Top English teaching jobs in United Kingdom

Dreaming of living overseas and traveling around Europe? Want to teach in a world-class education system with unbeatable opportunities for career progression? Who doesn’t!

We’ve got some good news for you on that front. Whether you’re an experienced teacher or just about to start your career in teaching, you can make that dream a reality this year by teaching in the UK. The UK is in the middle of a critical teacher shortage, so schools are eager to hire international teachers.

Feeling skeptical? We get it – it can be hard to figure out how to get started with teaching at home, never mind in an entirely different country!

That’s why we’ve created the ultimate guide to teaching in the UK, to help you jumpstart your UK teaching job search. All you have to do is read along, email it to yourself for later or jump to the section that interests you most:

What is teaching in the UK like?

Teaching jobs in the UK offer a competitive salary (the sixth best for teachers worldwide) alongside plenty of opportunities for you to progress in your teaching career.

The job typically involves a mix of lesson preparation, marking and assessment, running extracurricular activities and administrative duties.

Primary school teaching in the UK

Primary school teachers in the UK are expected to teach all subjects as outlined in the curriculum.

Secondary school teaching in the UK

Secondary school teachers will usually teach a subject they majored in at university.

Many schools throughout the UK are finding it hard to recruit new teachers in secondary school subjects, including English, maths, science, history, music, modern languages, and TEFL teachers.

As a result, new and experienced overseas teachers in these subject areas are in huge demand all across the country.

Substitute teaching in the UK

If you’re looking for a flexible way to teach in the UK, then becoming a substitute teacher might be a good option for you.

Don’t forget that you’ll still need to have QTS (more on this further down the page!) before applying for substitute teaching jobs anywhere in the UK.

ESL teachers and certified teachers teaching in the UK exploring the countryside

About the UK teacher shortage

Due to a rapidly expanding student population, many schools throughout England are struggling to fill vacancies in several subject areas, especially STEM and modern languages.

According to UK Department for Education figures, in 2016 there were 920 teaching vacancies at UK schools, up 26% from the previous year. As a result, recruitment efforts directed at newly-qualified and experienced overseas teachers over the coming years will be at an all-time high.

Educators who hold a teaching license from Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland who specialize in these subject areas are in particularly high demand for full-time vacancies at schools throughout England.

How teaching in the UK furthers your career

Due to similarities in curricula, UK teaching opportunities are increasingly sought after by newly-qualified Australian and Canadian certified teachers currently experiencing a shortage of teaching roles in their home countries and seeking opportunities for rapid career development.


You’ll gain real classroom experience

Whether you’re looking to gain real-world teaching experience to take back to your home country or to kickstart a long-term career in international education, teaching in the UK offers plenty of opportunities for rapid career development.


You’ll jumpstart your international teaching career

For teachers looking to find employment at international schools and programs in the Middle East and Asia, UK teaching and curriculum experience is highly valued by hiring schools abroad.

Teaching in the UK also offers a unique chance for you to foster effective classroom and behavior management skills – skills that tend to be highly sought after by hiring schools back home and abroad.

Teaching in the UK for overseas trained teachers (OTTs)

Overseas trained teachers looking to teach in the UK need to follow the steps outlined below:


Possess a teaching certification – teaching experience, while an asset, is not required.


Submit an application to teach in your chosen subject area.


Once your application is successful, you’ll need to apply for Qualified Teacher Status as well as a visa to teach in the UK.

Certified teachers learning how to teach in the UK

All about the UK education system

Education across the United Kingdom is overseen by the UK Government in England. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments are each responsible for education in their respective countries.
The UK has a comparatively young teaching workforce – 60% of teachers are under forty and 30% are 30 years old or younger.
Students sitting outside of school doing lessons by teachers who learned about the UK education system

The education system in England

Education in England is overseen by the UK Department for Education and is broken up into five key stages:

  • Early years education
  • Primary education
  • Secondary education
  • Further education
  • Third-level education
Age Education Phase Exams
3 – 5 Early Years Education NC Tests
5 – 11 Primary Education NC Tests
11 – 16 Secondary Education GCSE
16 – 18 Further Education A-level, BTEC, IB, Cambridge Pre-U
18+ Third-Level Education University Degree

Currently, there are almost 7,900,000 students enrolled in state-funded primary and secondary schools all around England.

