Dear John: How can I get back into teaching in the UK?


I taught in a comprehensive in the UK for four years then moved to Belgium where I now teach in an independant international school. There are limited opportunities for promotion available and I’m getting itchy feet to return to the UK and look for a Head of History/Humanities position. Do you think my three years in this school with no promotion will count against me? Will time spent not furthering my career but simply enjoying living and working abroad look bad?

Im also thinking of coming back and doing a year of cover teaching just to get back into it, as I’ve had quite an easy time since there are no classroom management issues or other problems. It feels quite unrealistic compared to the kind of environment I could end up back in the UK.


Three years in Belgium will have taught you a lot. Think about how you can teach the Battle of Waterloo or the horrors of the Ypres Salient, not to mention living in a country with two languages and working with pupils from several nationalities. With seven years experience, you could apply for a head of department or head of history within a Humanities Department. After all, coming back for interview would be no problem with Eurostar. I guess four years in the UK will have helped hone your teaching and learning skills and, although you worry you may have lost them; it is a bit like riding a bike. They will come back quickly.

I would start applying now for January jobs, when the competition might be less than for September jobs and who knows, you might be successful at your first attempt. Don’t sell yourself short. You have a lot to offer a school, and I would only consider the supply route as a last ditch solution next May if nothing has come up between now and then.


John Howson worked as a secondary school teacher in London for seven years before moving into teacher training andconsultancy,including a brief period as a chief government advisor. John is now a recruitment analyst, visiting professor ofeducation atOxfordBrookes University and hosts our Career Clinic where you can post questions to him.