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What is an International School?

International Schools are often for students staying briefly in a different country. These schools mostly have expat kids or local kids who’ve lived abroad. They mostly teach in English. The teaching team is a mix of local English-speaking teachers and those from abroad.
True international schools will take on a teaching syllabus different from the country it is based. Common examples are IGCSE or International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculums.
Some schools do take in local students. Though not the norm, it’s not rare. Some bilingual schools might call themselves ‘international’. For instance, a Middle East school mainly for local kids but with some English classes might label itself an International school, even with few international students.
There is nothing stopping any school from calling itself an International School so it really is up to the teacher to make sure the school meets their expectations.

Which accreditations should I check for International Schools?

When choosing a school, its accreditations matter. They show the school’s quality and standards. For British-style schools, look for:

  • Council of British International Schools (COBIS): Indicates strong British educational standards.
  • British Schools in the Middle East (BSME): For those eyeing Middle East schools, BSME shows the school follows a British education style.
  • British Council: They back schools worldwide offering a British curriculum.
  • International Baccalaureate (IBO): Known for tough academic programmes, IBO schools are regularly checked to remain IB World Schools.
  • Cambridge Assessment International Education: A UK group offering exams and global qualifications.
  • Council of International Schools (CIS): Shows a school’s dedication to international standards.
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC): US-based but works globally.
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC): Another US-based global group.
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA): They ensure good learning spaces worldwide.
  • AdvancED: Works all over to ensure top-notch education.
  • European Council of International Schools (ECIS): Promotes international education.
  • Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI): For those seeking Christian education.
  • International Accreditation Organization (IAO): Accredits global education providers.

Also, many schools get accreditations from their own or the host country. Always research these when picking a school.

What qualifications do I need to teach at an International School?

Requirements can vary by country and school. But in reputable international schools, you’ll likely need:

  • A teaching qualification. In the UK, it’s usually a PGCE with QTS.
  • Experience of about two years teaching in a UK primary or secondary school. Sometimes, even new teachers get roles, though it’s less common.
  • For Austrialians, US, New Zealander, South Africans, and Canadians teachers a Bachelor Degree and Teaching Certification are required.
  • Some school may demand QTS from the UK as a requirement.

Make sure the school gets you the correct visa. There have been stories of teachers deported for the wrong qualifications or visas. Always do your research.

Do I need to be a native English speaker to teach at a British International School overseas?

Not necessarily, but it certainly helps. Being a native English speaker isn’t strictly required to teach in a British International School abroad. But there are factors to consider:

  • English Proficiency: Schools often expect a strong grasp of English, particularly if you’re teaching in English or focusing on language lessons.
  • Qualifications: These schools usually favour teachers with standard qualifications, like the UK’s PGCE or similar from other nations. Such a qualification can enhance your candidacy, native speaker or not.
  • Experience: Previous teaching, particularly in British or international contexts, is a big plus.
  • School’s Policy: Some schools might prefer native speakers for roles like English Literature. For other roles, expertise in the subject might be more crucial.
  • Visa Rules: Certain countries might have visa or work permit conditions related to the teacher’s language skills or nationality. Always check local regulations.
  • Demand vs. Supply: In places with a teacher shortage but high demand, schools could be more lenient about the native speaker criterion.

Overall, while native fluency can be a bonus, it’s your qualifications, experience, and English proficiency that often matter more. Always review specific school or country requirements if considering such a role.