Newly Qualified Teacher: International Education Explained

The term ‘Newly Qualified Teacher’ (NQT) refers to an individual who has recently completed their initial teacher training and is in the first year of their teaching career. This period is often seen as a continuation of their training, with additional support and guidance provided to help them transition into their new role. In the context of international education, an NQT may be teaching in a different country to where they trained, and may be working in an international school or teaching English as a foreign language.

International education, on the other hand, is a broad term that encompasses a variety of educational approaches and models that are global in nature. This can include international schools, programmes and curriculums that are designed to be internationally recognised, and teaching and learning practices that promote intercultural understanding and global citizenship. For an NQT, working in international education can provide a unique and enriching professional experience, but it can also present a range of challenges and considerations.

Understanding the NQT Year

The NQT year is a critical period in a teacher’s career. It is a time of significant learning and development, where new teachers are expected to put the skills and knowledge they have gained during their initial teacher training into practice. During this year, NQTs are typically provided with a reduced teaching load, allowing them more time to plan lessons, reflect on their practice, and engage in professional development activities. They are also assigned a mentor or experienced teacher who can provide support and guidance.

However, the NQT year is also a time of considerable challenge. New teachers are often faced with high expectations and a heavy workload, and may experience stress and uncertainty as they navigate their new role. This can be particularly true for those working in international education, where they may also be dealing with cultural differences, language barriers, and the challenges of living and working in a foreign country.

Support for NQTs

Support for NQTs during their first year of teaching is crucial. This can take many forms, from formal mentoring and coaching to informal support from colleagues and school leaders. Many schools also provide a structured induction programme for NQTs, which can include regular meetings with a mentor, observations and feedback on teaching practice, and opportunities for professional development and learning.

Support for NQTs in international education can also include additional resources and guidance to help them understand and navigate the unique context in which they are working. This might include cultural awareness training, language classes, or support with practical issues such as finding accommodation or dealing with visa requirements.

Assessment and Progression

During the NQT year, new teachers are typically assessed against a set of professional standards or competencies. These assessments are usually based on observations of teaching practice, discussions with the NQT and their mentor, and evidence of professional development and learning. The aim of these assessments is not only to ensure that the NQT is meeting the required standards, but also to identify areas for further development and support.

In the context of international education, the assessment of NQTs may also take into account their ability to work effectively in an international setting. This might include their intercultural competence, their ability to teach an international curriculum, or their ability to support students who are learning in a second language.

International Education: An Overview

International education is a broad and diverse field that encompasses a range of educational approaches and models. At its core, international education is about preparing students to live and work in a globalised world. This involves not only teaching them about different cultures and global issues, but also developing their intercultural competence and their ability to think critically and creatively about the world around them.

For teachers, working in international education can provide a unique and enriching professional experience. It can offer opportunities to work with diverse groups of students, to teach internationally recognised curriculums, and to develop new skills and competencies. However, it can also present a range of challenges, from dealing with cultural differences and language barriers, to navigating the complexities of an international school system.

International Schools

International schools are a key part of the international education landscape. These are schools that are located outside of their home country and cater primarily to expatriate students, although they may also accept local students. International schools typically offer an international curriculum, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), and teach in English or another international language.

For NQTs, working in an international school can provide a unique opportunity to gain experience in a different educational context, to develop intercultural competence, and to build a global professional network. However, it can also present challenges, such as dealing with cultural differences, adapting to a new curriculum, and managing the practicalities of living and working abroad.

International Curriculums

International curriculums are designed to be globally recognised and to prepare students for a globalised world. They typically have a strong focus on intercultural understanding, global citizenship, and critical and creative thinking. Examples of international curriculums include the International Baccalaureate (IB), the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), and the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).

For NQTs, teaching an international curriculum can provide an opportunity to develop new skills and competencies, and to gain experience in a globally recognised educational approach. However, it can also require a significant amount of learning and adaptation, particularly for those who have trained in a different educational system.

Challenges and Considerations for NQTs in International Education

While working in international education can provide a range of opportunities for NQTs, it can also present a number of challenges and considerations. These can include cultural differences, language barriers, and the practicalities of living and working abroad. It is important for NQTs to be aware of these challenges and to seek support and guidance where necessary.

One of the key challenges for NQTs in international education is dealing with cultural differences. This can include differences in educational practices and expectations, as well as broader cultural differences that can impact on teaching and learning. NQTs may need to adapt their teaching style and approach to suit the cultural context in which they are working, and to develop intercultural competence to effectively navigate these differences.

Language Barriers

Language barriers can also be a significant challenge for NQTs in international education. While English is often the language of instruction in international schools, NQTs may also need to communicate with colleagues, parents, and students who speak different languages. This can require a degree of language proficiency, as well as skills in intercultural communication.

In addition to these challenges, NQTs in international education may also need to deal with the practicalities of living and working abroad. This can include finding accommodation, dealing with visa requirements, and navigating a new and unfamiliar environment. It is important for NQTs to seek support and guidance in dealing with these practical issues, and to be prepared for the challenges and opportunities that living and working abroad can bring.

Professional Development and Career Progression

For NQTs in international education, professional development and career progression can be key considerations. Many international schools and organisations offer opportunities for professional development, such as training courses, workshops, and conferences. These can provide NQTs with the opportunity to develop new skills and competencies, to learn from experienced international educators, and to build a global professional network.

In terms of career progression, working in international education can provide a range of opportunities. NQTs may have the opportunity to take on leadership roles, to work in a variety of educational contexts, and to gain experience in teaching internationally recognised curriculums. However, it is also important for NQTs to consider their long-term career goals and to seek advice and guidance on how to achieve these within the context of international education.


In conclusion, the journey of a Newly Qualified Teacher in the realm of international education is one of immense learning, growth, and adaptation. It presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges that require not only a solid foundation in teaching practices but also a deep understanding of cultural nuances, language proficiency, and a global perspective on education.

With the right support, guidance, and professional development opportunities, NQTs can navigate these challenges and make the most of the opportunities that international education offers. As they embark on this journey, they are not only shaping their own professional paths but also contributing to the broader field of international education and the development of globally minded learners.

Take the Next Step in Your International Teaching Career with IPGCE

Are you an NQT looking to expand your horizons in international education? IPGCE is here to support your journey towards becoming a globally recognized educator. Our International Postgraduate Certificate in Education (iPGCE) is tailored to enhance your qualifications, increase your chances of securing international teaching positions, and propel your career forward. By joining the UK’s #1 Teacher Training Course, you’ll gain access to a vast professional network, deepen your understanding of global education systems, and enjoy the flexibility of balancing your professional development with your current teaching role. Don’t let stringent qualifications or limited advancement opportunities hold you back. Join the UK’s #1 Teacher Training Course today and become part of a community that values your growth and success in the international education landscape.

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