Time to make the move abroad
With the start of term well and truly underway, the idea of an endless summer working in exotic climes can be a compelling one – and Hays Education, the leading recruiting expert, is on hand to help. We place teachers with qualified teaching status in posts abroad each year, including schools in Europe and the Middle East. We work with British international schools and private independent schools, giving candidates a wide range of establishments to choose from.
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Exclusive relationships with top schools
Penny Kontopyrghou, a senior manager at Hays Education, specialises in placing candidates in the Middle East and Europe.
“Hays are happy to assist candidates to make the right decision, as we have been working with these schools for years. We have such a spectrum of schools, so we try and find the one that is the right fit for the candidate,” she says.
“We work exclusively with some really excellent high achieving schools that offer extremely competitive packages, so if you are interested in working abroad, we have experts who can talk you through all the things to consider.”
What is required?
For top schools offering high salaries, the requirements can be rigourous. Kontopyrghou says that many schools expect prospective staff to have at least two years experience and in most cases prefer to take on teachers with five years experience, including at least two years at the same school. And whilst all the schools teach in English and follow a British curriculum, English as an Additional Language (EAL) skills are also highly regarded.
“Whilst many pupils are from expat families, the schools also cater for local families who want to put their child through the British educational system,” she says.
Some schools, for example, in Europe and Egypt, take on newly qualified teachers, offering candidates a fantastic opportunity to live abroad for a year after qualifying.
Opportunities are available from May and June onwards, once students have completed their courses.
It is worth bearing in mind, however, that teachers cannot complete their induction year abroad, so NQTs will still have to work in the UK to attain their QTS.
Doing your homework will pay off…
You will also find that schools are very rigourous when it comes to finding the right candidate, given the cost to them of hiring British teachers, says Kontopyrghou, who adds that candidates should also be prepared to commit to the full term of their contract.
Kontopyrghou says that the majority of contracts are for two years, so it pays to do your research thoroughly. “Whilst in some cases you can find a position very quickly, on the other hand, it could take months to find a position that is exactly right for you – but it really pays off, because the candidates we place are extremely happy,” she says.
…And don’t just focus on salary
She also advises candidates to look at overall packages, rather than just the salary. Many schools offer flights back to the UK, for example, and Kontopyrghou points out that the cost of living in many places is considerably lower than in the UK.
In the Middle East, for example, salaries are tax-free, and accommodation or an accommodation allowance are also provided.
Keeping an open mind can lead to your dream job
Kontopyrghou also tells candidates to be flexible in terms of location so that that Hays can find the school that is the best fit for them.
“People often say they want a high salary, and that they want to work in a popular location, like Dubai, Italy or Spain, but if we are going to find the right opportunity for you it is important to be open to location,” she says, adding that very popular locations tend to be oversubscribed with applicants. So having an open mind and a flexible attitude could lead to a fabulous job.
“For example, there are great opportunities available in Qatar and Oman in the Middle East, and in just a couple of hours, you can go to Dubai for the weekend. In Europe there are some great opportunities available in Barcelona, Germany and Moscow.
Testimonials: teaching abroad reaped dividends for these Hays candidates
1. Paul Atkinson spent four years teaching in Moscow.
“I was offered a variety of places in Europe and the Middle East. For some reason, Moscow seemed to appeal to me. As soon as I expressed interest I was put into contact with a headteacher at the school. I was interviewed over the telephone and he kept me updated with all the things I would need to do before I boarded the plane and set off for my adventure. All in all it has been a very worthwhile venture. The class sizes are small, Children actually want to learn, the staff are great, and the city is amazing.”
2. Jenna Samms opted to teach in Madrid.
“While working in an international school, I taught out of my key stage, which was an absolute delight. I could never have imagined myself as a year one teacher, but with the support of four other British teachers in my year group alone and five bilingual classroom assistants I really enjoyed it. The children were amazing and the parents were also very supportive. Teaching abroad is definitely one of the best things I have ever done. Moving abroad was not easy, but was definitely worth it. You have to take the highs with the lows because it's the highs that are remembered.”
Please call Penny Kontopyrghou for advice on 0207 259 8771 or on the International Teaching website