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So you want to return to teaching in the UK?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by jennifer longhu, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. This will probably be the longest-ever post. I have already picked up 8 pages of advice from the past . . . I have put these links at the end.

    The comments below are relevant to my school (large independent school in SW London). They are probably relevant to most other good independent schools. I can give little or no advice on returning to maintained schools.

    HOW TO FIND OUT ABOUT JOBS
    TES is the standard ? no-one dares NOT put their ad there, even if they repeat it elsewhere. Guardian and Independent too (but it is always as well as TES). Gabbitas is the big agency. A google on ?teacher recruitment agency? will find another dozen. Top jobs will be dealt with by search companies ? tell them if you are interested in returning to UK to a headship, and they will bear you in mind.

    The main associations of independent schools have their websites with lists of schools, often in geographical areas. Some also have vacancies pages.

    http://www.hmc.org.uk/
    http://www.gsa.uk.com/
    http://www.iaps.org.uk/
    http://www.isaschools.org.uk/

    http://www.isc.co.uk/index.php/204 has a jobs newsletter that you can sign up for.

    WHEN TO APPLY
    5 terms before: for top jobs (Head of a major school), the ads will go in often 4 or 5 terms before. An application for something like this is a big project, and not something that you can knock up in a weekend; the bare bones should be prepared by you well before this.

    3 terms before (Autumn term): Headships of many schools, some Deputy Headships, posts where the schools know someone is retiring.

    2 terms before: (Spring Term): posts where current postholders got the jobs above, posts where schools have planned expansion or changes. A big rush of ads in TES.

    1 term before (after Easter): posts where current staff have given notice on 1st day of term. Another big rush of ads in TES.

    Whitsun: posts where current staff have given notice on 31 May. You will mostly be in competition with NQTs at this stage (as these are the ones available without giving notice) so you stand a pretty good chance as you are experienced.

    WHICH TYPE OF SCHOOL?
    I am talking independent only here, and there is a wide variety. All independents will give you 4 or 5 weeks more holiday than state (although you will no longer have those unreasonably long summer holidays that you currently enjoy). Other conditions of work and pay will vary.

    Big and successful: at least the same salary as in a state school, possibly a little higher, with some pretty cutting-edge expectations of teachers. All conditions of service (pension, sick pay, maternity and paternity leave, etc.) will be up to the standard of the state teachers? rights ? which are extremely good. Usually lots of possibilities for internal promotions or additional allowances for additional responsibilities. Teaching % of week usually less than the state maximum of 90% (say 75-80%), class size 18-27. Parents will have very high expectations, and will tell you so. Especially if you don?t meet them.

    Big and successful boarding: as above, but higher salaries, sometimes seriously higher, possible accommodation, and a requirement to work some evenings and weekends, of course. Class sizes often smaller as fees are so high.

    Medium sized: generally as good in conditions of service as state, possibly slightly more classes to teach (but as in most independent schools they have well-disciplined children ? a delight!), may also have smaller class sizes.

    Small. Most of them similar to medium-sized ones. However, there are some proprietorial schools where there have been examples of not paying enhanced sick or maternity pay, not contributing to Teachers? Pensions Agency, but doing a cheaper one, etc. And in the last month 3 schools (1 medium, 2 small) have folded in S.E. England, leaving 200 staff with no jobs. Can be good places to work, but just be slightly wary.

    HOW TO APPLY
    Very simple: just do what we ask you to in our application pack. My personal hate is the applicant who cannot be bothered to fill in our application form, but just puts ?See cv? all over it.

    Remember that a contribution to extra-curricular activities (AKA co-curricular) is expected, so tell us what you could do. Show us that you are totally up to speed with new educational initiatives (that means reading TES from cover to cover every week, for a start). Ensure that you pull all the positives possible out of your time abroad ?it has taught you to be resourceful, adaptable, team-working, lots of things that would be very good in a school in UK too.

    I am a great fan of the executive summary, for three reasons: firstly it gives me a clear indication of how you fit my criteria for appointment, and if you?ve done it properly (and it?s the right post for you) should get you an interview. Secondly, it clarifies your own thinking before you write your application letter (do the e.s. first), so that is more relevant. And finally it shows you have been willing to put in effort for this specific application, rather than shooting off by e-mail applications to the whole world.

    For further *essential* details on writing a good job application, see the section at end on links.

