Teaching In The UK During COVID-19
The COVID pandemic has had an effect globally on schools, teachers and delivery of learning to students.
If you’re an Australian, NZ or Canadian teacher wishing to pursue teaching in the UK, then read through the Q & A below to find out how we are able to support you during this uncertain time. The good news is that it is still possible! The UK has currently given 37.1 million doses of a Covid vaccine. 5.5 million are fully vaccinated and fully vaccination is expected in July 2021 (April 8th data). Click the link for updates from the BCC Health website.
I was planning to teach in the UK from September 2021 or January 2022. Can I still pursue this?
The answer is yes, however, currently there are a few more hurdles than usual to get through in order to do this, which may change in the latter half of 2021. At present the international borders are closed and the directive is for all citizens to stay in their home country, however it is possible to apply for an exemption in some countries, including Australia. We have had a number of our teachers that have successfully applied and been granted exemption to travel to the UK from Australia.
The outlook for September 2021 and January 2022 is positive. We are likely to see further easing of restrictions locally, and to internationally borders coinciding with the vaccination rollouts both in Australia, NZ and the UK. Some airlines have opened up bookings for flights from July 2021 based on the latest expert advice.
Outlined below are some things you need to consider at this point in time but these points may become easier as we see restrictions easing;
- Flights: International flights are very limited and expensive, so you will need to book well in advance. We will cover $900 towards your flights if you decide to go.
- Visas: There is a longer wait time on applying for visas, so again allow more time. You may want to consider.
- Self Isolate: If you do travel to the UK you will be required to self isolate for 14 days on arrival in the UK if you arrive from or transit through a non-COVID approved countries. You will need to factor this cost and time into your plans. Talk to us about which countries are exempt at this time.
Will I be safe working in UK schools?
The UK Government have set vaccination targets to ensure life can get back to normal as soon as possible. Over 37 Million people have already received one of the three COVID vaccinations available. Vaccinations are happening weekly and at a rapid rate. Vaccination programs have started being rolled out in Australia from Feb 2021, so there is plenty of time between now and October to be vaccinated before travelling to the UK.
The UK Government and the Department of Education are working closely with schools to ensure that suitable practices are implemented to try and reduce the spread of COVID-19 amongst teachers and students. Some of these initiatives include:
- Keeping the same supply teachers returning to the same school each term
- Staggered start and end to school day across year groups
- Teachers and supply staff only working in a particular year group ( Bubble)
- Grouping children together in groups or “bubbles”, a class in primary and year group in secondary
- Avoiding contact in school between these groups, with separate starting, finishing, lunch and break times
- Attendance compulsory with the threat of penalty fines
- Test and trace in place for schools
- Regular cleaning of hands, but masks not expected for pupils or staff
- Those with symptoms told to stay out of school
- No big group events like school assemblies and arranging classrooms with forward facing desks
- Separate groups on school buses and discouraging the use of public transport
There is an inherent risk if you decide you want to teach in the UK and we cannot guarantee your health, in the same way that we could not in your home country. You will need to make an informed choice given your circumstances and current health status. You can choose to be vaccinated before travelling to the UK.
What happens if I contract COVID?
Ideally you will be vaccinated before you leave Australia but if not the normal self isolation rules will apply if you have milder COVID Symptoms. If you have severe symptoms then you will be covered by the National Health Service in the UK and appropriate care and action will be taken to ensure you receive the best care. The three COVID Vaccines are now available so you would have access to these.
What type of work is on offer?
To minimize risk we would encourage you to look at longer term work with one school, so you’re not travelling around to many schools. If you decide you want to do supply then we would try and restrict your exposure to a few schools rather than many.
Opportunities for 2021 and 2022 teaching positions are available this September, through our Virtual UK Principal Event.
For more information on gaining an endorsement and securing a suitable role, if you have any questions or you would like us to help you with teaching in the UK please register below:
Whatever you decide, we are here to help when the time is right. One thing is for sure, teachers have proved to be real superstars during this challenging time. We appreciate you!
International teachers can enjoy a free flight to the UK with us.