Careers advice from Theodora Griff

Working back in the UK.

After eight years working in a British school abroad, my partner and I would like to return to the UK. How can we get jobs at a distance?

With difficulty, is the short answer. I'm afraid that you have two major problems here: geography and history.

The geography refers to not being within easy reach of interviews. UK-based candidates can hop on a train at little notice, clutching their lesson plan in one hand and their original copies of qualifications in the other. You may find it pretty tricky to do that. And, no, you cannot do it all by Skype. The statutory guidance for maintained schools in England and Wales is that a face-to-face interview should take place. You may get a few independent schools or academies which go rogue on this, but most won't. This is partly because they want to see you teaching. And, no, a video of you teaching in your school abroad won't do, as they want to see you interacting (or coping) with their own students.

An interview can also be expensive: unless it is for a senior leadership post you have little chance of getting your travel expenses paid. The most you might get would be the train fare from the airport. A school may even feel diffident about asking you to pay the airfare to come and so decide not to interview you.

If you are based in Europe, you could say in your application that you are planning a visit to the UK shortly and could arrange to fit this into their interview schedule.

The history angle is your recent career history, where you may be considered not up to speed with the pedagogy of the month. You will need to highlight in your application that you teach the UK curriculum and keep up to date. Can you take out a subscription to TES, so that you get the magazine delivered each week? It is full of education news and articles that give handy tips. You might get just what you need to shine in your interview.

Meet Theodora Griff online on the TES Jobseekers forum or in person at a TES Careers Advice Service seminar or individual consultation. bit.lyuWhqN2.

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