    REFERENCES
    The Safer Recruitment procedures puts a lot of onus on Heads to check that they are not about to appoint Jack the Ripper. We expect your first referee to be your current Head; if you don?t put him/her, we ring them up anyway (required to check), so you may as well put them down in the first place. Could be a good idea, as SMT Dude suggests in one of the threads at the end, to ?train? your referees into putting in a standard paragraph emphasising how similar your school experience abroad is to working in UK. And also they need to have a standard phrase about working with children: ?We know of no reason why the candidate should not work with children?. Always give professional addresses (i.e. the school) not home addresses for referees. And e-mail, phone and fax for them, so that we can contact them fast.

    INTERVIEWS
    Here you are in a less advantageous position than candidates already in the UK. You may well be given only 3 or 4 days? notice of an interview, and normally be expected to pay your own fare to mainland Britain (except for major posts), although if you?re appointed you will normally get a reasonable fare refunded with your first month?s salary. One poster some months ago raged about the lack of equal opportunities that this meant, saying that for all posts we should pay fares whether candidates were coming from Stevenage or Santiago de Chile. Maybe so, but pragmatically this would mean that schools then just wouldn?t call people for interview if they were abroad. You could try asking the school beforehand what is its policy on travel from abroad for interviews.

    The new, stricter, requirements for Safer Recruiting do talk about a ?face-to-face interview?; it is unsure whether a video interview would count. An additional ? but not unsurmountable ? problem is that most schools expect to see you teaching as part of the selection procedures, and preferably teaching their own children to see how you relate to them.

    ADMINISTRATION
    You don?t need GTC registration to teach in an independent school. You don?t actually need to be either a trained or experienced teacher when it comes down to it, but most good schools will expect that. You DO need to have CRB clearance, and this may well involve a lot of administrative hassle in your country abroad, getting some sort of police clearance certificate or attestation of good character. Start working on this early.

    LINKS TO THREADS WITH ADVICE.
    Job applications and executive summaries
    http://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2166052&path=/student+teachers/&threadPage=1

    http://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2166054&path=/student+teachers/&threadPage=1

    My advice is that you print out the first post on each of these two threads above, and then DO AS HE ADVISES.

    Returning in general:
    http://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2136460&path=/School%20Management/

    http://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2144240&path=/Teaching%20Overseas/

    Glut of teachers in the UK? (Post 26)
    http://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2144240&path=/Teaching%20Overseas/&messagePage=3&messageID=1198697#message1198697

    Writing a cv
    http://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2146464&path=/Teaching%20Overseas/

    Interview advice:
    http://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2110338&path=/Teaching%20Overseas/

    List of books on pedagogical issues (Post 20)
    http://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2144240&path=/Teaching+Overseas/&threadPage=&messagePage=2





     
  2. This will probably be the longest-ever post. I have already picked up 8 pages of advice from the past . . . I have put these links at the end.

    The comments below are relevant to my school (large independent school in SW London). They are probably relevant to most other good independent schools. I can give little or no advice on returning to maintained schools.

    HOW TO FIND OUT ABOUT JOBS
    TES is the standard ? no-one dares NOT put their ad there, even if they repeat it elsewhere. Guardian and Independent too (but it is always as well as TES). Gabbitas is the big agency. A google on ?teacher recruitment agency? will find another dozen. Top jobs will be dealt with by search companies ? tell them if you are interested in returning to UK to a headship, and they will bear you in mind.

    The main associations of independent schools have their websites with lists of schools, often in geographical areas. Some also have vacancies pages.

    http://www.hmc.org.uk/
    http://www.gsa.uk.com/
    http://www.iaps.org.uk/
    http://www.isaschools.org.uk/

    http://www.isc.co.uk/index.php/204 has a jobs newsletter that you can sign up for.

    WHEN TO APPLY
    5 terms before: for top jobs (Head of a major school), the ads will go in often 4 or 5 terms before. An application for something like this is a big project, and not something that you can knock up in a weekend; the bare bones should be prepared by you well before this.

    3 terms before (Autumn term): Headships of many schools, some Deputy Headships, posts where the schools know someone is retiring.

    2 terms before: (Spring Term): posts where current postholders got the jobs above, posts where schools have planned expansion or changes. A big rush of ads in TES.

    1 term before (after Easter): posts where current staff have given notice on 1st day of term. Another big rush of ads in TES.

    Whitsun: posts where current staff have given notice on 31 May. You will mostly be in competition with NQTs at this stage (as these are the ones available without giving notice) so you stand a pretty good chance as you are experienced.