School Education in England

What is OFSTED?

OFSTED is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, which is responsible for regulating and evaluating all schools, academies and many independent schools currently operating in the UK. OFSTED reports to the UK Parliament and publishes the results of their inspections publicly.

All about the UK school year

The school year in the UK runs for just under 40 weeks (or 200 days). School terms are divided up as follows:

UK school term overview:

Autumn term Spring term Summer term
September – December January – March April – July

School holidays for teachers in the UK

Teachers in the UK get half-term breaks, as well as winter and Easter holidays. UK schools typically break for the summer in late June until early September.

Qualifying to teach in the UK

Whether you’re from the UK or living overseas, this section covers everything you need to know about becoming a qualified teacher in the UK.

What is Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)?

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) is required in England and Wales in order to teach in state-funded schools. The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) is the authority in England responsible for awarding QTS.

Once you’ve been granted QTS and are employed to teach in a state-funded school, you will be paid according to the teacher pay scales outlined below. There is no charge for applying for QTS.

Teaching in the UK without QTS

In rarer cases, QTS may not be required for teaching roles at independent schools and academies across the UK.

Schools seeking individuals to teach certain shortage subject may also choose to waive the QTS requirement, although this is unlikely as applicants with QTS are strongly preferred.

How can overseas teachers get QTS?

If you’re a fully qualified teacher in any country in Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand or any country in the EEA, then you can apply for QTS using the online application form.

If you completed your teacher training in a country outside of those listed above, then you will first need to undertake an accredited teacher training program in the UK in order to be granted QTS.

teaching in england

Teachers certified to teach in Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand

In order to be eligible to teach in a UK school, you will first need to apply for QTS online and also provide a letter confirming your eligibility to teach in your home country, issued by the relevant authority.

Once your qualifications have been assessed and verified by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), you’ll be issued a letter confirming you’ve been awarded QTS.

Teachers who trained in the UK or EEA

If you completed an accredited teacher training program in England or Wales, the UK government will automatically award you QTS and your name will be listed in the database of qualified teachers.

Teachers who trained in Scotland, Northern Ireland or within the European Economic Area (EEA) need to apply online for QTS.

About Brexit

If you’re an EU national or from the EEA, you won’t need to apply for a visa to teach in the UK.

Qualifying to teach primary school in the UK

If you’re looking into primary school teaching, one of the most popular qualifications include either full or part-time undergraduate degree programs, leading to QTS.

Most programs include the option to specialize in a particular subject.

Qualifying to teach secondary school in the UK

There are two main routes into secondary teaching in the UK:

  • University-led teacher training
  • School-led teacher training

Routes into teaching in the UK

University-led teacher training School led-teacher training
Training at university with school placements Training at a school leading to employment once qualified
PGCE leading to QTS ITT leading to QTS

1) University-led teacher training programs

Before being admitted into a UK graduate teacher program, you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree of 2:2 or higher as well as meet other requirements, including obtaining a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

After graduating, you’ll need to gain QTS in England and Wales (or Teaching Certification if you choose to teach in Scotland).

Note: As part of the university-led route, you can also study for your postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE). Although PGCE is not required in order to gain QTS in the UK, it is an internationally-recognized qualification that UK teachers will likely need in order to teach in other countries.

2) School-led training routes

UK teachers who prefer to opt for a school-led training program undergo a mix of classroom teaching and practical training. Depending on your chosen subject, the UK government may offer a bursary to help you cover your training costs.

You’ll need to undertake either Initial Teacher Training (ITT) or Initial Teacher Education. This will include 120 days of in-class teaching experience and continuous assessment.

School-led programs usually take a year to complete and result in QTS. You can search and apply for school-led training courses taking place over the coming year by visiting the UCAS Teacher Training site today.

