What should I wear to teach in the UK?
You have just started to pack your bags for your big overseas teaching adventure, but you have hit a stumbling block. What do teachers wear in UK Schools?
We have put together this handy guide so you know what to pack or maybe what you need to go shopping for.
Overall UK schools are more formal in their dress code than Australian or Canadian Schools. Of course there will be some schools with more of a relaxed dress code, however we recommend dressing formally when starting at a new school. This will achieve two things. One, you make a great first impression on the school. And two, you can get a feel for the dress code and then change your attire accordingly.
For male staff it is common to wear a shirt, tie, trousers and smart shoes. While female staff often wear smart dresses, trousers, shirts, blouses, knitwear and other smart tops may be worn, plus smart shoes or boots.
Be wary that in a primary school setting, you may spend time bending down, working on the floor or at a lower level with children, so your clothing needs to be comfortable and practical. Maybe leave the high heel stilettos at home.
PE staff can wear tracksuits or other sports clothing including runners/trainers.
The following may be helpful in clarifying what is and what is not appropriate:
- No denim
- No revealing or excessively tight clothing
- No t-shirts (for PE staff a polo is preferable)
- No combat or cargo trousers
- No leggings unless under an appropriate length skirt or dress
- No inappropriate footwear e.g. flip flops/thongs and trainers (Trainers acceptable for PE staff)
- Women’s tops may be sleeveless but should not be ‘strappy’ (i.e. have narrow shoulder straps) or be strapless
- No clothes with rips or tears
If you arrive in the UK and are needing to update your teaching wardrobe, we recommend checking out shops such as Primark, H&M, UNIQLO, New Look and Next for affordable and appropriate clothing.