Language is no barrier to jobs

12th September 2003 at 01:00
I am the managing director of the British branch of the Greek recruitment agency, Helion Teachers, which places Greek qualified teachers in British schools. In response to the letters sent from Mrs Sakali and Ms Baker (TES, August 22 and 29) I would like to add my own comments and experience in this particular field.

I would agree with Mrs Sakali's comments regarding the very high standards of Greek educators as they are often qualified to teach more than one subject and speak several languages.

My experience so far has shown that it is not a case of active discrimination against Greek teachers (as Ms Baker rightly points out) but that the idea of recruiting a teacher via a telephone interview has been a stumbling block. We have been able to resolve this issue by inviting headteachers to our Athens office in order to interview our candidates face to face.

Another obstacle in the recruitment of Greek teachers has been the question of their standard of written and spoken English. Our teachers are all near-native speakers.

A point frequently missed by British people is that most citizens of a non-English-speaking country are taught English from the first year at primary school and that the norm is for them to learn English, to A-level standard, by the age of 15.

Debbie Jones Managing director Helion Teachers UK 16 Bescar Brow Lane Scarisbrick Lancashire

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