Following on from our recent blog post about how to get an international teaching certificate, Teacher Horizons had a conversation with Colin Bell from the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) about the new iQTS (International Qualified Teacher Status) which enters its pilot stage next academic year.

COBIS has had a close relationship with the British Department for Education (DfE) and the Department for International Trade (DIT), and has helped them develop their international education strategy, so Colin was a great person to talk to about the new scheme. 

In 2018 COBIS presented their research into teacher supply to Theresa May’s team in Downing Street, and put forward three suggested aims:

  • Position teaching as a global profession
  • Value and recognise overseas experience
  • Increase international training opportunities (including initial teacher training)

In setting up the new iQTS, it seems the government was listening!

Colin told us that COBIS is committed to growing the global workforce and is proud that a number of organisations they work with are listed as pilot schools. The potential numbers of new high quality teachers, both working internationally, and returning to work in the UK is an exciting prospect. Colin sees vast potential in these “repats” since they bring with them a wealth of knowledge, a broad world-view, open minds, and unparalleled flexibility.

We discussed the potential training routes that new teachers now have, and there are several options, of which iQTS will be one. Colin’s advice for someone wanting to gain a British teaching qualification from abroad is to do as much homework as possible and figure out what the best route into teaching is for you.

For those experienced international teachers looking to return to the UK he suggested really making the most of the skills you have picked up from living abroad: your cultural knowledge and emotional intelligence, for example. Administrators in UK schools may still need some convincing of the value of these skills in their contexts, but there is a strong argument to be made that teachers with experience of global education spaces have much to offer British schools.

In essence, all Brits should be happy about the plans to make it easier for teachers to move between the UK and abroad: ultimately the country will end up with stronger educators, and this can only have a positive impact on the experiences of students everywhere in the world.

Alex, CEO of Teacher Horizons, says, “We believe that both training and teaching overseas offers an enriching experience for educators of all stages. The passion and inspiration they develop usually results in a more engaging education experience for their students.

With the right structures and support in place, there’s lots of potential for the iQTS to grow rapidly to benefit more teachers and students.

We hope that this route is increasingly recognised internationally to enable internationally trained teachers to return to teach students in their home countries should they wish to later in their careers.”

Want to learn more? Read our international teaching certificate blog here.

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Written by Camilla Cook
Camilla has been working in education for the past sixteen years, teaching English in the UK, El Salvador, Thailand, and Tanzania. She participated in the Teach First Programme in 2005, and went on to support another Teach First teacher in her efforts to set up The Literacy Pirates, an education charity working to develop the literacy, confidence, and perseverance of young people referred for extra support by their teachers. As their first Director of Learning, she was responsible for planning, leading, and evaluating the learning programmes. She has worked as the Head of Language and Literature in international schools for the past five years, and is now living in Brighton with her husband and two children, attempting to reacclimatise to the weather by cycling around as much as possible and eating lots of ice cream.
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