countries automatically will not grant QTS no matter how experienced or trained a teacher is from these countries.
Applying for QTS is relatively simple and quick and a decision is usually reached within a month as to granting QTS status or not.
Please be assured though that if you do not qualify for QTS, it is not a major hindrance in a teacher finding work in England! However having a QTS number as you are promoted to English schools is definitely a bonus.
How might teaching in England be different from my own country?
There’s little doubt that all international teachers will need to adapt to a different curriculum seen in England. However from the majority of countries these are subtle changes that can be easily adapted to so long as all teachers coming to England have an open mind to changing their ways and adapting! If you are not open to changing the ways you teach from back home, it will inevitably take longer for you to settle in England.
Expectations are high of teachers to deliver a high standard of education not just in the classroom, but in planning, marking and assessment.
Organisation is a key ingredient to being successful in England along with a strong personality that students will find approachable and passionate about the subject they teach. Classroom management skills will also need to be strong and effective.
Finding Accommodation in England (short and long term)
Finding suitable long-term accommodation is an important aspect to a settled working environment for any new international teacher. Quantum Scholars provide guidance to help you achieve this but ultimately it will be down to teachers to view and secure their own accommodation.
Whilst it would be fantastic to have accommodation set up before arriving in England, we advise against signing a lease or paying a deposit until you have actually seen a property in person!
We recommend that teachers have pre-arranged accommodation for the first few days following on from the Teacher Induction event, usually a cheap hotel or bed and breakfast that is local to where you will be living long term. Airbnb has been a revelation in helping teachers get set up with an initial place to live over recent years. Please remember though that you will not have access to a car, so make sure your initial accommodation allows you to get around easily and view other properties that are within a good travelling distance to your school where you’ll be commuting to every day.
With a short-term base, you can then arrange viewings for longer-term accommodation whilst getting a feel for the area you’re living in. Shared accommodation is the most common and recommended suggestion for overseas teachers arriving in England, especially if you’re travelling alone. It’s the best way to save money and it also provides excellent opportunities to meet new friends.
Contracts will typically be 6 months long but there are plenty of other options on websites such as www.spareroom.co.uk for house shares and more flexible contracts. Also try www.zoopla.co.uk for whole properties.
Have in mind a figure of paying somewhere between £400-£550 per month (outside London) including bills as part of a house share and approximately £600-£800 per month living inside London. There are of course cheaper options that do come up as well but this is a good conservative figure to keep in mind.
What is the salary for a teacher in England?
There is a national pay scale in England that must be adhered to by state schools throughout the country. The national pay scale has variations according to location as the closer you work to London, the more you’ll be paid. This is to compensate for the higher cost of living.
|Region (2023 salaries)
|Yearly Salary from
|Yearly Salary to
|Long Term daily rate of pay up to
|£244.44 per day
|£235.90 per day
|Fringe of London
|£218.91 per day
|Rest of England
|£211.96 per day
What is the average class size of a school in England?
In primary schools the average class size as of 2021 stands at just over 26.
In secondary schools the average class size as of 2021 stands at nearly 22.3. However it’s reasonable to expect class sizes in secondary schools to be more around 25-30 when teaching 11-16 year olds as A-Level class sizes (16-18 year olds) are often a lot smaller and bring down the national average figure.
The school year in England
The English school year runs over three terms with set holidays breaking up each term. There are 195 teaching days in the year.
TERM 1 – September to December (followed by a 2 week holiday over Christmas and New Year)
TERM 2 – January to April (followed by a 2 week holiday over Easter
TERM 3 – April to July (followed by the end of the school year and a 6 week summer holiday)
There is also a one week half-term break in the middle of each of the three terms. This means that teachers never work more than 8 weeks without getting at least a week’s break, allowing time to re-energise throughout the school year.
School day and teaching hours
A school day in England typically runs from around 8.30am to 3.30pm but this can vary greatly between schools. Often a teacher will also act as a Form Tutor to a group of students throughout the entire school year. A form tutor caters for pastoral and academic needs to the students within the group. Tutorial time is usually a 15 minute session first thing in the morning before lessons start.
Teachers in England will on average teach 19-20 hours per week at school. However the total number of hours is pushed up to around 40 hours per week and sometimes more because of the demands on teachers outside of lesson time. This includes planning, marking and assessment of student work.
Setting up a bank account and National Insurance number in England
Opening up a high street bank account is not always the easiest exercise for international teachers when they first arrive in England. Thankfully though there is a relatively new and fast growing alternative online bank called www.revolut.com/ which is extremely helpful in bypassing the issues teachers experience when opening an account with a high street bank.
When opening a high street bank account you generally have to provide evidence of having a long term address in England which is highly unlikely for teachers when they first arrive in England. With Revolut however you can open an account without having to provide a long term home address. Revolut will also provide you with the same debit card as a high street bank meaning you’re able to always have access to cash through ATMs and make online/in-store purchases.
VISIT www.revolut.com for more information on how to start an account. Please note though that you can only open the account online once you arrive in England.
If you do still prefer and choose to go through a high street bank, there are plenty of them and this is what you will need to help set you up with an account when you arrive:
- Your passport
- Your visa
- A letter of employment from you school/employer (Quantum Scholars)
- A utility bill from your previous home address overseas (dated within last three months of arrival)
- Evidence of your long term residence in England (utility bill / tenancy agreement)
Banks to open an account with
The UK has a whole range of well-known high street banks so look out for any of the following when setting up an account:
- Natwest, HSBC, Halifax, Barclays, Lloyds, RBS, Nationwide, Santander
Getting a National Insurance Number
If you are on a Skilled Worker Visa you will find you NI number on your visa.
If for any other reason you need an NI number you must search for your local Job Centre Plus and book an appointment with them to start the process towards gaining a National Insurance number which is something every worker needs to have in England. You will be asked for a short fact to face interview and then provided with an NI number although the process can take several weeks. Until gaining an NI number you will be on an emergency tax code but the tax you pay will always be straightened out once you gain your NI number.
To learn more about National Insurance please visit www.gov.uk/national-insurance