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Becoming a Foreign Language Teacher in a School

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 7 Jun 2019 | comments*Discuss
Education Teachers Teaching Schools

Many individuals who love languages end up working in education so that they can share their gifts with others. A foreign language teacher generally speaks multiple languages, and many schools welcome teachers whose first language was not English.

There are many routes to becoming a teacher in the United Kingdom, all of which will differ depending upon what and where an individual is interested in teaching. Becoming a teacher, then, is largely dependent upon your own abilities and circumstances.

Primary School Foreign Language Teachers

Primary school education is broad, and only trained primary school teachers are employed to teach it. Many primary school teachers specialise in teaching a foreign language within their daily lessons, but these teachers are trained at either undergraduate or postgraduate level in primary education and their foreign language teaching is usually regarded as “extra”.

There are, however, some undergraduate and postgraduate programmes that offer a specialism in a foreign language, such as at Anglia Ruskin University, Canterbury Christ Church University and Goldsmiths College, University of London. Most of these specialisms are in European languages.

Secondary School Foreign Language Teachers

Those interested in teaching foreign languages in secondary schools have many different opportunities to enter the profession. Individuals whose mother tongue is something other than English can do a Post Graduate Certificate of Education, School Centred Initial Teacher Training, Graduate Teacher Programme or Registered Teacher Programme.

For those already holding an education qualification, contacting the General Teaching Council in order to obtain a teaching reference number is important. Teachers from outside of the EEA will need to prove the equivalency of their qualifications as well as have a valid work permit and work visa before they will be able to teach.

Undergraduate and postgraduate education options also remain a route to teaching foreign languages in secondary schools. Secondary school foreign language teachers should expect to teach more than one subject.

Independent School Foreign Language Teachers

Some independent schools, which may also be referred to as public schools or sometimes private or privately-funded schools, may hire teachers specifically to teach one language. This usually holds especially true if a teacher specialises in a non-European language such as Arabic, Chinese or Japanese. Qualifications for such positions may differ, but having a recognised teaching credential will certainly never hurt a candidate’s case.

Further Education Foreign Language Teachers

Those interested in teaching foreign languages at the further education level will need a recognised qualification to do so. Initial Teacher Training has opportunities for both Associate Teacher, Learning and Skills qualifications as well as Qualified Teacher, Learning and Skills qualifications. A variety of organisations offer appropriate teacher training qualifications, including Goldsmiths College, University of London, International House and the SOAS Language Centre, University of London.

Becoming a foreign language teacher in a school is an excellent idea for those who want to share their love of languages. Depending upon whether an individual wants to teach at primary, secondary or further education level, or if (s)he wants to teach in an independent school, there are different ways to obtain teaching qualifications. Individuals looking for further information should contact a local school to find out more about the qualifications required of their foreign language teachers.

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Hello, we are seeking to recruit a teacher with a QTS who has early years experience in leading/managing a classroom for an exciting new post in London starting in September. Please contact me on rh35@soas.ac.uk if this interests you.
Rabab - 7-Jun-19 @ 5:56 PM
Hi. I am English, have a BA(hons) in English and Applied Psychology, I have a CELTA qualification, and I am currently taking the CCP qualification in Portugal (in Portuguese) - which is a basic teaching qualification. I would like to return to the UK however, and am thinking about primary or secondary school teaching. Although i teach language, my passion is literature. I also love psychology. What would i need qualification wise to be able to teach Portuguese also? And would would be the best route for me to take next?(what are my options?)
EmmaAnn - 21-Nov-18 @ 10:13 AM
Hello, Great information! I am finishing a Máster Degree in Spanish as a Second language with the international University of La Rioja in Spain but I live in London. At the moment I work in an official language school and volunteer in a primary school as I prepare my dissertation in that context. My main degree is Economics related and was taught in Spanish which is my mother tongue as I am Cuban. My specific question is, how can I get into formal teaching in the UK with my qualifications? I was told my Master degree would be compared to QTS but I believe is not the case however it would enable me to progress to further education in the field. Can you please clarify what is the best way to get into formal teaching with my qualifications? I am interested in the high education sector. Many thanks.
Karinat80 - 11-Oct-18 @ 6:47 AM
Hello. I'm Alejandra and I'm from Uruguay. I speak Spanish and i learned english when i was a child in the United States, where i went to primary school and then i continued with english in a British school in my country. Now I'm living in Chorley - Lancashire and i would like to have a training course to teach Spanish as a foreign language. What course should I have? Thanks.
Ale - 14-Sep-18 @ 5:13 PM
Hello , iam algerian i have got madter 2 degree :german language , currently iam living in london and iam very jnterested to teach german in london but i have no idea about conditions or steps that should be taken , i would appreciate any advice or help to achieve my dream job . Thank you sooo much
Souzi - 23-Jun-17 @ 11:17 AM
Hi, I'm a qualified teacher with UK QTS and seven years experience in teaching Literacy, English and EAL at secondary school in England. My first degree is in teaching English as a Second Language therefore I have a good knowledge of methodology in teaching foreign languages. What shall I do to qualify in order to teach German? I took my A-levels in German but since it was many years ago, I'd have to refresh my language skills.
Eady - 18-Jan-17 @ 9:03 PM
Hello, I moved in England two years ago. I have an italian Bachelor's Degree in Foreign Languages, a French Bachelor's Degree in Art andLitterature and 6 years of experience in the Sales Department of which 4 in Italy and 2 in England. Do you think it would be enough for Teaching Italian Language to adults? Otherwise would i need a specific qualification? Many Thanks Alina
Aly - 4-Jan-17 @ 1:06 PM
Hello! I am a teacher of English in Chile with furtherstudies in Spanish Language and Educational Psychology. Do you think can I have job opportunities working in Schools as a Spanish teaching Assistant?
Miss_Deb - 11-Nov-16 @ 7:40 PM
I'm Spanish. I have worked 14 years in several Primary schools and have acquired a rich experience in the classroom in Spain. Now I have come to the UK and I would like to teach Spanish in Primary Schools. I got the QTS and the NARIC certificate. What certificates should I get for teaching as an MFL teacher? Thank you, Ana Selva
Ana - 13-Jul-16 @ 10:01 AM
Laroccaml - Your Question:
Good morning,I am Argentine-Italian, lived in the US for 16 years and in the UK for 5. I have a level 3 in bookkeeping and have been in management for the past 10 years.I want to be able to teach Spanish in secondary schools.I am a bit lost at where to start.Is there a way to doing this? Any help is greatly appreciated.-Maria