    WHICH TYPE OF SCHOOL?
    I am talking independent only here, and there is a wide variety. All independents will give you 4 or 5 weeks more holiday than state (although you will no longer have those unreasonably long summer holidays that you currently enjoy). Other conditions of work and pay will vary.

    Big and successful: at least the same salary as in a state school, possibly a little higher, with some pretty cutting-edge expectations of teachers. All conditions of service (pension, sick pay, maternity and paternity leave, etc.) will be up to the standard of the state teachers? rights ? which are extremely good. Usually lots of possibilities for internal promotions or additional allowances for additional responsibilities. Teaching % of week usually less than the state maximum of 90% (say 75-80%), class size 18-27. Parents will have very high expectations, and will tell you so. Especially if you don?t meet them.

    Big and successful boarding: as above, but higher salaries, sometimes seriously higher, possible accommodation, and a requirement to work some evenings and weekends, of course. Class sizes often smaller as fees are so high.

    Medium sized: generally as good in conditions of service as state, possibly slightly more classes to teach (but as in most independent schools they have well-disciplined children ? a delight!), may also have smaller class sizes.

    Small. Most of them similar to medium-sized ones. However, there are some proprietorial schools where there have been examples of not paying enhanced sick or maternity pay, not contributing to Teachers? Pensions Agency, but doing a cheaper one, etc. And in the last month 3 schools (1 medium, 2 small) have folded in S.E. England, leaving 200 staff with no jobs. Can be good places to work, but just be slightly wary.

    HOW TO APPLY
    Very simple: just do what we ask you to in our application pack. My personal hate is the applicant who cannot be bothered to fill in our application form, but just puts ?See cv? all over it.

    Remember that a contribution to extra-curricular activities (AKA co-curricular) is expected, so tell us what you could do. Show us that you are totally up to speed with new educational initiatives (that means reading TES from cover to cover every week, for a start). Ensure that you pull all the positives possible out of your time abroad ?it has taught you to be resourceful, adaptable, team-working, lots of things that would be very good in a school in UK too.

    I am a great fan of the executive summary, for three reasons: firstly it gives me a clear indication of how you fit my criteria for appointment, and if you?ve done it properly (and it?s the right post for you) should get you an interview. Secondly, it clarifies your own thinking before you write your application letter (do the e.s. first), so that is more relevant. And finally it shows you have been willing to put in effort for this specific application, rather than shooting off by e-mail applications to the whole world.

    For further *essential* details on writing a good job application, see the section at end on links.

    REFERENCES
    The Safer Recruitment procedures puts a lot of onus on Heads to check that they are not about to appoint Jack the Ripper. We expect your first referee to be your current Head; if you don?t put him/her, we ring them up anyway (required to check), so you may as well put them down in the first place. Could be a good idea, as SMT Dude suggests in one of the threads at the end, to ?train? your referees into putting in a standard paragraph emphasising how similar your school experience abroad is to working in UK. And also they need to have a standard phrase about working with children: ?We know of no reason why the candidate should not work with children?. Always give professional addresses (i.e. the school) not home addresses for referees. And e-mail, phone and fax for them, so that we can contact them fast.

    INTERVIEWS
    Here you are in a less advantageous position than candidates already in the UK. You may well be given only 3 or 4 days? notice of an interview, and normally be expected to pay your own fare to mainland Britain (except for major posts), although if you?re appointed you will normally get a reasonable fare refunded with your first month?s salary. One poster some months ago raged about the lack of equal opportunities that this meant, saying that for all posts we should pay fares whether candidates were coming from Stevenage or Santiago de Chile. Maybe so, but pragmatically this would mean that schools then just wouldn?t call people for interview if they were abroad. You could try asking the school beforehand what is its policy on travel from abroad for interviews.

    The new, stricter, requirements for Safer Recruiting do talk about a ?face-to-face interview?; it is unsure whether a video interview would count. An additional ? but not unsurmountable ? problem is that most schools expect to see you teaching as part of the selection procedures, and preferably teaching their own children to see how you relate to them.

    ADMINISTRATION
    You don?t need GTC registration to teach in an independent school. You don?t actually need to be either a trained or experienced teacher when it comes down to it, but most good schools will expect that. You DO need to have CRB clearance, and this may well involve a lot of administrative hassle in your country abroad, getting some sort of police clearance certificate or attestation of good character. Start working on this early.

