Teaching in the Channel Islands

Guernsey is a self-governing UK Crown dependency - it lies 26 miles west of northern France and is just 12 miles long and nine miles wide.

Traditionally, its biggest industries have been tourism and money, though the island has made efforts to distance itself from its tax-haven image, preferring to be known as an international finance centre. While you won’t make your fortune teaching in Guernsey, the pay scale is certainly higher than in England.

According to the States of Guernsey Education Council, which covers three of the islands but not Sark, its schools are well resourced with good pupil-teacher ratios.

All teaching is based on the English national curriculum. The States of Guernsey runs 10 primary schools, plus two junior schools and three infant schools. The island has the 11-plus and pupils transfer to one of four 11-16 secondary schools or a co-educational grammar. There are also three fee-paying colleges with lower schools, for which pupils over 11 receive grant support from the States of Guernsey.

Over the next decade the islands’ Education Council plans to build new schools, including two special needs schools, an FE college and three new 11-16 secondary schools.

Guernsey is also responsible for education on its neighbouring isles. Alderney has a 5-to-16 school, while tiny Herm has a school with just nine pupils. Sark runs its own primary school. Are there many teaching vacancies?

Guernsey does grow its own teachers, but with a population of just 60,000, it’s not self-sufficient. The island tends to have enough primary teachers, but the authority does occasionally advertise. Its secondary schools face the same difficulties as those in London and the South East in recruiting for maths, science and modern foreign languages.

What’s it like to work there?

Apart from good salaries and well-resourced schools, there are no Ofsted inspections. Instead, schools conduct self-evaluation and produce a report on their own strengths and weaknesses, which is then validated by inspectors.

As well as a bigger salary, you can end up with more cash in your pocket because Guernsey has lower income tax than England and Wales. However, there are strict controls on who can live and work on the islands.

Guernsey’s Education Council is required to recruit from local residents first before advertising outside.

Anyone coming in to work has to have a housing licence - an attempt to control population density in such a small area. These are a formality for teachers who are granted one valid for up to five years; heads or senior managers get a 15-year version.

And what about the pace of life?

Gentler than in mainland Britain, though people do complain about too much traffic. Guernsey can be the hottest place in the British Isles in the summer, and even in autumn and winter it is not as cold as on the mainland.

Can I afford to live there?

House prices are very high - the average for the island for all types of property is £269,000. There are no figures on rented accommodation, though it is roughly on a par with the South East of England.

The islands’ Education Council does offer a full relocation package to any UK or overseas teachers. From this year, it offered newly qualified teachers financial support to help them set up home.

For more details on teaching in the Channel Islands visit Teaching in Guernsey.

Further resources

States of Jersey: Your Government Online