Christine’s UCD to UK Teaching Story – KS Education Ltd




christineI didn’t start out being sure I wanted to become a teacher, but at the age of 22 I don’t think anyone is sure about anything! After I secured my degree, I knew a life of scientific research wasn’t for me and I decided to apply to the Professional Diploma in Education at UCD.

When I got my acceptance I was delighted, nervous, but excited about what the year would bring. The year flew in and before I knew it, it was time to start looking for a job. A real job. I spent the summer applying left, right, and centre – I got a few interviews but it always came back to the dreaded “lack of experience”. I came across KS education completely by accident, and I’m so glad I did.

Within a few days I had done a video profile with the lovely Maeve and got an interview for a school in Kent, England. It was a bit of a whirlwind as the school wanted me to start straight away, so I didn’t have time to think about the enormity of what I was doing. After a few months I wasn’t entirely happy within the school, but as ever Maeve was on hand to help out. She got me another interview, this time in Essex and I moved up there a short time later.

I was so much happier there and the school put me straight on the NQT programme which really helped. I had a mentor assigned to me who was there to guide me through the process. There was regular meetings and observations of my lessons. The programme was intense but it certainly made me a better teacher because I was getting clear feedback on a regular basis. That doesn’t happen in Ireland – you are left to your own devices which may sound nice but you can pick up some very bad habits without realising.

Now back in the Emerald isle for personal reasons, I often wish I was back in the UK. In the UK I knew what was expected of me, I had a mentor beyond my NQT year, I was offered relevant school-based CPD on a regular basis, but above all I had job security. I was permanent. I was valued. I have a short-term contract in Ireland now, but I hope that my time in the UK will help me in landing a more permanent job in the near future; I know I have a wealth of experience to draw on. Although not the smoothest of journeys, I can easily as that I had the best introduction to my teaching career I could have had. I learned a huge amount in 18 months, not just about teaching, but about myself.

Christine, 28, UCD Graduate 2013


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Teaching in the UK: What are the Differences?



It is still a fairly difficult time to qualify as a teacher in Ireland. There simply are not enough jobs. As we all know, large numbers of young teachers are moving to the UK to teach. There are lots of reasons for this: the language, the ease in coming home for breaks with short, cheap flights and of course the fact that they simply cannot get enough teachers in the UK. I moved to the UK to teach at Easter of last year, having done my PDE and spending a term and a half subbing in various schools, hoping for “a foot in the door”. I got tired of waiting for a maternity leave or retirement that would lead to something long term. I’m still here in the UK, so it can’t be that bad! In fact I can honestly say it was a great decision. But how different is it from teaching in Ireland?

Well, in a lot of ways it is very different, but in other ways it is quite similar. The first thing is that kids are kids. Teaching kids and talking to kids is the same wherever you teach. Like Ireland, some schools will have more challenging behaviour than others, and some will have very little. There are plenty of horror stories about behaviour in UK schools and I heard them before coming over too. How you deal with behaviour is the key and smart modern strategies make all the difference. There is greater support for teachers within schools in the UK than in a lot of Irish schools. Most UK schools will have a pastoral team whose major duties are in supporting teachers as they deal with challenging students. Management also takes a more active role in ensuring positive behaviour for learning, so you are not on your own.

The culture of accountability is very different to Ireland, where a whole school inspection may come around once in four years. There is pressure as your head of department regularly checks on you and the senior staff check on them. Paperwork and planning is more intense in the UK. There is a lot of it, there’s no point in denying that.  You have to mark student work regularly and formatively. Your lesson plans need to be precise; active learning is not an occasional treat but the daily routine. However, you are usually given a highly detailed scheme of work with all the resources, PowerPoint’s, etc. attached and ready to go. There is a lot of support, mentoring and assistance from more experienced colleagues to help settle in and improve. As well, the accountability means that students get a good deal. They learn more and they learn better, and at the end of the day, that is why we do the job. The long term effect of this is that you are a better teacher with skills desired by Irish principals if you decide to look for work in Ireland.

Finally, teaching in the UK is a great way to get your probation year completed. Getting three hundred hours of teaching time in Ireland can be really tough. However, while working in the UK, you can do the English induction programme and have your hours and training recognised by the Irish Teaching Council for when you return to Ireland. In addition, if you are looking to move to the UK, Uteach really are very helpful. The interview practice in particular was really great and helped me go into the real interview feeling really confident.

So in short, there is more paperwork and accountability in the UK. However, this is to help you be a better teacher and make your lessons more enjoyable and more educational. The biggest difference for me is that I feel valued and respected again. I’m not an on-again, off-again substitute, I’m a teacher.

David - U Teach


David O’ Reilly was placed by U Teach Recruitment with a position in the UK.

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Uteach Ireland Ltd., 3/4 Pembroke Sreet Upper, Dublin 2, Ireland.



Primary and Secondary Teaching Opportunities in UK

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Engage Education are a dynamic recruitment organisation based in Dublin city centre specialising in providing Irish teachers with short and long term contract positions across England. With a strong base of experienced consultants, we place huge emphasis on treating every teacher individually and select only the ideal environments according to suitability. Engage Education are also the founders of the much acclaimed ‘iday’, a specialist education recruitment event that gives Irish teachers the unique opportunity to fly to England for free and interview with a number of schools on the same day and at the same location.

Over 1,350 primary and secondary schools across the UK are currently recruiting teachers for full-time posts and are looking to meet with Irish-trained teachers at our 2015 iday events at which these schools interview.

Teachers selected to attend the event are flown to the UK for the four-day event. During this time, they will have the opportunity to interview with up to 8 UK principals for full-time posts starting in September. They will be invited to a free CPD day run by education leaders and have the opportunity to visit schools before accepting a post. All positions will offer probation/induction to newly qualified teachers and progression to experienced teachers. All travel and accommodation expenses for the four-day event are covered by Engage Education. As this is a bespoke event designed to offer a tailored interview schedule to all candidates, over 90% of teachers will be offered positions.

For more information, fill in your details at the link below:

Otherwise please contact Rachel in our St. Stephens Green office on 0864109883 or for more information.