22nd June 2007 at 01:00
Q. With all the talk about teachers being unable to find a job, I was wondering whether to look for work overseas when my PGCE course finishes in a few weeks' time. What do you think?.

A. I assume you have trained because you want to teach, so it is reasonable to look for work as a teacher wherever you can find it.

If you haven't started job hunting yet, then your colleagues and tutors will be able to provide you with some idea of the local job market.

As you are considering looking overseas, this suggests that you have no particular ties to the area where you are training.

If this is the case, then my advice would be to look further afield in this country before considering going overseas. Even though you will have completed your training, you still have the induction year to pass and it is best to undertake that as soon as you have finished your training, if possible.

However, if you have not even started looking for a teaching post before the end of your course you will have missed out on most job opportunities for September.

The next option is to consider supply work. However, this is not as plentiful as it once was for a variety of reasons, and I don't expect any increase in opportunities for supply work during the next school year.

So, if all else fails, you might look at schools overseas. But do not even think about such a move without careful consideration. Unless you are very lucky, you will be teaching in the private sector and possibly in a school where the aim is to make money.

You almost certainly won't be able to visit the school to make up your mind before being offered the job and, if you haven't visited the country before, you will be starting a new career, in a new school, in a new environment. Even if everything goes according to plan, that's a tough assignment. Find out everything you can about the school, and be especially cautious if it isn't accredited by any of the major international organisations.

Pay special attention to your contract, and issues such as housing and how you will be paid, and check with the Foreign Commonwealth Office website to get up-to-date advice for travellers.

Working overseas can be very rewarding, but it can also be a nightmare

John Howson is a recruitment analyst and visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University. To ask him a question, email him at

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