    LINKS TO THREADS WITH ADVICE.
    Job applications and executive summaries
    https://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2166052&path=/student+teachers/&threadPage=1

    https://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2166054&path=/student+teachers/&threadPage=1

    My advice is that you print out the first post on each of these two threads above, and then DO AS HE ADVISES.

    Returning in general:
    https://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2136460&path=/School%20Management/

    https://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2144240&path=/Teaching%20Overseas/

    Glut of teachers in the UK? (Post 26)
    https://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2144240&path=/Teaching%20Overseas/&messagePage=3&messageID=1198697#message1198697

    Writing a cv
    https://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2146464&path=/Teaching%20Overseas/

    Interview advice:
    https://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2110338&path=/Teaching%20Overseas/

    List of books on pedagogical issues (Post 20)
    https://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2144240&path=/Teaching+Overseas/&threadPage=&messagePage=2





     
  3. max5775

    max5775 New commenter

    Well done Jenny. Thanks for taking the time to put that post together. ( I suppose I now qualify for a sycophant award!)
     
  4. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Jennifer, that is great: painstaking, serious and useful - I've only just read this, having missed it the first time (too busy blathering about football).

    TheoGriff is pretty hot stuff too, although I suspect him of Welshness...

    So allow me to 'up' your thread, in the hope that Purpleperson, whose post set you going, is not hiding so far beneath a desert stone that he cannot see this.

    I may be contacting you for specific advice soonish... Meanwhile felicitaciones, unless you prefer enhorabuena.
     
  5. thanks for that miss! i'll be coming back this august to do my pgce after 5 years teaching efl in thailand. biting the bullet because while i might not need QTS to work in the private sector every bit of paper helps. and they can never take it away from you! also only having taught efl, and having a degree in chinese and politics doesn't seem to be opening many doors for me at the mo! i'll probably get qualified and come straight back out to LOS. LOL!
     
  6. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    JL, thanks once again, BUT, to quote your generous post,

    "reading TES from cover to cover every week, for a start".

    Reader, I did it.

    In fact, made a beginner's mistake. Like a Year 8 deciding to try booze and kicking off with a bottle of vodka, I procured as much TES as I could salvage from the staff room, garnering one mint copy and two in what booksellers call 'good' condition, that is, legible, most pages present, but a sense of, as mummy used to say, ?do you know where that has been??

    I sneaked them out in a supermarket bag. Couldn't be seen reading them at school, couldn't be caught with them in the house. We all know the ' harmless but secret ' feeling - not least from hanging around this forum, no?

    (do colleagues and spouse know what you are up to, right now, hypocrite lecteur, mon semblable, mon frère?)

    So I devoured nearly three TESs, over two lagers, in a noisy bar near the station, staggered back to school to replace them, and dashed guiltily home.

    Immediate symptoms would have been attributed to ?Sagres? beer, but I was initially fine, if a little quiet and picky at dinner. However, rosy-fingered dawn saw me wake with a generalised body rash, sweaty palms, queasy flatulence, blurred vision, halitosis and dandruff-blizzard.

    Standard SMT condition, many will agree, but not my usual spry morning self, and the only possible cause was the overdose of TES.

    Now, you advise us to read TES, ?from cover to cover every week, for a start?.

    ¿¿FOR A START??

    Something like a GP saying, ?yes, Mr Smith, we have a problem, but we will sort it out for you, never fear. We will perform what we doctors call a lobotomy, then painlessly remove the tip of your penis, ? for a start!?

    Is there any way to wangle a job by asserting that you read TLS, the LRB, the NYRB. the Economist, the New Statesman, the Spectator, your daughter?s breakfast cereal packet and miscellaneous material confiscated from students? Before starting on your latest go at Henry James?

    Or does it absolutely have to be the full TES, Jennifer?

    And if that?s ?only a start?, what next?

    Don't be deceived by habitual flippant long-windedness, this is a serious question.
     
  7. ian60

    ian60 New commenter

    Jenny, that was an extremely useful and well put together OP, thank you very much.

    Can anyone tell me if the IB curriculum is gaining popularity within UK independent schools as an alternative to A'levels.

    (I hope so)
     
  8. A typical beginner's mistake, Dude, if I may say so.

    When you started drinking, you didn't consume a whole bottle of Soberano in one sitting did you? No, little sips here and there, then one week half a glass, until the organism became accustomed to the poison you were determined to force into it.

    Thus it should be with the TES.

