PS News

Reports on recent College activities and a selection of announcements, events and initiatives in the wider education community.

The British teaching opportunity

UK opens doors for more foreign teachers

The British government's recent loosening of accreditation requirements for some foreign-educated teachers could improve Ontario teachers' chances of landing jobs in the United Kingdom.

Starting in 2012, teachers educated in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States can be considered for permanent UK teaching positions without undergoing further training. Previously, teachers from these countries could teach in the UK for up to four years before being required to obtain British accreditation through additional instruction.

Still, most observers don't expect the shift to have a major impact on Ontario-educated teachers since most of those who teach in the UK do so for only a year or two. "But UK schools might take Ontario teachers more seriously since there will no longer be a ticking clock," says Simon Warren, Commercial Director of Protocol Education, one of the UK's leading teacher-supply recruitment and placement firms. "It removes one more obstacle in considering someone for a permanent hire."

According to Warren - whose firm places up to 300 Canadian teachers annually, 80 per cent from Ontario - UK schools turn to agencies such as his to fill almost all their daily cover needs. Once teachers prove themselves on several of these short-term assignments, they are likely to be considered for longer hires.

"Overseas teachers do a fantastic job," Warren says. "They bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm."

The person responsible for monitoring how well Ontario graduates are doing in the job market agrees that the British move "may not mean a great deal" in the short term. But Frank McIntyre - who conducts the annual Transition to Teaching study for the Ontario College of Teachers - adds nevertheless that the change may be of "some value" for teachers having difficulty finding jobs at home. "There are more and more teachers looking for work outside Ontario because the job market is tight," he says.

According to McIntyre, the number of Ontario-educated teachers working outside the province in their first year in the profession has more than doubled in recent years. In the 2010-11 school year, 11 per cent of the most recent graduates who were teaching reported they had jobs outside the province, compared to just four per cent in 2008. In the 2010 College survey of Ontario graduates, 15 per cent reported that they sought jobs outside the province and one in five of those included Britain in their job search.

British officials say the loosening of requirements is not a response to a particular teacher shortage. Instead, the move is designed to level the playing field that now exempts qualified teachers from the European Union from the additional certification requirements.

For his part, however, Warren says that there is always a demand for fill-in teachers in urban centres, especially in elementary schools and in the sciences and math. "We can't get enough of them," he adds.