Teaching abroad holds record appeal for Scots

22nd June 2012 at 01:00
About 100 teachers a month sign up to site that could see them placed internationally

Record numbers of Scottish teachers are registering an interest in teaching abroad, according to an international recruitment consultancy.

Around 100 a month are signing up to the Teachers International Consultancy website, which places UK teachers in international schools across the world; a high of 105 was recorded in February.

This is the fourth year in which the company has seen high interest from teachers in Scotland, according to TIC spokeswoman Anne Keeling.

Its figures follow publication last week of an employment survey by the General Teaching Council for Scotland showing that three-quarters of last year's probationers had failed to secure full-time, permanent posts and a significant increase in the number on temporary contracts.

Andrew Wigford, TIC's managing director, told TESS: "For many, it seems to be the chance to teach and to extend teaching experiences at a time when there are limited job opportunities in schools anywhere in Scotland."

The similarity of the curriculum in many international schools, attractive facilities, and children who were "a dream to teach in most cases" were other reasons tempting Scots, he said.

Gerry Young, a physics teacher who traded rainy Musselburgh for the balmy climes of Mauritius four years ago, and is moving to Harrow International School in Bangkok in August, commented: "It's no secret that Scotland isn't a nice place to be just now if you are trying to find a job, and although that wasn't one of the reasons why we left in the first place, it is certainly a factor that would make us hesitate about coming back."



Primary teacher Jackie Henderson is moving to Harrow International School in Beijing, China. The 35-year-old, who is originally from Ireland but qualified as a teacher in Scotland in 2009, has been unable to find a permanent post; she has been doing supply in Clackmannanshire since her temporary contract ended last year.

Lack of security has driven her to look for jobs abroad. "I don't have people I can rely on. If I don't work, I don't eat or pay rent. I can't take the risk of spending money on a holiday when I don't know if I'm going to have work when I get back," she said.

Changes to rates of pay for short-term supply have contributed to her decision, and she is looking forward to the security of a two-year contract with a possibility of extension.

And because she cannot see the job situation changing in Scotland, she is already considering international schools in other countries following her two years in China. "I do have a feeling that this is me saying goodbye to Scotland. I want to work. If I can't find work in Scotland, I am going to go to a country that does want teachers," she said.

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