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Legal Recourse for OTT who have gotten used, abused, and shafted

Discussion in 'Overseas trained teachers' started by hollybridge, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. Any information would be appreciated. With all the complaints on here it seems like a class action suit would be appropriate. This is, after all, a country of law and justice. Or should be. If there is any interest I will open an email account and you can show interest by sending me a brief note about your 'used, abused or shafted' story. Show your interest by responding briefly to this post. In a month, if it gets to ten I think we should talk to a lawyer.

    I think a lot of false information is given to OTT teachers during the interview.

    I think that too many schools are using OTT teachers and then wishing them well in four years.

    I think that because OTT teachers are paid much less than QTS teachers that they are being exploited.

    I think that not much is done for supporting OTT teachers after being employed.

    I think the system may have been set up for the express purpose of exploitation

    I think that SMT disregard issues of OTT.

    I think OTT are too often given the very worst forms and duties.

    But this is just my personal experience.

  2. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    One of many problems with "abroad" is that "it isn´t like the USA".

    One specific example.

    There is no such thing as a "class action" in England.

    Not even in that part of "Northern England" which quaintly retains its own legal system; more or less.

    I am always curious about the question; how do OTT compare their experiences to those of the natives?

    To some extent the answer, at least in this post is obvious. Worse. Much worse.

    Perhaps I could alter the question ever so slightly; What does the OP think of the conditions in English schools for the local (teaching) populace?

    And a very slight variant; What does the OP think of the reaction of the local (teaching) populace to the conditions under which they are expected to work in local schools?
  3. There is no recourse for groups of people who have been harmed by the same incident, product, law, policy, etc.? Now I know why they put the '24 people killed on this road in the last three years' sign is about. Don't have to fix the dangerour road!

    OTT are recruited with the proviso that no British resident is available (or willing) to fill the job. By this it is apparent that OTT teachers are not exactly given the sweetest positions.

    ummm I forgot what else you were talking about... no memory at all.

    Instead of fixing the schools so that British people will be eager to be teachers.... Lets just put up an ad for OTT! AHAH!

  4. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Hmmm... As on OTT teacher working in Switzerland a couple of things come to mind. First and foremost is that no-one forces you to work in the UK. If you don't like it you can leave and find another school or country which is more to your liking. That is what I and many thousands of others have done over the years. What on earth makes you think that the UK owes you anything? As you have stated you are an OTT. Why didn't you stick around and teach where you did your training if you felt it was so fantastic?
  5. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    Not only "no memory at all" but also

    ................no answers to 2 moderately straight forward questions.

    To repeat one of my original points, one of the ways in which you can recognise "abroad" is "it is different from home" which can also be expressed as "it is not the same as home".

    E.g. no class actions; neither for dodgy pharmaceutical products, nor for dodgy hiring policies nor even for dodgy roads.
  6. I'm hoping that somebody would have some idea about this. I am currently working at a school in East London. When I was approached by the school with an offer of employment I had reservations due to the distance and set up of the department. I informed them that I also required a work permit. The head assured me that they would apply for my work permit and offered me a chance to opt out in December if the travel etc. was too taxing. Due to various reasons I am trying to leave this school at the end of December, however, the school is now refusing to provide me with a work permit unless I stay on longer. They are only prepared to give me the work permit at the end of this extended period. Does anyone have a clue about the Leaglity of this as I have been unable to get any word from my union about this.
  7. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    If you are not going to be working at the school they really have no need to supply you with a work permit. If you want my advice, keep quiet and make the right noises until you get your work permit. Then apply for jobs elsewhere.
  8. The UK owes me nothing - but not all of us are immigrants with no link to the UK. My husband would appreciate being able to 'stay at home' for awhile, and as his wife is the main earner of the household it provides a slight dilemma. My links with this country are all my grandparents and great grand parents are from here. I don't feel that I don't belong. But if the brick wall can't be got through, we will leave. Also some of us aren't so mobile. I have children settled in schools. 'Sorry kids new country, this one doesn't need or want us'. And actually I don't quite believe that. I've brought expertise and experience which where I am working is needed and feel I have contributed quite a lot.
  9. Kiwi Jo

    Kiwi Jo New commenter

    To answer question a, I am fully qualified NZ teacher with a BA and Postgraduate Teaching Diploma, recognised by the UK qualifications authority. I have taught for many years in NZ classrooms with full control - as one would expect from a fully qualified teacher! However in this country to gain QTS I would need to accept a drop in wages to that of a TA and resit GCSE maths and science, which is very funny considering I have passed those modules with flying colours in my teacher training and have NZ qualifications through school. Quite frankly, this country doesn't deserve Commonwealth teachers if you want to treat them like uneducated educators. UK teachers wishing to teach in NZ are able to go straight onto the NZ pay scale as soon as they are offered a position in line with their UK teaching experience. Sure, they are unable to be fully registered when first teaching in NZ but can get signed off in time and their wages are not affected and they certainly are not treated like TAs. This country chooses to treat Commonwealth trained teachers in this way to avoid paying them what they are worth.