Finding a teaching job in the UK

For new teacher graduates in countries like the US, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, it can be tricky to find a teaching job with little classroom experience. Teaching in the UK is the perfect way for new teacher graduates from these countries to grow their resume!

Finding a teaching job in the UK

UK teaching jobs for Canadian and US-qualified teachers

In an effort to combat the acute teacher shortage the UK is currently experiencing in a number of critical subject areas, we’re currently on the lookout for a large number of STEM and modern language overseas teachers to teach in schools across the UK.

Sound like you? Apply to teach in the UK today!

UK teaching jobs for Irish teachers

As a result of reduced pay for newly qualified teachers and an ongoing shortage of teaching jobs in Ireland, many teachers in Ireland choose to seek teaching opportunities abroad.

Teaching in the UK is a great option for Irish teachers struggling to find work in their home country, as the Irish government’s 100-day post-qualification employment requirement can be completed at schools in the UK.

In an effort to tackle the UK teacher shortage, newly qualified and experienced Irish teachers are in huge demand at schools all across the country. As a result, Irish teachers encounter little difficulty securing a teaching position in the UK.

Visa options to teach in the UK

If you’re fortunate enough to possess either a UK or EU passport, you can teach in the UK without any restrictions. Otherwise, you can teach in the UK under the following visas:

Visas for overseas teachers in the UK:

UK Visa Type Duration Fee Turnaround Time
Youth Mobility Visa 2 years £235 (approx. $335 USD) 3 weeks
Skilled Worker Visa Up to 3 years £446 (approx. $635 USD) 3 weeks
Ancestry Visa 5 years £496 (approx. $705 USD) 3 weeks
Dual Citizenship Lifetime More info on fees here 3 weeks
Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa for overseas teachers

PS: Don’t forget about background checks!

Before you can teach at a state-funded school in the UK, you are required to undergo a criminal record check. Visit the UK government’s department for education site to find complete guidelines on criminal record checks for overseas teachers.

Any domestic UK teachers will need to get an enhanced DBS (British Police Clearance), which is mandatory for any profession working with children.

Teaching salaries in the UK

Teachers working in the UK are among some of the best paid in the world. While new teachers can expect to earn a minimum of £23,000 (approx. $33,000 USD) in their first year teaching, average salaries can rise as high as £47,500 (approx. $68,000 USD) for highly experienced UK educators.

Salary ranges for teachers in the UK:

Experience level Pay scale
Newly qualified (NQT) teacher £23,000 – 35,000 (approx. $33,000 – 50,000 USD)
Qualified teacher £36,000 – 47,500 (approx. $51,000 – 68,000 USD)

Headteachers in the UK can expect to earn an annual salary in the range of £45,000 – £117,000 (approx. $65,000 – 165,000 USD). While there is no set pay scale for teaching assistants, starting salaries fall around £14,000 ($20,000 USD) annually.

In addition to your base salary, other benefits for qualified teachers in the UK include a generous pension and extended holiday time (up to 13 weeks a year).

Curious how UK teacher salaries compare with the rest of the world? Check out our free salary calculator!

teaching salary calculator

Want even more deets on all things to do with UK teacher pay scales? Check out the UK government site for more info on teaching salaries in the UK.

Tax implications for overseas teachers in the UK

PAYE for UK teachers: How does it work?

Whether you’re teaching on a full-time basis or working as a part-time or substitute teacher in the UK, it’s important to figure out what tax you should be paying in advance.

The UK operates a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax system. This means that tax will be deducted from each paycheck, helping you avoid having to pay one large tax bill at the end of the year.

The tax year turns from April 6 through to April 5 the following year. As an overseas teacher working in the UK, you are entitled to a tax-free Personal Tax Allowance of £10,000 (approx. $14,000 USD) on a yearly basis.

UK tax rates range from 20% to 45%, depending on your salary. National Insurance contributions are also deducted for teachers in the UK, which can range from 0 – 2%, again depending on your salary.

