TEFL Jobs by Country:

  :: Cactus TEFL Jobs, United Kingdom


TEFL in the UK can be roughly divided into two categories. The first is classified as the teaching of English to new arrivals in the UK (usually immigrants or refugees), with the aim of helping them to survive on a day to day basis in their new environment. This type of teaching is more associated with the state sector, or with volunteer teaching, and has become more and more pertinent as the UK’s immigration policy has changed. ‘ESOL’ is the term most associated with this.

The second type if the teaching of English (often in private language schools) to people who want to use English for business, studies, leisure, or travel, and who believe that it is better to pay to study the language in the country where the language is spoken. This type of teaching tends to be the more competitive part of the industry to break into as a newly qualified teacher because you’re competing with qualified and experienced teachers who have often spent time away and then returned. * This kind of teaching tends to be referred to as ‘EFL’

*The exception to this is teaching in summer schools. There are thousands of UK summer schools, and a huge demand for both newly qualified and experienced teachers.

Salary and hours

These will both depend on the type of teaching that you do.

Permanent positions within private language schools come up relatively infrequently, so the majority of this type of work will be on a part-time basis. An average hourly rate may be somewhere between £12-£20 pr hour.

The majority of ESOL teaching jobs are also likely to be part-time, so teachers may choose to offer private tuition in order to increase their wages.

Type of teaching

If you are working in a private language school, you will most likely teach both General and Business English. You are also likely to teach exam courses and EAL (English for academic purposes) as many students tend to come over to learn English in preparation for studying at a British university.

If you work at a language school during the summer, you will probably teach teenage learners and will be expected to help out with activity and excursion supervision as well.

If you teach in more of an ESOL sphere, you will most likely teach General English, but to a varied range of age-groups and backgrounds. You would be most likely to teach ESOL in either a further or higher education college, or on a council or local-authority lead scheme.

There is also the option to register with language training agencies (such as www.cactuslanguagetraining.com) in order to get freelance work. The work would involve either private tuition to individuals, or teaching classes in-company.


It is unlikely that any school (aside from a summer school) would provide you with accommodation.

Start of school year/ best time to look for work

Most contracts with private language schools will begin in September/October and run through to June or July. Schools will require teachers to have at least a CELTA/Trinity Cert TESOL qualification, and for permanent work most likely a Diploma (DELTA or Dip TESOL) too.

To teach in a further education college, you would need to become qualified to teach in the Life Long Learning sector. The CELTA or Trinity Cert TESOL would form the first part of this overall qualification (PTLLS), but would need to be bumped up with further modules.


Red Tape

It is unlikely that any qualified EFL teacher that required lengthy and expensive work permits would be taken on. It can also be very hard for non-native English speakers to get work in the UK. A recommendation for any non-native speaker would be to apply for any job in the UK in person so that the prospective employer can see that you speak fluently and don’t have a strong accent that is hard to understand.