5 Reasons to Teach in the UK
The beginning of the new year is a great time for making plans and setting goals for the months ahead. If one of your goals for 2016 is to accept a new challenge – perhaps changing school or maybe moving to teach in another country, then you should seriously consider teaching in the UK – and there’s never been a better time to make the move.
The UK is a great place to teach; the schools are well equipped, there are plenty of opportunities for professional development and, despite the wet weather, the UK is an amazing place to live.
And here are 5 more reasons to begin teaching in the UK.
1 – Opportunities Abound
The acute teacher shortage in the UK, which could results in a shortfall of as many as 30,000 teachers by September 2016, has led the education department and local authorities to implement various strategies to ensure student learning is not adversely affected. These initiatives have created more opportunities for foreign teachers to move to the UK, and teachers from the US, Australia, Canada and other Commonwealth countries are being warmly welcomed by UK schools.
Specialist subject teachers with experience teaching Mathematics and the Sciences are in huge demand at the moment. Teachers with the skills and qualifications to teach these subjects will be able to find a full time position in a UK school without much difficulty. General primary school teachers are also in demand, especially in large urban centers such as London and Manchester, although you may need to start with a temporary position as a supply teacher before being awarded a permanent position.
Teachers from the US and selected Commonwealth countries who are under the age of 31, can apply for the Youth Mobility Visa, while older teachers with the qualifications to teach shortage subjects such as Mathematics and Science, will need to be sponsored by a school or a local authority and gain a Certificate of Sponsorship, before moving to the UK.
2 – Career Development
The National Curriculum in England and Wales has many similarities to the curriculum in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. These similarities make the transition to teaching in a British school relatively straightforward for teachers coming from Commonwealth countries. Teachers coming from the US may find the structure of the UK system quiet different to what they are used to, but with support from the school and a short induction session, American teachers will be ready to go.
Teaching in the UK is great for career development because there are many opportunities to join professional development workshops and the experience of teaching in the UK will help broaden your horizons. This is especially true for young teachers, for whom increased experience will help further develop classroom teaching ability.
As mentioned earlier, new teachers in the UK often start work as supply teachers which will mean teaching a variety of levels, and subjects, at a range of different schools. While this will have its challenges it will also be a valuable experience.
Furthermore, teaching experience in the UK will make a valuable addition to any teacher’s resume. UK teaching experience can also open up more international opportunities because many international schools in the Middle East and Asia use an internationalized version of the British curriculum. These schools usually look for teachers who have experience with the English National Curriculum, so after a brief stint in the UK, you could find yourself being offered a tempting position in an exotic location such as Hong Kong, Thailand or Singapore.
3 – Arts and Culture
The UK has an extremely rich heritage of arts and culture, which is enhanced further by the country’s long history, eclectic mix of architecture and vibrant ethnic communities which have made the country a cultural melting pot.
Whether you prefer the more traditional arts, such as those found in the country’s world-renowned museums, art galleries and theaters or you’re more interested in contemporary arts from the country’s urban communities, the UK has something to inspire everyone.
4 – Sports
Whichever sport you’re passionate about, there’s a chance its origins can be traced back to the UK. Tennis, rugby, football, cricket and golf all originated in the UK and these sports continue to be extremely popular across the British Isles. Wherever you travel in the UK you’ll find the opportunity to join enthusiastic fans supporting their local team and those who want to get involved in the action, will easily be able to find a local sports club welcoming new members. Joining a sports club is also a great way to make new friends and become fully immersed in the local culture.
5 – Travel
Teaching in the UK gives you plenty of opportunities to explore exciting locations the length and breadth of the country. London and Manchester are always popular with visitors to the UK but there are plenty of other cities that also deserve a visit.
These five cities prove particularly popular with foreign travelers; Oxford, and its world-famous university, Canterbury with its long history, interesting architecture and beautiful countryside, Torquay, which offers a lively coastal lifestyle, Brighton, with its laid back atmosphere and colourful townhouses and York, with its impressive medieval architecture and narrow cobblestoned streets.
The UK, being well-situated for taking short trips to other European countries, is also a great travel hub. Travelers can take a high speed train through the Channel Tunnel and be in France or Belgium in as little as 2 hours, or take advantage of the increasing competitiveness between Europe’s low cost airlines which now link London with all of Europe. There are amazing destinations across Europe and with so much to explore, it really makes sense for teachers working in the UK to spend some of their holiday time exploring Europe’s treasures.
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