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Discussion in 'Education news' started by numberwhizz, Nov 13, 2019.
I wish people would say something about what their link says, not just post a link I can't click onto
I think the title of the post makes it fairly clear.
Maybe this link will work.
I read this earlier. A lot of comments btl remarked that it was unfair to compare a state school in the UK with one of the world's most exclusive schools. I drew a different conclusion. It is the fact that British teachers are in demand abroad and have been recruited by such exclusive institutions. For all those teachers who are struggling in the current toxic system in the UK, It tends to indicate that the fault lies with our system and our culture if so many British teachers can succeed in schools abroad. Think about it, you up sticks and do exactly the same job in a foreign country without the support network and familiarity of your home environment. ...And yet the teachers in the article, and those commenting on the article btl (who make some brilliant contributions) are universally positive about their experience abroad and scathing about conditions in English schools.They are having successful careers without being micromanaged, without league tables and,crucially, while having a proper work\life balance.
In other news .... bears......woods.
Does anyone seriously think that DfE, OFSTED or school management are not aware of the issues driving teachers out of education?
The very fact that the status quo remains is evidence enough that those with the authority to make constructive changes do not want change.
I believe that there is a definite policy of grinding down state education to the point that it can be handed over to private business to run. Effectively this has happened in England with academisation. Many people make a lot of money from academies so why would they want to change anything?
No it doesn't, in the slightest, are you saying teachers are fleeing TO or FROM overseas international schools?
Links, don't work for me, and I a still none the wiser about what you are saying. Do you want to start a conversation or not?
'Though few of the teachers who contact us are motivated by money'
I'm sorry but having worked Internationally for the last few years, I find it hard to believe that few of the teachers were motivated by money for moving abroad. Higher salaries, housing allowances, annual bonuses and flights all make teaching a much more attractive prospect.
throughout my career, a couple of years in the middle East or far East has been a fairly standard route for raising the deposit to buy a house
The last few years I worked, before I retired, I was involved in a certain National project that meant working closely with a variety of secondary schools. During that time I witnessed many younger and older teachers desperate to get out. Many in their twenties were escaping abroad and those in their mid-fifties were eagerly taking early retirement even with the financial loss that incurred. Those in their 30’s and 40’s with young families and big mortgages simply felt trapped and, for some, this was causing serious WRS or depression issues. Teachers in their late 40’s seemed most likely to be affected. In the end I was glad to leave behind what had become a very depressing landscape.
Here is the article:
I would burn in hell before returning’ – why British teachers are fleeing overseas
Thousands of teachers who honed their skills in cash-strapped English comprehensives are now working abroad. What’s behind the brain drain?
‘It provides you with the opportunity to focus on quality of teaching rather than crowd management,’ says one teacher of her job at Institut auf dem Rosenberg in St. Gallen, Switzerland.
Perched high on a hill above the historic Swiss city of St Gallen, set in 25 acres of private parkland, sits one of the most expensive boarding schools in Europe. Costing up to £100,000 for an academic year, the Institut auf dem Rosenberg is more than twice as expensive as Eton college and educates the offspring of some of the wealthiest people in the world. Most of whom, it turns out, will be taught by teachers who trained in the cash-strapped classrooms of UK state schools.
Those teachers who find themselves in Rosenberg’s five-star setting are a small subset of the thousands leaving their students in Oldham and Lewisham, Liverpool and Leicester, and heading for Switzerland, China, Canada, Dubai, Australia, Thailand, Mexico, Nepal and numerous other international education destinations.
When the Guardian visits, the quaint art nouveau villas that form the school campus are shrouded in a bleak mountain mist – making it look more A Series of Unfortunate Events than The Sound of Music. The 230 pupils of more than 40 different nationalities are just back after their half-term break – the younger children are cute and chatty, while the older pupils sidle by with barely a glance.
The Rosenberg offer could not be further removed from your average state school in the UK. Certainly it makes uncomfortable viewing for an education correspondent more familiar with our overstretched comprehensives and academies. While schools in England and Wales have been forced to cut jobs and close early to save money, here pupils are invited to bring their own horses, and meals are served in a high-end restaurant catering for every dietary requirement.
glue pens; here the children’s bathrooms are marble-lined and each new younger student is given a Steiff teddy bear to share their pillow. The school is discreet about alumni – apart from the Mexican Nobel laureate Mario J Molina, after whom the school’s science centre is named – but it is happy for you to know it includes European royalty and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
Among Rosenberg’s plum teaching recruits is Alex McCarron, from the Wirral. As a physics teacher, he is educational gold dust. According to the National Foundation for Educational Research’s 2019 report into the teacher labour market, recruitment to teacher training in physics is more than 50% below the numbers required to maintain supply. The son of a physics teacher, McCarron trained in a mixed comprehensive and an all-boys grammar and loved every minute of it, but says Rosenberg offered him the opportunity to teach his subject at A-level, which would not have been open to him as a newly qualified teacher in England, so he jumped at the chance.