    It is no wonder the independent sector is so much better in the UK as at least teachers can be employed and work to their potential without all the ridiculous red tape the state school have to deal with.
  10. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    Thank you for replying to one of my questions.

    I am however just a shade confused by 2 elements of your statement which I shall label (A) and (B) and highlight below.

    Am I right in thinking that the "BA + Teaching Diploma" is not recognised as sufficient to bestow QTS and that the English authorities require further specific qualifications along the lines of GCSE Maths & Science to bestow QTS?

    The issue of compulsory Maths&Science GCSE is obviously a contentious one, and quite a few English people complain that it is burdensome, but I for one subscribe to the theory that this is not a burdensome requirement and can reasonably be requested of any candidate.
    Obviously for foreign teachers the issue of equivalence is central, and I am not aware of what if any NZ qualifications you have to offer, but one major problem with "abroad" is that per se it is the local standards which obtain and it is the national authority which decides equivalence.

    It is for instance a fact that most Canadian provinces do not recognise most English teaching qualifications. Whereas, to the best of my knowledge, Canadian qualifications are generally recognised and accepted in England.

    This does not make me think "those Canadians don´t deserve English teachers," but rather "isn´t it good that Canadians demand high standards of those who wish to come and teach in their country. If only that were true here, for the people whom we allow to work as teachers!"

    Just in case you think I am having a go at you by the last comment, I am not. I am thinking of TAs, CSs etc., etc., etc. who are taking classes every day of the week in this country at the same time as the government pretends to be driving up standards in schools and the media and the parents pretend to believe them.

    Whilst it is your prerogative to answer as many or as few questions which I pose as you choose to, I am disappointed that, apart from a few indirect allusions at the end of your main paragraph and in your final paragraph, neither yourself nor any other of the overseas teachers posting here have expressed any opinion about how local teachers are treated. This was the core of my initial contribution in post no. 2.

    [Though not the same issue at all, do you, for instance, think that it is only because they employ Kiwi teachers that the independent sector in the UK (read England) is "so much better"?]

  11. Kiwi Jo.
    I understand your frustration and agree with most of what you have to say regarding OTT’s. From my observations I can add the following:
    The UK (authorities) forgets that most of her former colonies have similar education systems originally modelled on the British educational system.
    An OTT with a number of years of experience teaching are in all likelihood better trained than a British trained NQT with zero experience.
    As for the treatment of OTT’s here. The British system is showing the negative effects of Trade Unionism with an Us vs. Them mentality. State school teachers here work to rule, and do not expect to have to pick up various duties that teachers elsewhere in the world are expected to cover, i.e. lunch break duty, play ground duty, car park duty etc. If asked to do more they often want to run to their union rep. NO don’t take my word for it look at the various columns and see how often a union is mentioned. I am not saying all teachers are the same but until there is no more US vs. Them and more co-operation from both sides things will stay as they are.
    As a result of the above the schools administration are pretty petty with certain issues to ensure they get their ‘pound of flesh’. Having to fill in a Health declaration form to state the number of days off work over the past two years is an example of this. Also advertising a post as ‘Full time Term Time Contract Only’ is another.’ If the job is full time you would expect to get paid during the holidays. This is an example of the system screwing a job applicant regardless of locally trained or OTT.
    To Big Frank and others, regardless of the ‘quality’ of your OTT qualification the OTT still has to go the route of the OTTP to gain UK/England recognition. During that process they are paid as a NQT or equivalent to a TA with some experience.
    From what I have seen of the education system in the UK, it is well resourced but the children are slightly behind their age group as compared to South Africa, where I come from. (And to curtail a ‘smart’ quip from Big Frank ‘to go back to where I come from’, I am British born and bred). If it is for this reason (to improve teaching standards) that the authorities have put in place these measures, then that’s a good thing. However too much control usually is counterproductive, ask any economist.
    As for independent schools being better. Big Frank, It’s not because they will accept OTT’s that they are better, it’s that they are not restricted by State intervention and red tape that they are better. If you don’t believe me just look at the results. I believe most if not all independent schools lead the way in the quality of education they provide.
    These are simply my observations on the subject. You will see from a previous posting from me that I DO believe that UK schools would rather not employ an OTT. This may be that they do not ‘trust’ our qualifications, but in all probability it is because they don’t want the added grief of being out of their ‘comfort zone,’ Employing a UK trained teacher is ‘simply easier’ for them.

