'Dissatisfied' teachers moving overseas

Nearly a third of teachers at British international schools considered quitting before moving abroad, research shows

Charlotte Santry

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Nearly half of teachers working in British international schools say their move was influenced by "dissatisfaction" with the education system at home, new survey findings reveal.

And nearly a third (32 per cent) of international school teachers were thinking about quitting the profession before moving abroad, according to the poll by the Council of British International Schools (COBIS).

The findings, based on responses from more than 1,600 school leaders and teachers at British international schools, come amid growing concern about teacher morale in England.

COBIS found that the biggest motivation for teachers to work internationally was the opportunity for travel and cultural exploration (71 per cent), followed by "enjoyment and challenge" (63 per cent).

Next came "dissatisfaction with home education system" (47 per cent) and the chance of career growth (45 per cent).

Financial concerns appear to be a factor, too, with 44 per cent citing "salary" as a reason for moving, 39 per cent saying "savings potential" and 26 per cent mentioning the cost of living.

International schools struggling to recruit

However, there are also signs that the teacher recruitment crisis hitting the profession in England is being felt overseas, too. The vast majority of British international schools (94 per cent) say they find recruiting quality teachers "somewhat" or "very" challenging. More than a quarter say they have increased recruitment of local staff in the past two years

The survey also shows that many teachers return to the UK after working abroad, typically due to a desire to return home (45 per cent) or because of family commitments (44 per cent). 

The biggest proportion of returning teachers had worked internationally for between five and 10 years (35 per cent), followed by more than 10 years (29 per cent). Just over a quarter (26 per cent) had worked abroad for between three and four years.

Professor Deborah Eyre, chair of the COBIS teacher supply committee, said: "Teachers who work overseas can acquire valuable skills, including experience of EAL and dealing with pupil mobility. They develop international understanding and a global outlook.

"These teachers have the opportunity to work in some of the best, high-performing schools in the world to enhance and refine their British pedagogy."

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The education secretary has been clear that there are no great schools without great teachers and his top priority is to make sure teaching remains an attractive and fulfilling profession.

"There are a record number of teachers in our classrooms – 15,500 more than in 2010 – and increasing numbers are returning to the profession."

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Charlotte Santry

Charlotte Santry

Charlotte Santry is deputy news editor at Tes

Find me on Twitter @CharlotteSantry

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