From education to employment

COBIS Announces new Training Schools initiative and partnerships with ITT Providers to support the global supply of teachers

The Council of British International Schools (COBIS) has announced the first cohort of COBIS Training Schools as well as new partnerships with providers of Initial Teacher Training overseas as part of its ongoing strategic work to support schools with addressing the current teacher supply challenge, both in the UK and overseas. 

COBIS Chairman, Trevor Rowell, said:

“As part of recent COBIS research on Teacher Supply in British International Schools, we made recommendations about the ways in which the successful international school sector could address the Teacher Supply challenge and support the global supply of teachers. One of the key recommendations was to increase international training opportunities – specifically around Initial Teacher Training. High-quality international schools could play a greater role in training teachers in their locality. This can include TAs, support staff, alumni, parents, spouses – those already within the wider community of international schools – as well as suitable local and international staff – all with a view to reducing demand on domestic supply.”

Building on the theme of the 38th COBIS Annual Conference in London, Vision 2030: The Future of International Education, COBIS announced new partnerships with a range of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers to support schools with training teachers in an international context with recognised UK qualifications.

COBIS CEO, Colin Bell, said:

“There is clearly an appetite for flexible teacher training routes in an international context, and an increasing number of UK-based training providers are offering or developing international ITT programmes including PGCE, iPGCE, Assessment-Only QTS, and other tailored courses. We are pleased to announce these new partnerships to signpost high-quality Initial Teacher Training opportunities for international schools as well as working with providers to support them to scale up their overseas provision.”

COBIS also announced the first round of COBIS Training Schools – eleven schools in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and the Americas that will be working alongside COBIS to deliver Initial Teacher Training to grow the global teacher workforce. They will act as regional hubs for hosting professional development, enabling regional professional learning networks, and sharing and modelling best practice.

Professor Deborah Eyre, COBIS Board Director and Chair of the COBIS Teacher Supply Committee said:

“Teaching is a global profession. Our research has shown that international experience supports retention, and that many teachers move in both directions between the UK and international school sectors. Teachers who work overseas gain valuable transferrable skills, in part from the high quality of professional development opportunities. COBIS Training Schools will play a key role in extending the impact of the tremendous professional learning opportunities in schools, and supporting the COBIS ambition to see international schools engaging with ITT on a greater scale in order to make a positive contribution to the growth of the global teacher workforce.”

COBIS Training Schools: a badging and quality assurance scheme to enable schools to demonstrate the breadth and quality of their commitment to professional development, with an emphasis on Initial Teacher Training (ITT), career progression routes and whole school workforce development.

The first COBIS Training Schools are:

  • Alice Smith School, Malaysia
  • Braeburn School, Kenya
  • British School in The Netherlands, The Netherlands
  • British School Muscat, Oman
  • British School of Brussels, Belgium
  • British School of Bucharest, Romania
  • Doha College, Qatar
  • Nord Anglia International School Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • St Saviour’s School Ikoyi, Nigeria
  • The Edron Academy, Mexico
  • Wellington College China Institute of Learning, China

COBIS ITT Partners:

  • University of Buckingham
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • University of Sunderland
  • Tes Institute
  • Educational Success Partners Ltd (ESP)

Details of additional COBIS ITT partners will be announced in the future.

COBIS Teacher Supply Research (2018):

COBIS contacted c.2,000 British international schools during February-March 2018 as part of a major COBIS research project, supported by ISC Research, designed to analyse the flow of teachers in and out of the British international schools sector.

The published findings are based on more than 1,600 responses from school leaders, and incoming and outgoing teachers.

Key Findings  

  • Teachers choose to work internationally for many reasons. The main motivations are travel and cultural exploration (71%); and enjoyment and challenge (63%). Other contributing factors include: dissatisfaction with home education system (47%); career growth (45%); salary (44%).  
  • Many teachers return to the UK after working abroad, with family commitments (44%) and a desire to return home (45%) cited as the main reasons. 26% of returning teachers worked internationally for 3-4 years; 71% of outgoing teachers were leaving the international sector within 10 years.  
  • Returning teachers bring with them a wealth of experience and skills including cultural awareness (79%), global outlook/international mindedness (76%), adaptability (58%), and renewed enthusiasm for teaching (53%) as well as EAL experience, resilience, and professional development opportunities.  
  • Nearly a third of teachers entering the international school sector (32%) were thinking about leaving the profession before taking an international job.  
  • 94% of British international school leaders find recruiting quality teachers ‘somewhat’ or ‘very challenging’ (31% very challenging).  
  • 93% of headteachers indicate that recruiting internationally-trained teachers is important, and yet more than a quarter of schools (27%) have increased recruitment of local staff. This could present an opportunity to upskill local teaching staff with UK teaching qualifications.  

According to responding international schools, the services which would most help the international school sector with teacher supply in the coming years are:

  • Ability to act as a Teaching School for UK trainees (41%)  
  • Conversion courses (to QTS/PGCE) for internationally-trained teachers (36%)  
  • Initial Teacher Training programmes to train local staff (31%)  

COBIS firmly believes that these services will have a positive effect on UK teacher supply by increasing the pool of qualified teachers.

The COBIS Training School initiative is one of the new, innovative and positive solutions to the supply of teachers needed in order to ensure continued success for schools at home and abroad.

About COBISThe premier global membership association for international British schools overseas. COBIS delivers world class quality assurance and external validation through the COBIS Patron’s Accreditation and Compliance scheme. A fundamental aim of COBIS is to support its 500 plus members and represent their interests in Britain and overseas, particularly with Government, education authorities and educational associations in order to advance the interests of British schools overseas and the commercial organisations which export education resources, products and services.

Related Articles