Dear John: How can I teach in the UK?


I arrived in the UK two years ago and previously I had been a qualified teacher in Poland, teaching English. After arriving in the UK I applied for QTS based on my Polish Teaching qualifications, and although I now have QTS I have had a lot of problems with finding a job in a primary school, which I dream about!

I’m currently working in a playgroup but this doesn’t satisfied me; to gain more experience I am doing a voluntary job in a primary school, and because I can speak French and Italian as well I am a language assistant too. What can I do to find a job in primary school? I can start as a teaching assistant?


I am sorry to hear you are having such difficulty in find a teaching position as a primary school teacher. Unfortunately, there is still something of a surplus of such teachers across much of England and Wales. Taking a job as a teaching assistant can sometimes be the route into a more permanent position, but you could become trapped. The alternative is to register with supply agencies and build up some work through that route. However, the new rules will make it more difficult than in the past.

As you have QTS, you can teach anything to anyone, I know that is bizarre, but it is true. As a result, there are no qualifications for you to apply for and no financial help for further training. However, you can just apply for any job as a languages teacher and see what happens. Sadly, there are likely to be few vacancies in the near future, except for maternity leave posts, and the next real recruitment round will not be until the spring of 2010. So, depending upon where you are located, your present post, although unsatisfying may be the best on offer to gain experience, although as a voluntary position, it clearly is not for the long-term. All you can do is apply for any vacancy you see and talk to the supply agencies


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