Teaching English in the United Kingdom

United Kingdom Overview

There is a surprising amount of TEFL work available in the United Kingdom although much of it is seasonal. The longer term contracts generally involve teaching English to foreign workers and students. Unfortunately the pay is abysmal when you consider the cost of living, particularly in London and other cities. Summer Schools are very popular with British TEFL teachers who want a short break from teaching abroad. For those with considerable experience, some language centres offer great opportunities for professional development and some will even encourage you to study for the DELTA qualification. Of course, one question remains lurking at the back of one’s mind when considering teaching English in the United Kingdom. Why would a person choose a less well-paid career in the UK when there are more interesting and financially fruitful opportunities across the rest of the world?

Type of Institution Typical salary (USD/month) Typical hours Typical annual leave
Summer Schools 1,200 – 1,800 (accommodation already paid for) Various shifts None due the short nature of the contracts
Language centres 1,200 – 2,000 Various shifts 2 weeks plus national holidays
International schools 3,500 upwards 8am – 4pm Monday to Friday plus some weekend work 10 weeks plus national holidays

Main places for jobs

Summer Schools across England and in Edinburgh.

Typical requirements

Degree, TEFL certificate, 1-2 yrs exp., EU national.

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1. The best location for teaching in the United Kindgom depends on you. Do you like the hustle and bustle of city life or would you prefer the idyllic natural beauty and peace and quiet of the countryside? Bear in mind that jobs in more rural locations are generally only available during summer months (June-August).

2. Accommodation is expensive. The benefits of Summer School jobs is that many of them offer (shared) accommodation as part of the contract. Make sure you ask about this during your interview and do your sums to work out how much it may benefit you financially not to have to find a place of your own.

3. Most of the work is from May to September (or thereabouts). Bear this in mind and apply to relevant language schools well in advance.

Red tape

As with most countries in Europe, it is a lot easier for EU nationals to find work as the paperwork required is significantly less than when applying to employ non-EU nationals. Employers usually take care of work permit arrangements but this can take several weeks.

Cost of living

Expensive. Accommodation in London is particularly expensive, by any standards. Transport costs are also very high.

Tax and salary information

Employers generally pay your income tax for you and as usual you should expect to be paid on a monthly basis.


Excellent infrastructure – daily tasks can be accomplished easily Lots of red tape for non-EU nationals
Summer Schools in the UK are an excellent way to spend a couple of months between longer contracts Low pay when compared with living costs
The TEFL industry in the UK places huge emphasis on quality and there are opportunities for professional development Why stay in the UK to teach when there is a whole world of fascinating experiences elsewhere?

Directory of Recommended Schools, Language Centres and Recruitment Agencies

St Brelade’s College in Jersey, Channel Islands. St Brelade’s College is a year-round English school offering English courses, as well as the Trinity College Cert. TESOL teacher training programme twice a year. Address: Mont Les Vaux, St Brelade, JE3 8AF, Jersey, Channel Islands. Telephone: +44 1534 741305 Email: info@stbreladescollege.co.uk

Would you like your school, language centre or recruitment agency to be listed above? Please contact us.

Qualified English teachers please register with World of TEFL and we will contact you with relevant vacancies as they come in. This is a free service for teachers.


  1. Chris Walker says:

    Hello World of TEFL

    My name is Chris from Cardiff,Wales,UK. I am currently an ESL teacher in Shanghai,China.
    I will be coming home in June and I am currently seeking an ESL job in my home city of Cardiff and/or surrounding area. Are there any ESL jobs available in this area? I have a PGCE and also a TEFL with a year experience of teaching aswel.

    Many thanks,

  2. Dan says:

    Hi Chris. Don’t know of any at present but perhaps you could consider summer schools in other parts of the UK. A few of them might still need extra staff for, say, an eight-week period over July and August. This could be a good thing to do initially. Just an idea. Good luck. Dan.

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