Wanted: New Zealand teachers

June 2016


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Their adaptability and calibre of training means that Kiwi teachers are highly sought after by international English-medium independent schools around the world.

English as the language for learning is growing in popularity the world over; so much so that a 2014 report by England’s Oxford University and British Council describes it as a “growing global phenomenon”. This is one of the reasons why the worldwide English-medium international independent schools market is expanding at such a pace – and why there is such a demand for skilled teachers from English-speaking countries.

According to The International School Consultancy (ISC Research), which has been the leading provider of data and intelligence on the international schools market for over 20 years, there are currently 8,231 English-medium international schools around the world teaching 4.3 million students. These schools are currently employing over 402,000 full-time staff and many are fully qualified teachers from such countries as the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand, where teacher training and qualifications are considered to be of a high standard.

Andrew Wigford, managing director of Teachers International Consultancy, an organisation that specialises in recruitment for international schools, believes New Zealand teachers have huge appeal in other countries.

“They have very good training and tend to have excellent adaptability skills, meaning they cope well when working with different curricula and approaches to teaching and learning,” says Wigford.

“New Zealand is very progressive in some areas of English teaching, especially at primary level, and teachers from New Zealand typically have good experience of inquiry-based learning which many international schools have adopted. This is why international schools often rate them so highly.”

An education solution for local and expatriate children

International schools are no longer only meeting the learning needs of expatriate students, which is why they were originally established. Today,
the number of local children attending international schools is at an all-time high and now makes up 80 per cent of the overall student population.

The reason for this is that international schools deliver all, or the vast majority, of the education in the language of English, often with globally recognised qualifications and good standards of teaching and learning. For many parents, both local and expatriate, this is considered an important educational route; one through which their child can gain a place at a western university; well prepared in the English language and in a western style of learning.

The National Curriculum of England is the most popular curriculum, used (all or in part) in 39 per cent of international schools around the world. This means that British teachers and those with experience delivering the National Curriculum of England are particularly sought after by many schools. The International Baccalaureate and US-style curriculum are also popular. As for qualifications, many international school students study for A levels, IB Diploma or Advance Placement all of which are recognised by western universities.

A continuing demand

This combination of relevant qualifications, teaching and learning, and English language skills explains why the number of international schools and students attending international schools has risen dramatically in recent years.

ISC Research states that the market has more than tripled in 15 years and forecasts that within 10 years the market will almost double again. By 2026 it predicts there will be 16,000 international schools teaching 8.75 million students, which suggests that job opportunities for qualified and adventurous expatriate teachers look set to continue.

The number of expat teachers employed in English-medium international schools varies from country to country depending upon a number of reasons including government quotas, visa restrictions, school standards and more. Labour laws and tax rules affecting expatriates also influence the recruitment and retention of teaching staff.

For example, recent legislation in Indonesia required that all teaching staff in the country should have five years’ postgraduate teaching experience. In some countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, foreign teaching staff pay little or no tax on their salaries, making such destinations particularly attractive for some expats.

Attracting the very best teachers

Many of the premium international schools employ all, or a particularly large proportion of, well-qualified teachers from English-speaking countries. However, there are not enough top-quality teachers with the skills and experience, who are willing to move away from their home countries, to satisfy the demand from all the international schools.

As a result, international schools often compete to recruit the best candidates. Some schools offer salaries which are higher than teachers could earn in their home countries, and many schools offer a range of benefits such as free or subsidised accommodation, medical insurance, free or subsidised flights to and from teachers’ countries of origin, free or subsidised tuition for children, and more.


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