  12. Sorry for the numbering which somehow disappeared when posting but if you want to see it correctly hit reply and read.
  13. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    I deliberately used the term "better" which has little if any connection to the term better in my last post.

    If you trully believe that the matters you mention in this section are the<u> cause</u> of the difference between state and private schools in Britain (England especially) then you do view the world through a very opaque prism indeed; in my opinion.
    Ditto. In spades. In my opinion
    I was tempted to suggest in my first paragraph above that it appeared that class distinction was foreign to the teaching system in South Africa,and presumably to society there, but from this quote, it seems that you are well aware of it.

  14. I suggest you read this thread
    from the teaching overseas forum about teaching in New Zealand. UK teachers need to get their qualifications assessed, need to provide proof of where they have worked etc. That has to be done before they go to New Zealand.
    It seems to be they have the same problems as you.
  15. What does the second T in OTT stand for?

  16. Overseas Trained Teacher = OTT

    Having been an OTT from the United States I luckily found none of these things true for me for the most part.
    At my first school I was hired through an agency at the last minute (well a month before school which was no picnic when moving from the US and waiting for documents, etc.) I had one year contract and then a we'll see. At first I wanted to leave, but then wanted to stay and because of some miscommunication via private conversations about my wanting to teach A-Level I wasn't able to stay for another year. During this first year, however, I did have a reduced timetable as an OTT and a mentor, just like all the NQT's so the school strove to treat me specially since I was from overseas and a brand new teacher with no experience outside of university and student teaching.
    I decided to try to find work at the end of the year and was lucky enough to be called on two interviews and asked to work at both places (outside of London, one east, one west). I choose the school in East London, very diverse, great department who were so lovely on my visit. I once again had a reduce timetable and mentoring sessions as well as attending new teacher training with lots of support from the Deputy Head who was in charge of me and another OTT from Australia. The school supported me in my gaining of QTS, even after I had let them know I wanted to move back to US. I had one of the organizations do the 'translation' of my US qualifications and never heard of anything like having to take GCSE's, but perhaps my college transcripts for those subjects were enough.
    While the QTS folder and observations were quite a lot to handle and caused quite a few tears, I have to say I was proud when it was done and ran around showing everyone this beautiful folder I made. The constant observation was hard on me and my students. I had only one KS4 group so they were being seen about every other week by someone and once they got an explanation were very understanding about it. I would go back to that school in a heartbeat!

    I'm sorry others have had negative experiences, I know it is difficult coming from other schools but I hope everyone isn't discouraged by the bad story's.
  17. Normal




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    This is exactly how I feel going through OTT. You ahve no idea what a relief it is to hear someone feels the same. I sometimes feel I'm going crazy at work. No one else ever seems to understand.
    I too am lucky to have found a
    school that has invested enough time in me to allow me to work towards gaining
    But I do feel humiliated more than I ever thought possible. The frustration
    of the pointless folders, standards and observations has brought me to tears on
    more than on occasion. What's more is the devalue of my Canadian teaching
    degree, which I worked very hard for.

    Furthermore, no one is interested in the faults of the system. All they
    think is that they to had to be observed and create a folder so therefore I
    should to, totally disregarding everything I did in Canada.

    Finally the harassment I get from peers and even the local teacher training
    organization involved is frustrating. Everyone seems to think that completing
    OTT should be a snap, easy peasy, while they forget that I am a full time
    teacher with responsibilities.

    One would hope that in such a poor education system, teachers from countries
    that have got it right would be welcomed and valued far more. It is my opinion
    that the UK is facing an education crisis and are doing themselves no favours
    by holding their pride too close, and pushing quality educators away.
  18. Pirandello

