Tired of being passed over for promotion despite putting in the long hours? Disillusioned with the preference for promotion based on length on service and not merit? You may find your professional horizons broadened with a move to an international school. The potential for promotion can be greater in international schools, due to a number of factors. We explore 5 ways in which international schools can offer you the professional step up you crave.


Dynamic Entities

International schools are very dynamic entities, and will have a turnover of staff every year. The opportunities for leadership responsibilities crop up on a more regular basis that they would in your home country. My first promotion to a head of department role came after just two years of teaching. Granted, I was probably in the right place at the right time as the HOD was leaving for another move, but it would have been inconceivable for that promotion to happen in my home country after just two years. The SLT saw the leadership potential I had and instead of looking to appoint from outside, they offered me the position. I accepted the challenge and it turned out to be an incredibly rewarding experience as I was to get a concentrated level of experience in a very short space of time.

Breadth of Opportunities

So you’re not interested in the traditional promotion trajectory from teacher to HOD to Assistant Head to Head? Never fear. International schools offer a plethora of ways for you to develop in your career without having to take on a  formal title. For example, in IB schools,  Posts of Responsibility will be given over to specific aspects of the programme such as Service and Action/Creativity Action and Service in MYP and DP, Exhibition Coordinator in PYP, Personal Project Coordinator in the MYP, Extended Essay Coordinator in IB Diploma and many more besides. UK National curriculum schools will have posts of responsibility such as exam officer positions, Duke of Edinburgh coordinator, safeguarding roles, and trip coordinator roles.

Professional Development

Many international schools have generous PD opportunities; with schools teaming up with professional service providers to provide bespoke PD to their staff. One school group that we work with has direct links with University College London and provides in house access to the NPQSL and NPQML courses. This allows teachers to get quality PD in an area they have an interest in or indeed in an area they wish to develop. It is also not unusual for some schools to funds MA programmes and fly you around the world to attend workshops and conferences. The opportunity to work alongside colleagues from all around the world also makes for a rewarding experience. The better schools will have their own in house PD along with talent development structures.

Subject Specialism

In my last leadership position, we had a policy of ensuring that there was at least one examiner and or/workshop leader in every department. This was a win-win for staff and the school as the professional development provided ensured that staff were in positions to step up when promotion opportunities,  whilst maximizing outcomes for students as they were being taught by teachers who had honed their expertise through expert guidance in facilitating the course.

Accreditation Bodies

Most, if not all international schools, are affiliated to an outside accreditation body. British schools may be accredited by COBIS (Council of British International Schools) or BSO (British Schools Overseas); American schools by NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges); and other international schools by the state or program that they are registered with such as the IB. As there are various inspection and accreditations that schools must pass, these are great sources of ongoing PD to get involved in. Schools generally distribute responsibility amongst staff and the chance to learn from and collaborate with colleagues during these accreditations are rich sources of professional development. Many accreditation bodies also train teachers to become school evaluators, which gives a unique insight into the process. Having this on a CV is a major plus, as schools will look to hire staff with previous accreditation experience, particularly if they have chaired a committee.



Looking for your next teaching or leadership post overseas? We have excellent client schools looking for superb educators. Send your cv to rory@galvineducation.com to see where we can take you next.