For young Australians and Canadians, time spent travelling Europe and working in London is a rite of passage. And it’s never been better for those with a teaching degree.
The UK education sector is always recruiting for teachers at any stage of their career, giving you an exceptional chance to grow and develop experience overseas. A skills shortage of qualified teachers means that the UK is always ready for new and experienced teachers to join their ranks.
The best way you can get going into your new life teaching in the UK, is to register with a teacher recruitment agency. These experts can help you get set up, and advise on everything from placement opportunities and salary expectations to national insurance numbers and bank accounts.
Here’s some of the most frequent information that teachers looking to work in London, Scotland and beyond want to know. Read on to learn how you can get a teaching job in the UK.
What type of visa do I need?
There are lots of entry points to the UK through visa systems. Many commonwealth teachers could be eligible for ancestral visas. Before you apply for any visa though, be sure to check with the UK government’s visa website, as things may change before you submit your application.
• Points based visas – Tier 1 Highly Skilled Workers (unsponsored), Tier 2 Skilled Workers (Sponsored), Tier 4 Students, Tier 5 Youth Mobility. These visas are for these with no parental link to the UK. You will be assessed by a number of criteria including experience, income and language.
• UK passport – for those people with UK-born parents, or those naturalised in the UK.
• European Economic Area (EEA) Passport and Swiss Nationals – Current UK membership in the EU allows those with EEA and Swiss passports to still live and work in the UK. This will not change until the UK formally exits the EU at a later date, with the process expected to take up to two years – please check regularly with the Gov.UK website for the latest on this.
• Ancestry visa – Commonwealth citizens can apply for this if they can show proof of a grandparent born in the UK, Isle of Man or Channel Islands. No public benefits are included in this visa, but you can stay and work for up to five years, renewing as many times as you like.
Will my qualifications be recognised?
Teachers qualified in Australia and Canada will have their teaching qualifications recognised through an online government approval process, called QTS. The government portal allows teachers looking to work abroad to submit an application online, attaching a letter from your recognised authority confirming that you are qualified and eligible to teach.
The UK government then verifies that you are fully qualified and have not been barred from teaching. You’ll then be sent a QTS letter, confirming your award. Your details will be added to a database of qualified teachers in England.
Both primary and high school teaching specialisms are still in high demand across the UK.
What are the benefits of teaching in the UK?
As a teacher, you already know about the love you have for your profession, that nothing compares to seeing young people excel and develop under your care. However, did you know that teaching in the UK also comes with a financial benefit? It is considered one of the most rewarding professions in the UK, for personal development as well as financial. Research shows that starting salaries, and average salaries, for teachers, are significantly higher than for many other professions. There are plenty of other salary benefits, pensions contribution and special needs skilled payments available too. Starting salaries can be researched online.
What’s life like in the UK?
The UK is a fascinating nation of unique cities, towns and villages all waiting to be explored. As well as being a terrific base for travelling into Europe and America, there is a lot to experience within the UK boundaries as well.
Transport across the UK is well connected and usually well serviced. An extensive train, metro and bus service network can be expected, and there are always opportunities to pick up a small car for getting around.
You can use your Australian or Canadian drivers’ licence for the first year you are in the UK without needing to exchange it for an UK one, but after 12 months you will need to apply for a local licence.
Depending on where you are placed, the cost of living is fairly reasonable outside of London, with food and supplies available at low costs compared to some places in Australia. However, you may wish to pack some of your favourite treats from home! Most places are relatively safe and you can expect the same types of freedoms, entertainment, sports and cultural depth as you would in Australia or Canada.