Geography teacher laughing in a classroom in front of a map display.

Return to England after teaching overseas

Are you a UK-trained teacher and UK citizen currently teaching abroad? Our children and young people need your international skills, experience and perspective.

If you’re thinking about coming home to teach, we want to help.

If you are a non-UK citizen interested in teaching or training to teach in England, please read our guidance for international teachers or guidance for international trainees.

Return to teach in England: step by step

Qualified teacher status (QTS)(opens in new window) is a legal requirement to teach in many English schools. However, even where QTS is not a legal requirement, many schools use QTS to assess the quality of candidates for teaching jobs.

Find out about the different types of schools in England(opens in new window).

If you completed your initial teacher training in England, you should already have QTS. You can check this in the Database of Qualified Teachers(opens in new window).

If you have been working as an unqualified teacher overseas, and you have a degree, you may be able to get QTS through the assessment only (AO) route(opens in new window) without any further training or the need to visit the UK. View training providers who offer AO to overseas candidates.

You could also consider studying for international qualified teacher status (iQTS). This new qualification is backed by the Department for Education and means you can train where you live and work, with no need to visit the UK.

If you trained as a teacher outside the UK, depending on where you qualified, you may be able to apply to the Teaching Regulation Agency for QTS(opens in new window).

If you have fewer than 2 years’ teaching experience, you will need to apply for a teacher training course leading to QTS in England(opens in new window)

75% of schools in England now advertise their teaching jobs on the Department for Education’s free Teaching Vacancies service(opens in new window). You can set up a job alert to search by:

  • working pattern (full or part-time)
  • location
  • subject
  • role
  • educational phase (primary, middle, secondary, 16 to 19)

Schools and heads in England recognise the value of your overseas experience. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also increasingly familiar and comfortable with remote recruitment and assessment.

If you want to teach at a secondary school in England and have qualified teacher status (QTS)(opens in new window), you’re eligible for a return to teaching adviser.

This includes:

  • help and advice from an experienced teaching professional over phone and email
  • information on vacancies in your local area
  • tips on application and interview prep
  • advice on subject specialist training courses
  • online courses and webinars
  • membership of our closed Facebook group

Get an adviser or call the return to teaching helpline on 0800 085 0971 (charges may apply for calls made from overseas).

Strengthen your application and widen your net by:

The non-UK spouses and families of UK citizens may need a family visa to live in the UK. Learn more about visas and immigration.(opens in new window)

If your spouse is an EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss citizen, they can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme(opens in new window), which allows them to continue living in the UK.

What you can expect from the Department for Education (DfE)

Continuous professional development (CPD) and competitive teaching salaries

The Department for Education (DfE) can support your CPD through national professional qualifications (NPQs)(opens in new window) for middle and senior leadership, headship and executive leadership. Learn more about national professional qualifications frameworks.(opens in new window)

Salaries and benefits explains teaching salaries for newly qualified and more experienced teachers.

Workload, behaviour and flexible hours

We’re taking action to address some of the common issues that teachers face in the classroom and have collaborated with schools to:

Teacher mental health is an important focus for DfE. Read our Teaching blog(opens in new window) to learn more.


To find out more about returning to England to teach, you can:

Get free one-to-one support

Talk to an adviser about the best way to get back to teaching in an English classroom with your international skills and experience. Chat by phone, text or email, as little or as often as you need.

Find out more about advisers