    Try also a plethora of websites. http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/ for a start. Wander at random, ramble gently through the byeways, a brief foray onto a highway and then out again. Slowly.

    Yes, more schools are going for the IB, and IGCSE. But even if they aren't, your experience with these should stand you in good stead as you are accustomed to teaching a rigorous syllabus to high standards.

    I hope.
     
  9. when i was bcak in the uk for my pgce interview the other week i actually bought the TES at the airport to read before the interview. i DID try to read it cover to cover the night before sat on the hotel bed with a bottle of water and serious jet-lag.

    didn't manage to absorb much (except that there are A LOT of primary positions to be filled in inner city schools!). i didn't even manage to mention that i'd read it at the interview! i DID mention, to the other interviewees, that i HAD read that morning's Sun for intellectual stimulation and found it seriously wanting. this started a whole conversation about the relative merits of the house mates in BB7 (or was it 6 - we don't get it in thailand, thank GOD!!!)/
     
  10. We do get it in Thailand, massive one, it's called Big Brother, funnilt enough. Yes its filled with the same freaks and wannabes only difference is they are Thai and its in Thai.
     
  11. This is indeed truly brilliant, Jennifer. Thank you.

    I'm sorry about the tardy reply- I've been travelling, then recovering from a nasty bout of Dehli Belly (without the dehli!)> Back to blighty soon though.

    Once again, thank you. This is a VERY useful posting!

    Purp.
     
  12. h20

    h20

    Thankyou for your hard work and helpful information.

    I will be returning to the UK after 2 years in New Zealand (in Jan).

    My chum discovered an agency that will contribute towards flights and accommodation if you do a long term relief or similar in the UK. She got about $1000 kiwi dollars.

    http://www.itnteachers.com/

    I am pleased to see that Science teachers are always needed...
     
  13. Oh joys for people who recognise that experience abroad counts for something. I have 5 years as an assistant head in an international primary school - which, in terms of salary, had counted for zip all back in the UK. I am sure if I were a Science teacher I could persuade them... but there is no shortage of Primary teachers where I live so I know there are a thousand cheap NQTs itching to fill my job........
     
  14. h20

    h20

    Hi...after being smug "science teachers are always needed..."

    I have sent my stunning (if I do say so) CV and covering letter to schools wanting a Science teacher for January.
    One replied that they would not employ a teacher without a "face to face" interview.
    A second school told me that if their candidates that were available for interview were unsuccessful then they
    would interview me ONLY on my return to England!!!

    How small minded is that! New Zealand Schools are really open to telephone interviews
    and employing people from calls.

    On the positive side I am glad I am not going to work somewhere that is so narrow minded.

    Ahhhhhhh!
     
  15. H20 - sorry you are feeling a bit sore about the interview situation.

    It is not necessarily the school being narrow-minded, but actually carrying out the requirements of the DfES on Safer Recruiting, where a face-to-face interview is required. General feeling is moving towards the realisation that a school carrying out a video interview would be in a shaky position.

    The way to get round this for someone in NZ or other far-flung places, would be to apply via a UK agency that has representative in your country who carry out the interviews on behalf of the school. This could give you access to job opportunities that you weren't aware of, although it would also limit you to jobs in those schools who employed agencies.

    A google on teacher recruitment or teaching agency will get you a long list of them. The Grand-daddy of them is Gabbitas, of course.

    Best of luck with your search!

    http://www.gabbitas.co.uk/
     
  16. I have been teaching in the UK since September, and applied for my current post while teaching in Asia. I was HOD in my International school, but returned to the UK as a mainscale teacher. I was given financial credit for my years teaching abroad, and was interviewed over the telephone..... mainly because the webcam didn't work!! I was offered the job because I had UK references that were easy to chase and reliable - however previous to this application I made about 20 others to UK schools that were rejected because they couldn't see me teach a lesson.
    My advice is keep trying - and have references that can comment on your UK teaching experience.
     
  17. h20

    h20

    Thankyou for you help and avice. I will add a UK reference and wait for the offers to roll in.

    Patience is not one of my strong qualities!
     
  18. I have in the last few years employed teachers returning from Madrid, Paris and Colombia. Great finds all three of them. Give me more!
     
  19. ian60

    ian60 New commenter

    Jennifer, without being too specific, could you describe the sort of school where you work in terms of size, age range and curriculum.

    Once again, many thanks for giving us an insight into the recruiters world.
     

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