Teaching in the UK

Changes in circumstances often affect our plans for the future, and it is sometimes necessary for teachers working overseas to return to their native country. Whether the teacher concerned is highly qualified and experienced or has only spent a short time abroad, this can be a difficult readjustment.

In the UK, there have been significant changes in the education system in recent years, involving new sectors of demand, new qualifications, and new organisations which oversee standards.

The following information only serves an an introduction, but may be useful to those intending to return to the UK.

Education in the UK is now based on the National Curriculum www.curriculumonline.gov.uk

The emphasis in the National Curriculum is on literacy, numeracy and, because the UK is now a multi-cultural society, ESOL. The governmental body responsible is the Department for Education and Skills www.dfes.gov.uk

TEFL/TESL teachers wishing to work in the state sector now need qualifications beyond an initial certificate such as CELTA. Teachers are required to hold a recognised 'level 4' teaching qualification such as a PGCE/Cert Ed, and a 'level 4' Certificate for Adult ESOL Subject Specialists.

The organisation responsible for the approval of qualifications is FENTO (Further Education National Training Organisation) www.fento.org while OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education) www.ofsted.gov.uk is responsible for overall standards.

In line with the above, Cambridge ESOL www.cambridgeesol.org have introduced a new qualification between CELTA and DELTA, namely the Certificate in Further Education Teaching Stage 3 with the Certificate for ESOL Subject Specialists. Having been unavailable for years, the PGCE in TEFL may be reintroduced as the PGCE in ESL. The organisation overseeing teaching qualifications in the UK is the Teacher Training Agency www.tta.gov.uk

The Universities Council for the Education of Teachers www.ucet.ac.uk is a useful reference point and publishes an excellent compendium of postgraduate courses.

Other organisations with informative websites involved in UK teaching and education include:

British Educational Communications and Technology Agency http://www.becta.org.uk/

Teacher Net http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/

Graduate Teacher Training Registry http://www.gttr.ac.uk/

Training and Development Agency http://www.tda.gov.uk

DEFS Standards Site http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/

National Recognition Information Centre http://www.naric.org.uk/

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority http://www.qca.org.uk/

CILT (National Centre for Languages) http://www.cilt.org.uk/

Department for Education and Skills (Languages) http://www.dfes.gov.uk/languages/

The national policy for languages in the UK 'Languages for All, languages for Life' makes interesting reading http://www.dfes.gov.uk/languagesstrategy/ The document itself is available for download http://www.dfes.gov.uk/languagesstrategy/pdf/DfESLanguagesStrategy.pdf

To check the validity and status of your qualifications, based on the National Database of Accredited Qualifications go to Section 13.1 (Teaching and Lecturing) http://www.openquals.org.uk/