Besides, here there’s less time spent managing behaviour and more time doing what teachers love – teaching their subject. At home, he says, his work was results- and Ofsted-driven. Here he feels he can be more creative, more independent. “In the UK you are constantly having to report to certain people about certain things. Here you are trusted to do what you think is best for the student.”
Eilish McGrath is head of social studies at Rosenberg and echoes McCarron’s sentiments. She began her teaching career at Hathershaw college in Oldham, a comprehensive with a large number of disadvantaged pupils, followed by a sixth-form college in Macclesfield. She enjoyed the work, but having spent much of her childhood in the Middle East and Asia, she moved to Dubai, where she taught at Repton school, one of a growing number of British independent schools that are opening international branches overseas.
“For me, the weather was quite a big thing,” says McGrath. After seven years she left the United Arab Emirates and moved to her current post in Switzerland. “We are very fortunate,” she says. “If I have an idea I can really make it happen.” She likes the outdoor life available to her in Switzerland, and the class sizes are small. “It provides you with the opportunity to focus on quality of teaching rather than crowd management.”
Rosenberg may not be exactly typical of the overseas schools that UK teachers are flocking to, but it is attracting them for the same reasons. A call-out to Guardian readers for their experiences has drawn more than 300 responses – many heartfelt – from teachers who reluctantly left their jobs in the state sector in the UK to teach abroad, usually in well-funded private institutions. Often exhausted by their experiences in the UK, they complain of excessive workload, stress, a lack of work-life balance, funding cuts, a dread of Ofsted, an obsession with paperwork, accountability measures, poor behaviour, children bringing weapons to school, high staff turnover … the list goes on.
The diversity of destinations is remarkable. Teachers have contacted us from Vietnam, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Azerbaijan, Qatar, Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Colombia, Sweden and Germany. They wrote from France, Bali, Singapore, Seychelles, Tanzania, the US, South Korea, Brunei, Japan, Hungary, Belgium, Oman, Jordan, the Czech Republic, Bahrain, Ghana, Ireland, Russia, Zambia, Luxembourg, Cyprus, India, Latvia, Ecuador, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Israel, Uganda, Kuwait, Borneo, Peru, Austria, Kazakhstan and Hungary. Not forgetting Ascension Island, Egypt, Myanmar, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Moldova.
The benefits of working abroad, they say, don’t just include sunshine, free accommodation and tax-free earnings, but small classes, more resources, better work-life balance, freedom to travel, capacity to save, private healthcare, free flights home and no Ofsted. Their strength of feeling is eye-opening. “I would burn in hell before returning to teach in an English school,” says one teacher who moved to the Netherlands. “Teaching in the UK is exhausting,” says a secondary school art and design teacher who moved to an international school in Thailand.
Though few of the teachers who contact us are motivated by money, one 33-year-old left her primary school in Tower Hamlets, east London, for an international school in Yangon in Myanmar because she couldn’t make enough money to survive in London. Now she earns £5,000 more, plus a yearly bonus, in a package topped off with free accommodation, flights and medical insurance. “Working conditions are better, with sizes that are half of a UK class. It would be insane for me to return to the UK.”
‘The pupils are delightful, classes are small, resources are plentiful, workload is reasonable, staff work well together.’ Two Boats school, Ascension Island.
Janet Birch, a science teacher, left the UK for Two Boats, the government school on Ascension Island, a British Overseas Territory in the south Atlantic. In her north London secondary, she felt that the workload was excessive, pupils were poorly behaved, resources were tight and the job was stressful. “I could be earning more in England but I would not be able to save as much,” she says. She described her new situation: “The pupils are delightful, the classes are small, resources are plentiful, workload is reasonable, staff work well together.” Island life suits her – she dives, walks and is a projectionist for the local cinema.
The alarm bells have been ringing for some time about the exodus from our classrooms. One poll by the National Education Union (NEU) this year found that one in five teachers (18%) expects to quit in less than two years, and two in five want to quit in the next five – most blame “out of control” workload pressures and excessive accountability.
“We know that teachers have a strong social mission and they want to make the world a better place, and work with disadvantaged children,” says Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU. “But the reality is we are making teaching just too hard to do.”
On the other side of the planet, Katy Bull is thriving in her role as head of kindergarten in a small international school in Tequisquiapan, a popular tourist town in central Mexico. “I remember spending weekends in the UK sat inside planning, marking, assessing, worrying … Now I actually have a life. I would still say I work extremely hard, but extremely hard on the things that count. I feel intrinsically motivated to be an outstanding teacher, and not because Ofsted inspectors are pressuring me.”
