An evaluation of recruitment schemes for overseas teachers has found that many international teachers were put off working in English schools by poor pupil behaviour and the heavy workload.

A report evaluating the Department for Education’s (DfE) initiatives to increase the supply of teachers of STEM and MFL subjects was prepared by CFE Research. They surveyed 21 of the 58 international teachers who had been recruited through the STEM international recruitment programme. This programme allowed schools to recruit a science or maths teacher from Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the USA, via a DfE approved intermediary. Around a quarter of the respondents to the survey expressed dissatisfaction with their placement, chiefly citing issues around poor student behaviour, heavy workload. The level of support offered to international teachers by the school in which they were places appeared to be a key factor in their level of satisfaction.

The report also looked at the experiences of teachers recruited via Spain’s Visiting Teachers Programme (SVTP). In interviews with four senior leaders from schools who employed teachers recruited through SVTP a high drop out rate among recruits was reported. The teachers who had left cited stress and/or homesickness, with interviewees stating that this ‘particularly related to pupil behaviour management’. Other teachers who were still on the programme had stated they intended to return to Spain at the end of the academic year. According to the report ‘All interviewees highlighted that the difference between Spanish and English pupils, with regards to behaviour, proved to be a barrier to successful teaching, even for experienced international teachers.’ The school leaders who were interviewed suggested that the programme, which was in its pilot year, could be improved by the recruitment process beginning earlier in the academic year, and by additional support and guidance being provided to teachers about getting ‘set up’ to live and work in England as part of their induction.

Full report: 

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