Where to teach in the UK

teach in england
teaching jobs in london
teaching jobs in manchester
teaching jobs in liverpool
teaching in scotland and wales
teaching jobs online

TEFL jobs for UK teachers

Are you TEFL certified? Teach Away has the widest range of teaching jobs for TEFL teachers looking to teach English language learners around the world. As some of the fastest growing TEFL job markets for new graduates and qualified teachers looking to teach English abroad, English teaching jobs are booming in Spain, China, South Korea and Mexico, to name just a few!

So don’t miss your chance to teach English abroad and travel the globe – search for the latest TEFL jobs and apply online with Teach Away today.

Apply for TEFL jobs around the world

TEFL jobs for UK teachers

Living in the UK

Moving to the UK can feel a little scary. There’s no need to panic! We’ve covered everything you need to know before you go, below.

Arts and culture in the UK

One of the most multicultural countries in the world, the UK is a diverse and tolerant place where hundreds of languages are spoken.

Home to a world-leading arts and cultural scene, the UK is a hub for art, theatre and museum lovers. London’s Tate Modern and the National Gallery are two of the UK’s most famous art spaces. Some of the world’s best live music venues and festivals are located in the UK – including the O2 arena and Glastonbury.

Social life in the UK

Although the UK has historically had a bit of a bad rep for serving up bland meals, consisting mostly of meat and potatoes, that couldn’t be further from the truth today. Whatever mood you’re in, you’ll find places to eat, to suit every taste and budget, on any UK high street.

Pubs and bars are popular hang-out spots for overseas teachers in the UK. British people, in general, are also big into watching sport. Don’t be alarmed by the colorful language that’s bound to ensure during an Arsenal v Chelsea match!

Oh, and take note – British pubs love holding pub quizzes. So start brushing up on your general knowledge now!

Living in the UK
Visas in UK

cost of living

Cost of living in the UK

While the cost of living in many of the bigger cities in the UK is fairly high, your teaching salary will be adjusted to reflect this. If you’re relocating to teach in the UK from a different country, you’ll also benefit from a favorable pound to dollar exchange rate.

Budget supermarkets, like Aldi, are also hugely popular in the UK. If you’re shopping around for a gym membership deal or a discount on popular activities, don’t forget to sign up for Groupon alerts in your area.

UK weather

The UK is home to a temperate climate, with average temperatures ranging from anywhere between 6 degrees Celsius (42 degrees Fahrenheit) in the winter and 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer. Rain is pretty common year round.

Living in London

London is one of the world’s most livable cities. Rental prices are higher in central London but tend to decline the further out you go. In general, houses or apartments in close proximity to a tube station will be a little pricier.

living in london

Additional Resources

Check out these additional resources if you’re planning on snagging a teaching job in London

Travel for teachers in the UK

The great British outdoors

The UK happens to be a beautiful place to live and explore. The UK is home to 15 national parks offering plenty of recreational activities. Due to its relatively small size, traveling around the UK on the National Express is easy and cheap.

From the wilderness of Dartmoor and the many miles of rugged coastline on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path to the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, the UK offers new teachers arrivals fantastic outdoor adventure activities to suit any interests.

Just remember to invest in a good rain jacket before you go trekking anywhere!

Traveling around Europe

Due to its proximity to Europe, one of the best perks of teaching in the UK is undoubtedly the extensive travel opportunities on offer. France and Belgium, for example, are a quick train ride away, while other destinations across Europe are easily accessible by air. And not only are flights affordable, many travel vendors also offer special discounted rates for teachers working in the UK.

Travel for teachers in the UK

Take your teaching career to the UK

Register for a teacher account to apply for teaching jobs in UK

United Kingdom at a glance

Country information

Capital: London

Language: English, Irish, Scottish

Population: 62,262,000 (22nd)

Currency: Pound sterling (GBP)

Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Major religion: Christianity

Climate: Temperate

Quick facts

The first public theater built in England was called ‘The Theatre.’

The treasures contained in the British Museum span two million years of world civilization.

London is the world’s largest financial centre

Windsor castle is the oldest and largest royal residence in the world still in use.