Polish teacher in the UK

Polish qualified teachers – how to become a teacher in England?

Those who have teaching qualifications from Poland can also look for a job as a teacher in England.

To take up a teaching post in England you must have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) is an accreditation made to those teachers who meet the professional standards required to be able to teach in maintained schools, non-maintained special schools or pupil referral units in England. Without QTS a teacher cannot be employed as a qualified teacher in state schools. QTS is not required when applying for teaching assistant jobs, although it is not recommended to postpone applying for the QTS as this will narrow down your further career prospects.

If an EEA member state recognises you as a qualified school teacher you can apply for QTS in England. Just simply fill in the form, attach copies of your passport and a copy of your higher education qualification along with a certified translation of these documents. It may take up to 4 months to process your application.

More information about QTS can be found here:

You can start looking for jobs as a teacher while you are waiting for your QTS. The best place to start your job search as a teacher is looking for Teaching Assistant or Supply Teacher jobs.  Working as a Teaching Assistant or a Supply Teacher will allow you to gain the understanding of the English education system and the procedures related to working as a teacher. It will definitely be an asset when applying for a job as a qualified teacher.

It is a good practice to register with job agencies specialised in hiring teachers, as most of the schools are looking for employees using their services.

An important step in the teacher recruitment process is applying for Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS), formerly the Criminal Record Check. It is a legal requirement for people applying for teaching positions. There are 3 types of check: standard, enhanced and enhanced with list checks. As a teacher you need enhanced check. Job candidates cannot apply for an enhanced criminal records check themselves. The employer will process an application form through DBS or an umbrella body for the applicant.

See the DBS website for more detailed information about checks.

Full-time teachers work usually 37 hours a week, with typical class times starting between 8.30am and 9.15am and finishing around 3.15pm to 4pm. Teachers may spend more time outside of normal hours, planning lessons, marking work and also taking part in activities, such as parents’ evenings and outings. Teachers normally work 39 weeks a year split over three school terms: autumn (runs from September to December), spring (runs from January to April) and summer (runs from April to July). On each term falls a Half – term (a short, one week vacation in a half way of term): the Autumn term half-term falls in late October, the Spring term half-term falls in mid-February, the Summer  term half-term falls in late May and occasionally into early June. British school terms are separated by two holiday-periods, each of approximately two weeks.

The Christmas holidays separate the autumn term from the spring term and the Easter holidays separate the spring term from the summer term. The UK school summer holidays which begin in mid-July, usually consisting of six weeks and mark the end and beginning of the academic year.

More information about teaching as well as a list of teaching job agencies can be found on National Careers Service website.

Teacher jobseekers can also find many useful tips on The Department for Education Website and National College for Teaching and Leadership website.


 Working as a teacher in Poland after time spent abroad

This information relates to those, who have acquired teaching qualifications/experience whilst living in Poland and would like to continue teaching after coming back from the UK.

The maximum period of being out of the teaching career that can lead you to loosing your right to teach does not exist. A Former period of maximum five years does not apply anymore.

After returning from abroad, regardless the amount of time spent there, you can still continue your work as a teacher.

An important matter is the degree of the teachers’ professional promotion scheme.

The professional promotion grades in teaching career were introduced in Poland in 2000. There are four categories in the teaching career:  trainee teacher, contract teacher, appointed teacher and chartered teacher.

If a teacher left Poland before 2000, after her return she can still work as a teacher but at the lowest level of the promotion system, as a trainee teacher.  This period in the teachers’ professional development lasts for nine months; afterwards a contract teacher status is being obtained. In justified cases, on a discretionary basis, the head teacher may recognize the achievement of a returning teacher to be sufficient to allow the omission of the period of working as a trainee teacher and immediately hire her as a contract teacher. It is not possible to ‘jump’ more than just this one level in the teachers’ professional promotion scheme.  The change will not affect even the fact of working as a teacher in the UK for a long time, or the fact of having awards for this work gained while being abroad, e.g. awarded with the Medal of the National Education Commission, granted by the Ministry of National Education (MEN). The Medal of the National Education Commission (KEN) is being awarded for the services to education, but not necessarily to teachers, e.g. the presidents of the organization, benefactors, etc. therefore being a medal winner does not affect the teachers’ professional promotion scheme.

If a teacher left Poland after 2000, after her return she can still continue work as a teacher at the same career stage as was earned before she left and terminated her work.

The years of teaching practice of a teacher who gained her QTS, or worked as a teaching assistant in a British school, also will not affect the teachers’ professional promotion scheme in Poland.

A teacher in Poland is being employed in accordance with the Teachers’ Charter; legal regulation confers tasks to a teacher in the Polish education system. A Teacher in the UK has completely different tasks assigned to a different system, which makes it impossible to convert the work time on the Polish teachers’ professional promotion system.

The legal acts regulating the above-mentioned issues are:

The competent authority in the Ministry of Education to direct questions on these subjects is: Department of Strategy and International Cooperation (Departament Strategii i Współpracy Międzynarodowej), tel. (+48) 022 3474312.

Speaking of the teacher’s job seniority , we are not talking about seniority pension, which is a separate issue.

The information about which ZUS (the Social Insurance Institution) units are competent for the employment in countries such as: UE / EEA / Switzerland and countries with which Poland joins an international agreement on social security can be found here (in Polish):

As reported on the above-mentioned website, those of the readers who are interested in the topic can refer to the above-mentioned units with questions regarding:

  1. The rules for entitlement to pensions for people with periods of insurance in Poland and abroad- in selected countries,
  2. The rules for calculating the amount of such pensions,
  3. The rules for payment and the transfer of the above-mentioned benefits to the country of residence,
  4. The procedures and forms used to apply for benefits from the Social Insurance Institution and from countries with contracts,
  5. Other issues related to handling pension with matters falling within the competence of ZUS.
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