British teachers flock overseas for international school jobs

Published:  25 Apr at 6 PM
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Schools in the UK are battling against a brain drain of experienced teachers heading overseas to teach at at international schools.

Following the boom in the numbers of elite British schools opening overseas campuses, more and more international schools are appearing in expat-friendly countries worldwide. As a result, lucrative relocation packages are encouraging British teachers to take the opportunities of a lifetime and leave the UK. With Britain’s schools already experiencing a recruitment famine, the brain drain effect of emigration is causing major problems in the sector. Already, higher numbers of teachers are leaving than are replacing them.

According to one former head teacher at a Welsh school, now a departmental head at Vietnam’s British International School Ho Chi Minh, her main reason for the move was that she saw the need to change her way of working. The main difference, she said, is the focus on each pupil’s progress, not just on simple attainment. Her new school follows the English National Curriculum, with all lessons given in the English language.

Formerly teaching at a London inner city school, Robert Graves is now head of Qatar’s Nord Anglia International School Al Khor. He and his wife are about to head off to open the new Nord Anglia Chinese International School in Shanghai as headmaster and director of studies respectively. They’ve years of experience in teaching overseas, and appreciate the freedom and creativity given to teachers in international schools.

Primary school teacher Janet Berg, now at the Doha British School, loves the flexibility to adopt different teaching strategies as well as the understanding of cultural similarities and differences she's gained since becoming an expat teacher. Her salary is excellent and the Doha lifestyle and proximity to Dubai for weekend trips add to her satisfaction with her choice.

Scots maths teacher Ina Robertson started teaching overseas at Beijing’s Harrow International School and is now with the British School of Guangzhou. He plans to teach in China for a couple more years before returning, and feels that his experiences, challenges and rewards have re-awakened his love for his profession. In particular, he said, advanced technology in Chinese classroome enhances the teaching experience as well as encouraging students to work independently.
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