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Guide to UK Teaching employment for working travellers

Get ahead of the competition with a Teaching supply job or permanent position by applying for jobs and registering with agencies before you travel.

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"Thanks again for making this part of my England experience so hassle free." Michelle S. - Canada

Find out what types of jobs are available, and where jobs are located. See what salaries and pay rates you can expect as a teacher. We also provide visa information specific to education employment, and much more! Don’t forget to subscribe to WORKgateways’ monthly e-newsletter to receive updates, travel news and deals, and living in London essential tips.

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What types of teaching positions are available?

For teachers arriving in London from overseas, there is a full range of vacancies available from agency supply teaching to permanent vacancies. Teaching jobs in Britain are usually described as being Long Term, Day to Day (or Supply) or Permanent. The notes below describe what these terms really mean for you. Note that the Visa you hold will to some extent affect the types of positions you can choose from. Any restrictions are also mentioned in the notes below.

Long Term Teaching Positions

From 5 weeks to a full term or longer, long-term teaching positions usually provide all the benefits of a full time staff member and the stability of work 5 days a week. As a long-term teacher you will have full classroom responsibilities including creating lesson plans, student assessments, liaising with parents and educational bodies, and you may also be involved in professional development.

Day-to-Day Supply Opportunites

Day-to-day supply is an excellent way to kick-start your teaching career in London. This type of employment is common and popular for newly arrived teachers.
The benefits of Day-to-Day supply to a teacher from overseas:

  • You will be introduced to a variety of schools and teaching situations and you'll gain an insight into the different ways schools are run.
  • Teachers arriving outside of the normal school terms, or who require the flexibility of working when they like often prefer this option.
  • You can work whenever and wherever you like.
  • Often daily placements can turn into longer-term assignments, which is one of the benefits of day-to-day teaching. If you have enjoyed a particular day placement be sure to let your recruitment agency know for future work possibilities. Once working, always give your recruitment consultant as much feedback as possible. The more they know about you the better they can make it work for the schools and you!

Note that the key to day-to-day supply work is keeping in touch with your recruitment agency’s office. Often positions are filled on the evening prior to, or the morning of, the day a teacher is required. You will likely be asked to contact your agency’s office about 4pm to 6pm each afternoon and then in between 7am to 9am each morning to see what’s on for that day, or the next and let them know if you are available. It is your responsibility to be prepared for work early and ensure you can access travel information promptly!

Permanent Teaching Positions

Permanent positions are for those interested in securing permanent positions. In this case a school will interview you in the normal way but when you accept the position you will become a full-time employee of the school. Again, these positions are for teachers who require the security of constant work and a regular income.

Permanent teaching positions are ongoing and benefits here include holiday and sick leave pay. Generally schools ask for at least a one-year commitment.

Where are Teaching Jobs Located?

Teaching Posts are located in cities, towns and in rural areas, in publicly funded or independent schools. It is true that most positions are available in the greater London area, as well as Manchester and Birmingham due to the majority of the population being located in these areas.

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Types of Educational Facilities

Teaching positions can be available in either of the following institutions:

  • State Funded Schools – state funded institutions maintained by both the local and central government. These schools are managed by LEA’s (local education authorities) OR
  • Independent Schools – do not receive state funding and are largely supported and maintained by parents.

Levels of Education and Associated Institutions

Teaching positions thoughout England can be located in a variety of school levels and educational facility types including Nursery Schools and Early Childhood Centres, Primary and Secondary Schools as well as Special Education Needs facilities.

Nursery Schools and Early Childhood Centres

Childcare centres are known as Day Nurseries and are either privately owned or run by the local district or community called a Borough. In addition there are usually Nursery departments within Infant or Primary schools.

Pre-schools are also known as Nurseries and are for children up to 4 years old, after which the children enter the first year of formal learning which is called a Reception class. The Reception Class would be equivalent to Kindergarten in Australia and New Entrants in New Zealand. Nursery Nurses can be employed as Classroom Assistants in both the Reception class and Year 1 and sometimes throughout the school. A Nursery Manager will direct the educational program within a Day Nursery.

Primary and Secondary Schools

Britain has both public and private schools within all sectors of the education system. Students at Primary school level will be between 5 to 11 years of age while students at the secondary level are between 11 and 18 years of age. Sometimes students aged 16 to 18 years will attend a special tertiary or 6th form college. Since 1988 all schools conform to the British National Curriculum.

The core subject areas within the national curriculum include English, Mathematics, Science, Design & Technology and Information Technology. In England GSCE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) examinations are taken at the age of 16 and Advanced ‘A’ Levels at age 18.

