There are many expat teachers holding down great jobs in London. Secondary education teachers in the subjects of maths and science are particularly in demand, and are an occupation on the current UK skills shortage list (as of November 2015).
But even if you’re a teacher in another subject, it’s still possible to teach in London as an expat. There are over 3000 schools in London, so as you can imagine, the scope for finding a teaching job is large. The full list can be found on the Schools Web Directory.
According to careers website Prospects, the salary for a newly qualified secondary school teacher in the UK is £22,023, rising incrementally to £32,187. Salaries in London are usually a little more than that to account for the higher cost of living.
However, salaries in Academies and Free Schools are free to set their own wage structure. This may be similar to local authority-run schools or may be somewhat higher.
Teaching in London can be highly rewarding; it’s such a multi-cultural city, and your classes are likely to be representative of this. You could very well be teaching a class that has pupils with roots in many different cultures, making for a fun and stimulating teaching experience.
There are also different types of schools in London, each with subtle or not so subtle differences.
Types of Schools in London
In London, and indeed the whole of the UK, there are five different types of schools. These are:
- Community Schools – these are controlled by the local council and not influenced by business or religious groups.
- Foundation schools – these have more freedom to change the way they do things than community schools.
- Academies and Free Schools – run by a governing body and are independent from the local council. They can set and follow a different curriculum.
- Grammar schools – run by a trust, foundation body, or the council. They select all (or most) of their pupils based on their academic abilities. Pupils often have to pass an exam to be accepted.
- Special Schools – for pupils aged 11 or older and have special educational needs in the areas of:
Communication and interaction
Cognition and learning
Social, emotional and mental health
Sensory and physical need
Working as a teacher in London means that you’ll usually be working frontline with pupils for 39 weeks of the year. Hours for schools do vary a little, but the norm is from 08:30 to 16:00. However, the working day usually starts before and ends after these hours.
Your preparation will be done in your own time at home. In addition, lunchtimes and afterschool extracurricular activities might well be expected as well.
The Right to Work in London
Of course, it goes without saying that to teach as an expat in London you’ll need to have impeccable English language skills. For those from countries such as the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa, this is not such an issue.
If you’re from a country where English is not your first language, then this might be a little more of a challenge, but if teaching in London is what you really want then improving your language skills is a hurdle that is honestly possible to overcome.
So once you’ve got your visa, how do you go about looking for a teaching job?
When using such websites, ensure that you upload an up-to-date CV and create a great profile. That way, when you find a job you want to apply for, everything is in place to make it easy to submit your application.
When it comes to updating your CV, it never hurts to have a professional look it over to ensure that it’s as good as it can be. There are many companies that offer such a service, including The CV Centre and the CV Store.
Each offers basic and bespoke services that are good value for the money. Everyone can benefit from giving their CV the professional touch, and it really is money well spent.
Timeplan Education is a specific teaching recruitment website that only advertises teaching jobs. You can find work here in nurseries, primary schools, and secondary schools. Eteach also offers a similar service.
Some of the largest national newspapers carry listings for teaching jobs. The Guardian is one, as is The Times. These are advertised online as well as in print, with a specialist section that is published once a month.
It’s also possible to find teaching opportunity directly via local authorities. Each London authority has a website, such as Southwark Council, and here you’ll find listings of teaching jobs. The full list of all inner and outer London boroughs can be found here.
Approaching individual schools to find out what teaching positions they have on offer is also a good option. The approach is perhaps best done by letter or email, and be sure to make a phone call first to find out the name of the person you need to contact.
Benefits of Working as a Teacher in London
Working in London is a dream come true for many, and the fact that you have a highly desirable skill makes finding such a job as an expat a wonderful opportunity.
Imagine, working in London really could see your daily commute take you past such famous buildings as The Tower of London, or Westminster Abbey. If you’re a teacher and it’s your dream to work in London, then there’s never been a better time to look for a job.
Good luck in your search, and enjoy it – you’ll be following in the footsteps of many who’ve made such a successful career move before you.