What to Expect When Planning to Teach in the UK

If you’re planning to head to the UK for a teaching job, the first thing you can expect is to work in a country rich in culture and history, has beautiful landscapes, and a creative atmosphere that embraces all the arts. You’ll never feel like a fish out of water because people from all over the globe make the UK their home.

As for the actual teaching, you should know that you’ll be teaching in the 5th most educated country in the world according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in terms of higher education, and its formal schooling educational system is no less impressive, rated as number 6 worldwide. This should tell you that the UK takes education seriously and expects highly qualified teachers.

Now, let’s look at some other things to expect.

UK Education System

The system is divided into 4 parts: primary education, secondary education, further education, and higher education. School education is divided into 4 key phases, those of:

  • Key Stage 1 and 2: 5 to 7 years old – This is the primary education which begins at age 5 and goes up to age 11. Stage 2 starts at 11 years old.
  • Key Stage 3 and 4: 11 to 14 years old – During this stage, children aged 11 to 16 enter secondary school and start to study to take the GCSE. Primary and secondary education is mandatory in the UK. After the age of 16, education is optional.

Qualifications for teachers

If you’re interested to teach in the UK you would need to qualify for it first and you can find sites that will give you more details and application forms. If you already have a teaching license, this will simplify the process but you would still be recommended to have a Qualified Teaching Status (QTS). This certificate secures you more as you would be placed on the qualified teacher pay scale which allows you to receive benefits during retirement.

Once you have qualified for the QTS, you’re ready to teach anywhere in the UK.

  • Primary level: As a teacher, you’re expected to teach all subjects outlined in the school curriculum.
  • Secondary level: Teachers will most likely teach what they had majored in. Teachers of all subjects are in great demand in the UK, especially TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) teachers.


You can start deciding how you’ll spend your generous six weeks off during summer. You’ll also be offered many teacher discounts on items and places to go. As well, you’ll get opportunities to receive a raise as a result of appraisal outcomes and meeting teaching standards set by schools.

Deciding to teach in a country other than your own is certainly a bold decision and soon to be a gratifying experience that you will carry throughout your life and teaching career. Being exposed to a new culture and people, and sharing with them your own culture will add flavor to your personality, the way you teach, and the way you will view and deal with people afterward.

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