In the primary sector there have recently been significant changes to the way Literacy and Numeracy are taught in Primary Schools. Note that the new requirements are well supported and when teaching these areas you will know exactly what needs to be achieved from each lesson and you are guided throughout by supporting materials. If necessary, you will be able to receive more information on teaching Literacy and Numeracy through your recruitment agency.

Special Educational Needs facilities or SEN Schools

There are SEN departments located in mainstream schools and there are also separate SEN schools that provide an education at both the primary and secondary schooling level. SEN schools have smaller classes that are often supported by a teacher and a classroom assistant, or a Nursery Nurse in the case of primary schools.

Types of SEN schools include EBD (Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties), MLD (Moderate Learning Difficulties) and SLD (Severe Learning Difficulties).

Note that you do not necessarily need a specific qualification or experience within SEN to teach special needs pupils. This can give you a chance to explore this type of work and develop your experience in this area if you wish. You may find that working with children with Special Educational Needs could be one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences of your trip!

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Visa and Immigration Information for Teachers

To enter and work as a teacher, British immigration requires you to have a valid Visa, Work Permit or Passport. The information below is specific to Teachers wishing to travel and work. For more information about the specific visas and permits themselves please visit WORKgateways’ UK Visa section or our Visa Links section for official sites and visa agencies.

With a Working Holiday Visa, teachers can work in their chosen profession on a supply basis but not on a permanent basis. This means you could choose to work on a day-to-day or long-term contract placement. Teachers with an Ancestry Visa, Right to Abode certificate or with an EU passport can undertake any type of placement including day to day, long term contract or permanent positions.

If you wish to stay longer than your (Tier 5) Working Holiday Visa allows you can seek a permanent position with sponsorship before your Working Holiday Visa is expired. Your recruitment agency will usually be able to assist you with this. Gaining sponsorship as a teacher is made possible by any experience you have been able to gain during your working holiday visa.

Sponsorship for a Work Permit: Teachers have been added to the list by DES (Department for Education and Skills) of skills and vocations experiencing a shortage. This means that if you do not qualify for any of the other visa or passport types you may be able to get a sponsored work permit where an employer applies for a work permit on your behalf for a specific position. Many agencies can help you with this, even before you leave your home country. Please let WORKgateways know when you register if this is what you would require.

Expected Rates of Pay and Salaries – Teaching Job UK

*Pay Scale for Teachers

In addition to a set national curriculum for UK schools there is also a set national guideline pay scale for teachers.

Permanent Positions

Minimum Salaries for British qualified teachers start at about 22,626 pounds per year (Sept 2011) while in Inner London the same teacher would start on about 27,000 pounds due to higher cost of living. Salaries then progress on a scale which considers both number of years teaching, type of experienced gained and any extra responsibilities undertaken. For example, a teacher with five years experience could expect to earn roughly 34000 pounds per annum in Inner London.

Within teaching management, salaries can range from about 40,000 pounds to over 100,000 pounds per annum.

Detailed information on Teacher pay scales can be found at

Temporary Supply Rates

For day-to-day supply teaching pay rates can range from 129 to 208 pounds per full day for a fully qualified teacher.

Information on teacher pensions can be found at the website.

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Before you go – A Checklist for Overseas Teachers

What you’ll need:

1. Teaching qualification
2. At least two years of teaching experience
3. A valid work visa or EU passport or Right to Abode see Visas for Teachers
4. A CV and References
5. Plans to travel
6. And a sense of adventure!

Teaching Agencies

WORKgateways partners with the best teaching recruitment agencies. Our partner agencies are specialists in assisting teachers from overseas and have long and successful track records. These are the people that can help you to fulfil your dream of working in Britain!

Planning for your Trip: British School Term Dates

The British academic year runs from September to July.

In general:

Autumn Term 1st week in September to 3rd week in December
Spring Term 2nd week in January to Easter (April)
Summer Term After Easter (April) to 3rd week July
  • Every 6/7 weeks there is a 1-week half term break.

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    • Is my qualification recognised in the UK?
      Yes! The British Government department of education recognises Teachers’ qualifications from several countries and do not normally require further certification from those qualified in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Canada.


  • Can I teach on a working holiday visa?
    Yes you can. You are allowed to undertake day-to-day supply or fixed contract positions. You are not permitted to accept a permanent staff position on a working holiday visa.



  • Are there positions available in central London?
    Yes there are. For reasons of population and need most teacher vacancies are located in urban centres including London, Manchester and Birmingham. There are also positions available in smaller towns and rural areas.


Want to know more about living and working in Britain?

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