Teachers who are dissatisfied with the UK’s education system are heading overseas to enjoy their career, a new survey reveals.

The findings from Council of British International Schools (CBIS) highlight that 47% of teachers opted to work overseas because they were unhappy.

Researchers also found that 45% teachers looked for career growth and 44% wanted to work overseas for a better salary.

However, the main motivations for a teacher to leave the UK and head overseas is to enjoy, for 71% of them, travel and cultural exploration.

Also, for 63% of international teachers, the prospect of enjoyment and a challenge were the main reasons.

Teachers are very happy with international teaching experience

Indeed, 77% of teachers said they are very happy with their international teaching experience.

When it comes to their reasons for returning, 45% said they wanted to return home while 44% said they had family commitments.

Of these, 26% of those who returned had been working overseas for between three and four years and 71% left the international sector within 10 years.

The survey is the first to provide data about why teachers leave the UK to go overseas, how long they remain there and why they return.

A CBIS spokesman says: “This shows that teaching is a global profession with teachers moving overseas for professional and personal fulfilment. Teaching offers an exciting and rich career both internationally and at home.

‘International service benefits the wider education sector’

“International service benefits the wider education sector and attracts good recruits and encourages teachers to remain in the profession who often return to the UK with valuable experience and skills.”

The survey contacted 2,000 British international schools and found that the staff who return are more culturally aware and internationally-minded.

They are also more adaptable and have a renewed enthusiasm for teaching, CBIS says.

The findings also highlight that one in three teachers who decided to work in the international school sector were thinking about leaving the teaching profession before taking the job.

Despite this, 94% of British international school leaders say that recruiting quality staff is ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ challenging.

The organisation says that the ability to act as a teaching school for UK trainees, for 41% of respondents, would help them recruit more teachers.

Position international teaching as a career option

Now Cobis says it is looking to position international teaching as a career option to attract professional opportunities and to boost international training opportunities.

The organisation also says that those who have international experience are welcomed, supported and encouraged to return to UK schools with recognition of their accredited service overseas.

There are around 4,300 British international schools around the world which accounts for 45% of the global international schools market.

The international school sector is growing by around 6% every year with 450 new international schools opening every 12 months and over the next 10 years, the schools will need up to 230,000 more staff to meet staffing needs.

More information

The report from the Council of British International Schools about why British teachers head overseas can be downloaded from their website.