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Gove seeks to relax controls on overseas teachers

The Government is to make it easier for schools to employ teachers from overseas, under plans announced this week.

Education secretary Michael Gove told the House of Commons that he intends to relax current regulations that force teachers from outside the European Union to undertake further training before they are allowed into the classroom.

According to the Department for Education, research on international qualifications shows that countries such as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have teacher training systems that are equivalent to the UK.

Announcing the changes in education questions on Monday, Mr Gove said his department will be consulting later in the year on how best to give foreign teachers automatic leave to teach in England's schools.

"One of the aims of my department is to make sure that the most talented people possible are teaching our children and it is already the case that teachers from the European Economic Area can teach in our schools," the education secretary said.

"I want to extend that freedom to teachers from the Commonwealth countries such as Canada and New Zealand and Australia and I hope that other Commonwealth countries like South Africa, Jamaica and Singapore can join in due course."

Under the proposals, it will still be up to the school or local authority sponsoring the teacher to check their suitability and carry out any further background checks.

Overseas teachers will also have to meet immigration criteria set out by the UK Border Agency.

The changes are subject to a statutory consultation and could come into effect from early 2012.

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