Most schools, at one point or another, have struggled to recruit highly-skilled candidates for teaching roles. In the UK, one particular challenge has been the recruitment of STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) staff, with educational institutions receiving fewer applications for each post than they would have hoped for.
But this issue is not confined to the UK, with a new Council of British International Schools (COBIS) report revealing that UAE British schools are also struggling.
As reported on by The National, UAE schools are finding it hard to recruit maths, technology and science staff due to more lucrative job offers for specialists in these areas.
The Teacher Supply in British International Schools explains there are 73 British schools in Dubai, with around one third of pupils studying the UK curriculum. Brendon Fulton, principal of Dubai British School, told COBIS that many maths and science graduates from the UK move into different sectors as they search out more lucrative opportunities.
“The majority of our teachers come from the UK and there is a sense of disenchantment with the system of education there. They are disillusioned with the quality of schools, lack of support and remuneration.”
In a bid to retain staff, some Emirates schools are training teachers to gain UK qualifications, as well as providing them with open-ended contracts and diversification programmes.
Simon Corns, headmaster at Brighton College Abu Dhabi, said his school is finding it particularly hard to recruit chemistry teachers. He said that offering teachers flexibility is one possible solution, with the school now using open-ended contracts in a bid to attract and retain staff.
Rapid growth of overseas British schools
Clive Pierrepont, director of communications at education provider Taaleem, said there has been a recent upsurge in international British schools, which has upped demand for British teachers.
Data from The International Schools Consultancy show there were 2,584 English medium schools in 2000, with the figure increasing to 8,924 last year – in ten years’ time, it is expected there will be around 16,600 schools. Currently, China is the country with the most international schools, at 638, followed by the UAE with 601 institutions.
The COBIS report uncovered that almost all (94%) British International school leaders find it ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ challenging to recruit quality teaching staff.
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