Could Brexit mean opportunity for teachers working in international schools?
We take a look at the short-term and long-term effects of the EU referendum
In June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The exit process (known as ‘Brexit’) will take at least two years, but there have already been some immediate consequences. What can this mean for teachers working in international schools overseas?
A short-term opportunity
One of the most noticeable effects has been the value of sterling. Recently the pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since the 1980s. While this can be bad news for holidaymakers, it can be an opportunity for those working abroad.
Many international schools pay in local currency, which is now worth more compared to the UK pound. This means that many British teachers have received an effective pay rise without the school paying more.
With a protracted exit process and continued market uncertainty, teachers can expect this benefit to continue for several years to come.
This week, TIC’s Managing Director Andrew Wigford spoke to the Times Education Supplement about this effective pay increase: “If teachers are earning in different and stronger currencies, as they generally do, then their earnings will go a lot further,” he said.
You can read more about the short-term effects of Brexit on the international schools market in the latest TES article, available to download here.
Brexit’s long-term consequences are still unknown. There is now a protracted exit negotiation between the UK and the EU, the results of which could have far reaching impact.
The free movement of labour is at risk, meaning British teachers could find the process of getting a job in an international school in EU countries more complex or downright harder. It could mean the reintroduction of work visas and a more challenging administrative process for jobs in European-based international schools, although the desire for British teachers by the schools is expected to continue.
The key point to remember is that nothing is certain. ‘Brexit’ will take at least two years, possibly many more. Most international school contracts are one or two years long, meaning now is the right time to take advantage of the weak pound. Should the situation change, you can always consider international teaching jobs further afield where there are many, many excellent opportunities, and where British teachers are very much in demand. Or you could of course return to the UK with more experience and, very possibly, more savings.
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