With workload woes, increasing accountability and the ever-looming prospect of inspection, it’s perhaps not surprising that more than a few teachers are wondering if the grass is greener elsewhere.
In fact, two in five teachers in the UK would be prepared to move abroad for the right job, a Tes survey has found. But, perhaps more surprisingly, the reverse is true, too, and in much bigger numbers: 84 per cent of teachers who believe they are qualified to work in the UK would consider working here.
And that number goes up to 91 per cent for teachers based in the US.
“Despite the battering it has taken in the last eight years, England still has an attractive, comprehensive education system,” John Bangs, a special consultant to Education International, says. “It doesn’t surprise me that teachers in the US want to come here because when we say how fractured our system has become it is nothing compared to the US, where it really is a lottery depending on what state you teach in.”
So where exactly is that greener grass? If you talk to Mauro Bonaccorsi, a design and technology teacher from Italy, he says the lower wages, poor organisation and often faulty equipment he uses at the moment has led to him considering the UK for his next career step. “Some colleagues in England have told me that not every day is a paradise,” he says. “But I would like to have a bit of a change and widen my horizons.”
However, Tracey Salt, a teacher from Yorkshire who has spent time teaching in Brunei, explains the benefits of leaving the UK for other systems. “When I worked abroad I was never sworn at,” she says. “I didn’t need to raise my voice. I didn’t really do behaviour management because the kids were desperate to be there. Here, I have felt more of a behaviour manager than a teacher.”