    Pirandello New commenter

    This is really to everyone here, I have rad a few of the threads and getting the jist hopefully!
    Well I am British, and have come over to Australia to do my Masters in Teaching, I have UK teaching experience and NZ Teaching experience already, I am just so fed up with the British attitude that some how we are far more superior with our qualifications and universities. The Masters in Teaching which I will start next week at Melbourne University seems to be one of THE most forward thinking and a new approach to teacher training than I have ever seen. It is a Masters incorporating the PGCE or PGDE - whatever, and will also mean the NTT will also have research specialism. I aim to come back to the UK with this qualification and want to change the Gov, Schools and UK approach to this 'OTT' thing, I think it is appaulaing that the UK regards an overseas trained teachers as unqualified unless they go through an assesment process, why should we/they? they are trained teachers just the same. I will be slightly gutted - ''an understatement' if when I am back in the UK to live and work which will hopefully be 2013 - 2014 I will be regarded as an unqualified teacher! when I have spent 1.5 years gaining my Masters and my licence to teach!
    I do think the UK needs to catch up on this as it comes across as a cantankerous old man when you see what other countries are doing to strive to train up new teachers in new and refreshing approaches to teaching.
    I when I was in the UK last year did a couple of teaching placements, and leading up to me leaving for Oz I applied to do my PGCE every year for three years and didn't get anywhere I can put it down to two things, the competion was and is so great, people are being made redundant and are going into teacher training as you always need teachers! and I dont have a 'C' grade in maths GCSE, well there is more to being a great teacher than getting high grades! and actually another thing I do believe Gove is wanting the requirment changed now for degree level? it is going to be a 2:1 or above?, what is it with the UK Gov that thinks if you have high quals you must be a good teacher! this is just nonsense. I have been OFSTED assesed and passed, I have lectured in FE and I have taught as a relief teacher in secondary all without my PGCE.
    Being a good teacher whether overseas or UK trained comes from your empathy, instincts, the support you get professionally and to some exstent it is also a natural skill.
  19. I'm curious - how much support in getting into an OTT programme / attaining QTS should my school be providing me? When I was hired, it was with the proviso that I earn my QTS within two years of my employment. Other than the Assistant Principal finding an OTT programme for me and setting up three placements at local schools once I?m in the programme, I have had NO help, NO mentoring, NO support as a new teacher. Nothing. Not even a 'How's the application coming along?' The NQTs were supported in various ways throughout their first year. I was basically dumped into several nightmare classes (which supports what another poster wrote about OTTs being hired because British teachers won?t take those jobs). The English department at the time had three long-term supply teachers, so that should tell you something.....

    The contact person for the programme was nearly impossible to get in touch with last year; numerous phone messages weren't returned. I mentioned this to the AP and was told only, ?You?ll have to email them, then.? Eventually, I found out that, despite having a BA in English and a Med in English Education (which NARIC says is equivalent to a UK degree), I would have to sit ALAN tests in Maths & English since I don?t have my high school transcripts or diploma (I graduated in 1985, and NARIC only needed college transcripts).

    By the time I learned this, it was summer break, so I had to wait until September to find out if the tests could be taken at my place of employment. When I asked, I was told by the AP to check with the testing coordinator. The school underwent a network refit that took not only the entire summer, but also caused major computer problems well into first term, so I was told that they couldn?t offer me the test; I would have to find someplace else. I asked for her help in this, as I had no idea what schools offered them; she gave me a phone number for a local school. When I called, I was told that they no longer offered the tests and were, in fact, in the process of closing the site. I don?t understand why the testing coordinator couldn?t have given them a quick call first to check.....

    My partner Googled for me and found a company that offered literacy & numeracy assessments; to make sure this would be acceptable, I emailed the OTT contact. No response, so I did the assessments anyway. I then went to the AP of English to see if she could contact them, as I was having no luck. Funnily enough, she got an almost immediate response from the contact?s supervisor. After some back and forth emails, which were not very clear at all, I tried calling the contact to find out EXACTLY what I needed to do (the assessments I took would only count as one GCSE). Had I known this last year, I might have been able to sit the English and Maths exams when the pupils did theirs......The contact and I played phone tag for a bit, then I had to put everything on hold to focus on a personal matter. Now, when I try to get things back on track, I?m told by my principal that because I?m not making what she considers ?adequate progress? towards getting into the programme & earning my QTS, my employment with the school may end in July. To add insult to injury, I was given a letter telling me this yesterday after school, just as I'm preparing to leave for Easter break, so I have THAT hanging over my head for the next two weeks.

    Am I dealing with school leaders who just don?t care and can?t be bothered, or are OTTs supposed to figure everything out for themselves and some posters have just gotten lucky with supportive administrators?
  20. I think that you are far from alone.
    They recruited and brought you here and promised to help you get QTS, used you in the worst ways and impossible situation and now are in process of telling you to FRO.
    Welcome to England!

    Watch your back, because now they are going to try to discredit you in some way to shut you up. Seek union advice. You are in a dangerous position.

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