Record numbers of teachers are quitting the UK to work abroad, raising fears of an exodus that will leave British schools understaffed. The number of qualified teachers who have left to take up posts in schools overseas where the national curriculum is the same as in England and Wales has risen by 26% in three years, new figures reveal. There are now 74,264 teachers from the UK in such schools – known as British international schools. That number is equal to almost 14% of teachers in UK state schools. ISC Research, which analyses the international schools market and collected the figures, predicts that by 2013 the number will have risen by a further 54% to nearly 115,000.
John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, warned that the flight of teachers from the UK could exacerbate a shortage of maths and science teachers across the country. Meanwhile, Christine Blower, acting general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, argued that schools could struggle to fill UK vacancies because the new points-based immigration system meant there were 'major constraints' on schools recruiting teachers from overseas. The departure of so many teachers is mainly a result of hundreds more British international schools opening across the world, according to ISC. In the last three years their number has grown from 1,282 to 2,129, it has found.