More than a third of UK teachers seeking work abroad

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New research by education recruitment company, Eteach, has found that more than a third (34.6%) of the UK’s teachers are actively looking for or considering work abroad. The findings will come as a blow to the education industry, which has come under fire recently from the latest Ofsted report which found a third of the UK’s schools to be ‘substandard’.

The survey raises worrying issues for the education industry, showing that of the teachers who were considering a move abroad, almost a third had between six and ten years experience (30.7%). A study by the national college of school leadership (NCSL) identified that a large number of school heads are approaching retirement age, with 55% of current heads (in 2008) likely to have retired by 2012. This ‘talent drain’ of experienced teachers abroad could have an impact on the numbers of home-grown head teachers in the near future.

The survey highlighted that one of the main reasons behind the desire to teach abroad were better working conditions, with almost a third citing this as a major factor (32.8%). This is a worrying trend for the UK, where education is regularly seen as under-funded and teachers under-paid, and which if not tackled has the potential to be very damaging in the future.

Paul Howells, from Eteach, said: “In the past year we have seen a marked increase in the demand for international posts amongst teachers – many of whom are very experienced. Moving abroad to teach, either full-time or for a sabbatical, can add a whole new dimension to their career prospects and also their classroom when they return to the UK.

“It is, however, the great teachers who are looking to make the move permanently that we should be concerned about. We all need to address the reasons why they are leaving – we can’t do anything about the ones looking for better weather but we shouldn’t be losing excellent, experienced teachers because of working conditions.”