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Teaching Secondary/MFL in UK with overseas QTS

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by MFLSpanish, May 15, 2011.

  1. Hello everyone!

    I am a qualified MFL teacher (Spanish/German and little knowledge of French) with Spanish PGCE, teaching at the moment in Spain. Due to personal issues, I have to move to London this September.

    I have the choice of validating my Spanish qualifications to get QTS, and work in UK as a qualified MFL teacher. I am also very aware of the National Curriculum and standards for teachers there.

    Unfortunately, I practically do not have any teaching experience in UK and I am afraid that schools would not appreciate my experience abroad.

    My questions are: Should I take a PGCE course instead to broaden my chances for teaching in UK? Are there any seminars or training courses I could attend in order to gain experience there?

    Thank you very much in advance, any help would be very appreciated!
    Hello, I'd do the PGCE if you have the chance. However, you won't be able to do it now until September 2012. With CAP your QTS will come in a few weeks, and you can do a Returning to Teach Course. It's about 10 weeks, you get some money to cover basic expenses and you do a placement. However, beware, in this country everything works like the "private sector", so basically each provider will do it differently. I did one and my provider was not good at all, they used the same classes that PGCE students were doing, which was useless because their teachers were planning work for the whole year and not just for 10 weeks. Also I had to look for my placement myself, which kind of defeats the point of doing this type of course, as I could have done the same thing by myself. However, somebody I met was very happy with his provider, they had classes planned just for them and the tutors took care of the placements.

    10 years ago it may have been easy to come from abroad and get a teaching job, however, the government has trained so many teachers and salaries in other jobs are so much lower than there are now more teachers than jobs. Therefore, schools are now much more picky and they will definitely want experience in the UK. I am teaching ESOL and Literacy, not languages, I found with regret that had I not applied for a QTS I would have been able to do a PGCE and train in the system which would have made it easier for me to adapt. I did teach languages for a short period in a difficult school and found that "crowd control" wasn´t for me. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    However, I do know people who came to the UK with the Spanish QTS and managed to secure jobs teaching in schools, one was a very outgoing girl from Andalucia, and the other one got a job in a private school, she also had a PhD, you see, and experience abroad, so it kind of helped.
    Think carefully about it, because if you get your QTS without the PGCE and then you change your mind you won't be able to do it again, as you would be already a qualified teacher.
    With QTS you can always get work with agencies, and get experience that way. But again it is very competitive, and in my school I´ve heard senior managers saying that if people spend too long doing supply they will not be hired anywhere. Supply is also hell, I don't know what is the behaviour these days in Spain, but here a teacher is mostly a crowd controller and then a teacher. So, having a supply teacher is like having a day on the beach.
    The syllabus here is totally different, it's topic based not grammar based, and personally, I find the topics very boring (school uniform, your family, your holidays...). But then again some of my private students have a fantastic level and they´ve followed this systems, some of the others just repeat like parrots.
  3. Hi,
    I understand your dilemma and I totally agree with the previous writer. If you apply for QTS you will not be able to do a PGCE or any other Initial Teacher Training. This is what happened to me. Since I am a Qualified Teacher I cannot train.... To get in the system here in the UK, it is really really hard .. Trust me!!!
    I relocated to the UK following my marriage. I had been teaching MFL (English) for four years in Italy. I applied for QTS and I was given it straight away. On one side QTS gives you the chance to work with agencies but on the other hand schools look for people who are UK trained and even many agencies require a minimum of six months UK experience. After teaching EFL for a short period of time and being a one to one tutor for a school, I am now attending a course at the Italian Embassy to teach Italian to foreigners. This will open me the world of Private Language Schools. I am also going to volunteer in a school as a Language Assistant to get the experience they require in the Uk.
    I personally think it isn't fair to retrain if you are already qualified. Maybe, if you can afford it you can volunteer in a school and get the experience you need and also take one of those certificates which enable you to work in Language schools till you find a proper job.... This is my personal opinion. I don't know whether after I have volunteered, I will find a teaching position, but for sure I am not going to give up. I have heard that life is hard for NQTs also, so be careful before putting all your energy into a PGCE....
    Another route I would recommend you is to start teaching with "Teachfirst". Go on their website and find out more. It is a two year programme where they place teachers in challenging schools for two years and after that they gain QTS and experience at the same time. I am sure you would be perfect for this as you are a Spanish native speaker and also qualified for German. French, German and Spanish are the most taught languages in the UK.
    Good luck

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