Our Response:
If you have ILR and are living in the UK, in order to be able to teach in a secondary school you would have to have a qualified teacher status and there are several ways to go about this, see more via the National Careers Advice link here.
LanguageTutoring - 24-Jun-16 @ 10:22 AM
Good morning, I am Argentine-Italian, lived in the US for 16 years and in the UK for 5.I have a level 3 in bookkeeping and have been in management for the past 10 years. I want to be able to teach Spanish in secondary schools. I am a bit lost at where to start. Is there a way to doing this? Any help is greatly appreciated. -Maria
Laroccaml - 23-Jun-16 @ 8:17 AM
Hello and thank you for useful information. I am a Russian teacher with Russian diploma in linguistics ( which is recognized as British Bachelor standard). I work in a private language learning centre. I would love to get trained to teach another MFL, particularly Spanish ( as I speak some Spanish but don't have any qualification in it) and become a school teacher.I would appreciate any advice how or even if it is possible to achieve. Thank you.
Victoria - 24-May-16 @ 5:41 PM
marivgh - Your Question:
Hi I teach Spanish but I need information,because I want to take more spanish teacher tranig course in uk

Our Response:
Please see link here for more information which should help.
LanguageTutoring - 18-Apr-16 @ 12:43 PM
hi I teach Spanishbut I need information,because I want to take more spanishteacher tranig course in uk
marivgh - 17-Apr-16 @ 2:17 PM
I am Italian. I am 23 years old. I live in London. I want to become an Italian Teacher for the Primary School. Could you please tell me what I have to do? I do not have any qualifications but I love to teach and I love the children.
Linda - 12-Oct-15 @ 9:21 PM
Hello, i am a portuguese teacher, who is living in South Lambeth. I wish to teach portuguese language ( i am qualified and native) to children and/or to adult. Please, help me to find the right job. Tank you
AlexAlmeida - 19-Sep-13 @ 1:01 PM
I am currently learning Italian, what qualifications would I need to be able to teach others, privately or in a school. How long would it take and where do I go, could I do anything on line, thank you.
Vampire - 31-May-13 @ 10:46 PM
Please I need someone to teach me spanish or portuguese! can I get sommeone who speaks replying and I will send you my mail
mary - 5-Sep-12 @ 8:15 PM
Hello. I am Portuguese and I am graduate in primary school teacher, and I would Like to practice in London. How can I di? Thanks
Diana Novais - 3-Sep-12 @ 12:23 PM
Hello. I´m graduate im primary scholl teacher, and I would like to pratice in UK . How can I do? Thanks
Di - 3-Sep-12 @ 12:21 PM
I would like to know what is the minimum qualification of a foreign language teacher in a school since I find very few schools have qualified foreign language teachers. My child who will be going to class VI has to opt for one language Sanskrit / German / French / .... Most of the children prefer european languages. I wonder I have to not only look for a better school but the one which has a competent faculty especially in foreign languages. Kindly guide
abida - 2-Sep-12 @ 6:32 AM
Hi. I´m graduate in pre-school teacher, and I want to practice in UK, to improve my english and at the same time to teach spanish if is possible. Where can I find a school to do it? Are there schools thar look for spanish language teachers? Thanks
María - 6-Aug-12 @ 2:52 PM
Hi, iam an arabic and english teacher at the same time, I would like to teach arabic language in a foreing county for non native.
souso69 - 8-May-12 @ 3:53 PM
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