Modern foreign language teacher Mary McCormack, who quit her job at a school in Wolverhampton for Canada, has similar memories of weekends and “the piles of books that needed to be corrected every three weeks – robbing me of my Sundays”. And in Quebec? “Little to no lesson observations. Complete trust as a professional. I am paid more, but the high taxes mean that my take-home is slightly less than what it would be in the UK. This being said, I would never consider coming back to a British classroom.”
In the run-up to a general election in which education is likely to be a key battleground, all parties have pledged more money for schools. The Tories have promised increased starting salaries for teachers of £30,000, while Labour pledged an end to high-stakes school inspections, but whether any of it is enough to stem the exodus of teachers remains to be seen.
Prof John Howson, an authority on the labour market for teachers, says it is classroom teachers with between five and seven years’ experience that are being lost in greater numbers than ever – the very people who should be moving into middle leadership positions. And while once upon a time they might have gone abroad to work in the international sector temporarily, Howson fears these days they may prefer what they find overseas and not return.
What’s more, a significant increase in the number of secondary school pupils is projected over the next few years. This means we will need more teachers, not fewer, just at the time the international schools market is booming and willbe trying to lure British teachers in ever greater numbers to fill its classrooms overseas. According to the Council of British International Schools, the sector will require up to 230,000 more teachers to meet staffing needs over the next 10 years. “I fear that we may have to go looking elsewhere around the world for teachers to come and work here,” says Howson.
In Switzerland, McGrath contemplates a different future, away from the exclusive surroundings of the Institut auf dem Rosenberg, back to her classroom in Oldham. “Would I go back and teach in the UK?” She sits back and reflects. “When I worked in Oldham, I really liked the challenges of the students I was working with. Now working here, I would find it very hard to go back.”
Not motivated by money?
I endured hell for two years in a UK comp after qualifying. Everything from poor salary, terrible behavior daily, a workload that was out of control, long hours, stress, no life, constant change, qualifications that were just to hard, an SLT who had lost the plot with everything about Ofsted and not children, unable to buy anywhere and forced to share a house with others etc.
So, five years later, I'm earning over £100k in Dubai, teaching small classes in a lovely international school, and also teach privately to the children of wealthy families. I have my own apartment, medical insurance, proper development training, great holidays and free flights each year. Most days are sunny, stress free and just fun. I love life here. I never had a life in the UK. In ten years, I think I will have a million in the bank, aged 40.
Not about money? Never ever again will I set foot in a UK school.
Two adverts placed next to each other in the TES recently:
UK: Physics teacher circa £18000 Benefits: you can have car parking space if you pay for it.
Thailand: Physics teacher circa £54000 Benefits: paid for accommodation, reduced school fees, free flights etc.
How depressing, but how true! I am guessing that, like me, you are retired and looking back, we can both see how this appalling situation has come about. It's like each decade a new circle of hell was added in to make the job more untenable.
An anecdote. I started teaching in a tough comprehensive in the early eighties. The main issue then was pupil behaviour and, to a lesser extent, the lack of support for teachers from parents and society in general. And, admittedly, there were lots of poor teachers about. Anyhow, after about eight years of teaching , I took part in a teacher exchange with Spain. Prior to our departure, we had a two day course , the first day consisted of advice from UK teachers who had had a placement of between two months and a year throughout Europe. For obvious reasons, we were almost exclusively MFL teachers. The next day, we had the same input from foreign teachers currently on placement in the UK. The contrast was stark. The British teachers all spoke effusively of their experience abroad. All had had a great time. The poor foreign teachers were aghast at the behaviour of the pupils in the UK; one or two looked punch drunk. All the foreign teachers were full of praise for the help and support of their British colleagues. I felt embarrassed to be honest. The organisers stated overtly that we would be presented with 'representative samples' of both groups.
To summarise , I think cultural factors has always made teaching a tough gig in the UK. My exchange took place in 1990, prior to Ofsted , league tables and academisation and long before Gove came in with his overt disdain for educational theory and practitioners and his one size fits all curriculum. Teachers in the eighties had strong unions and there was real solidarity in staff rooms. They also had real autonomy both over the curriculum and methodology. Not great if you had lazy, incompetent colleagues who hung around for ever , but great for the majority of honest professionals who could tailor lessons, curricula and even qualifications around their pupils' needs.
By the sound of it, this is how the rest of the world still operates.
I'm 57 and have worked in two British international school on the Costa del Sol for 10 years. The pay is not great at €28K, but I would highly recommend it. I could retire now if I wanted to, but I love my job and will carry whilst I still enjoy it. Kids are great and parents are supportive. OK the management at both schools are next to useless, but I can cope with this.