How to get a job in Dubai if you haven’t trained/ taught in the British education system…

According to the International School Consultancy (ISC Research), there are more than 4.5 million students studying at over 8,000 English medium international schools around the world. Of these schools, 41% (more than 3,700) are British schools, i.e. schools with a British national orientation, and/or using elements of the UK national curriculum.  Click here to find 8 websites that advertise teaching jobs in the Middle East. By 2025, ISC Research predicts there will be at least 15,000 English-medium international schools teaching over 8 million students, so the number of British schools in the Middle East and Asia will certainly increase. This growing demand for a “traditional” English education explains why British teachers are so popular in international schools.  According to Anne Keeling of ISC Research, “UK teachers and leaders are respected for their experience of the national curriculum as well as high standards of teaching and school management, and they speak the language that international schools demand.”

british system

Thanks to the generous tax-free salaries, free accommodation and sun, many British-trained teachers are moving to the Middle East and Asia to work. In fact, 18,000 teachers left the UK in 2014 to teach in English international schools while only 17,000 finished their PGCE (UK teaching qualification) to become teachers in the same year.  In fact, 100,000 British teachers were working abroad in 2014-2015, up from 82,000 the previous year. I couldn’t find any more recent stats but I can guarantee the number is even higher today, particularly in Dubai. In my opinion, it was easier for teachers without British teaching experience to get jobs in good schools here a few years ago, but nowadays, Dubai is quite a popular and competitive teaching destination.

This means that if you don’t have recent experience in the British education system, you may need to adapt your approach to securing your ideal teaching job in Dubai, especially if you wish to work at a private British international school. I recommend these following options:

  1. Spend time researching the British National Curriculum for your subject. Make sure you know what age students are in Early Years and Key Stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. 
  2. In your CV’s Work History, include British curriculum terminology when you describe the year group or exam level you have taught to. For example, you can say “Taught English Literature to Leaving Certificate level (the Irish equivalent of the A-levels).”
  3. Take a job in another UAE city (e.g. Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Al Ain, etc.), Qatar, Oman or another Middle Eastern country for 1-2 years and then reapply to Dubai. When you have some international experience, it’ll definitely boost your chances.
  4. Even though it can be challenging and sometimes you don’t know your location, apply to work in a government school in the UAE such as the Ministry of Education, again to get that international experience to find a job in another school in Dubai in 1-2 years’ time. Note that sometimes you will have to go through a teaching agency to get these jobs, rather than applying to them directly.
  5. Take any teaching job in the UAE (even at a school that may not have the best package or reputation), so that after you’ve completed your contract there, you’ve gained lots of international teaching experience, so you can eventually move to a better school in Dubai in the future.
  6. Move to the UK for a year to get British teaching experience, which will be great for your CV, especially as the majority of private schools in Dubai are British curriculum.
  7. You may have better luck applying to IB (International Baccalaureate) Schools because these schools must provide training to all teachers to induct them into the IB curriculum, which is actually quite similar to the Irish Leaving Certificate system. A full IB school has the following programmes:
    • Primary Years Programme (PYP)- for students aged 3 to 12
    • Middle Years Programme (MYP)- for students aged 11-16
    • Diploma Programme (DP)- for students aged 16-19
    • Career-related Programme (CP) – for students aged 16-19

    Read more here about the IB curriculum.


In my opinion, if you plan to be a long-term expat teacher, I’d highly recommend option no. 7, as it will boost your knowledge and understanding of the British education system. Moreover, it’ll be a wonderful addition to your CV plus it’ll meet the requirements of certain schools who want prior British teaching experience. These kinds of schools usually pay well and have great benefits. Spending that year in the UK gaining your British teaching experience will definitely be worth it and is only a small price to pay to attract the attention of more schools abroad. Short-term, you’ll have to spend a year in the UK, but in the long-term, it can have a huge positive impact on your career prospects and financial gain.

Do you agree? Let me know below!

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