The Best Way To Travel And Teach In The UK

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You’ve probably heard of teaching English as a foreign language, or TEFL as we usually call it. You might know a friend of a friend who’s teaching English in Thailand or Turkey or Tunisia. Maybe you’ve even thought about teaching in Spain or Sri Lanke or Siciliy.

But did you know you can teach English as a foreign language in the US, the UK and Australia? 

Many people mistakenly believe that TEFL can only be done in non-English speaking countries. In fact, there is a huge demand for TEFL teachers in countries where English is spoken as a first or official language.

The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa all have big TEFL markets, because students want to immerse themselves in the language while they’re studying it. 

And which country would be at the top of any student’s list? The UK, of course! Here are the best ways to travel and teach in the UK.

Is there a demand for TEFL teachers in the UK?

Absolutely yes!

A 2018 survey found that 550,000 international students come to the UK each year to learn English, creating almost 20,000 jobs in the ELT sector – many of which are teaching positions! 

Interestingly, in 2022, the top source markets for international students in the UK included Saudi Arabia, Italy and Spain. But students come from Kuwait to South Korea to Ukraine. All over the world!

How can I teach English in the UK?

Does the thought of teaching in the old smoke of London excite you? Or maybe you want to work close to Granny Nora in Norwich. If you’re interested in teaching jobs in the UK then you’ve come to the right place.

In the UK, there are a few options available for TEFL teachers: language schools, summer camps and universities. 

Each option comes with its own pluses and minuses. Which route you choose will depend on what you want from a teaching job. 

If you’re happy to work hard and are trying to save money, then you should look into the private language schools. In UK language schools there are usually plenty of students, which means a need for teachers. Especially teachers who are willing to work long hours! 

TEFL teachers working in a language school are usually paid an hourly rate so the more hours you work the more money you’ll make!

If you are already a fair way down your TEFL journey and are looking for a position which will challenge you professionally then you should try find a job at a university. 

As you can imagine, many foreign students want to study at a British university but they don’t have the language skills necessary to survive the academic environment. Many universities offer a foundation year for foreign students so that they can improve their English language proficiency as well as prepare themselves to study in an English-speaking environment. 

As a TEFL teacher this will mean teaching General English but also English for Academic Purposes.


The Best Ways to Travel and Teach in the UK

But, if you would like to live and work in the UK so that you can explore the region (and get paid to do it!), then you should definitely try and get onto a summer camp.

What do you teach on a summer camp?

Summer camps are run by specialised companies. International students sign up for a week or two or three or even up to eight weeks to be on the camp. These students can be Young Learners but are mostly teens who are spending their school holidays on camp. 

There are different types of TEFL teachers on a summer camp:

  • Some TEFL teachers will live off-site and teach EFL lessons for the morning and then take part in the activities during the day.
  •  Other TEFL teachers are residential, meaning they have the same responsibilities but they are given room and board on the camp site. 
  • Still others are pastoral, meaning they stay with the campers themselves, so they have added responsibilities relating to meals and bedtimes.

Usually on summer camps, teachers teach two or three lessons in the morning with different groups of learners. These are General English, mostly conversation-based but of course this varies from camp to camp. The afternoons are spent playing sports, doing arts and crafts or music activities, or taking part in planned activities.

Usually there are Activity Leaders who run the extra-mural side of the summer camps, but teachers are encouraged to participate and may even be required to commit to a certain number of hours.

Read more: What’s The Difference Between Teaching Teens Versus Young Learners

How can I travel while on a summer camp?

The beauty of summer camps is that they are usually in picturesque holiday destinations. In the UK, you are likely to be placed on a summer camp in Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, Manchester, Nottingham, Canterbury and Edinburgh. Summer camps offer you the opportunity to live in a part of the UK you might otherwise not have known.

What’s more, on summer camps there are days dedicated to excursions and sightseeing. You might jump on a bus to visit the tourist sites of the city you are in. You might take a bus to a nearby town. Or you might spend the day at a local attraction. 

While you will be expected to be on duty for most of the outing, you will get to enjoy the outing yourself – for free of charge! Plus, you are guaranteed a couple of hours of time to yourself to have lunch or go for a quick shop.

Josef Clifford is a TTA alumnus. He found a post teaching on a summer camp in the Berkshire countryside in England. He describes his workday while on the camp:

“Lessons were meant to be fun and interactive, with students doing most of the talking. I was there as more of a guide, introducing a topic or grammar point and then getting them working in pairs or groups. Getting them talking was the key.

In the afternoon there were all kinds of activities, from sing-song to football to dodge ball to loom bracelet making. My first evening activity began with an intense game of Chubby Bunnies and ended in a full-blown food fight, although it was the staff who had most of the ammo!”

Image 2
Just another day at camp for TTA alumnus Josef.

How much can I earn as a TEFL teacher in the UK?

Working in a language school you’re usually paid an hourly rate rather than a salary. This rate is between £18 and £25, depending on your qualifications and experience. 

Working in an academic setting like a university pays more, but requires higher qualifications and more experience. Permanent positions at universities for EFL teachers pay from £20,000 to £40,000 a year.

Teaching on a summer camp you’ll be paid a weekly amount for the duration of your contract. It is based on the hours you work but is not an hourly rate. Salaries range from £400 to £550 a week, depending on your qualifications and experience, and camps are between four and six weeks long. 

Sound good? The next logical question is: How can I teach English as a foreign language in the UK?

Is TEFL recognised in the UK?

The good news is that yes, a TEFL qualification is recognised in the UK. TEFL teachers are in high demand in the UK so a degree in any field is preferred but not always needed, unless you need to apply for a work visa. But a TEFL qualification is an absolute must!

Read more: 5 Characteristics Of Summer Camp Teachers

If you’re considering teaching on a UK summer camp, sign up for a TEFL course and soon it could be you!



Good day
I have had extensive cross cultural experience teaching English as a TEFL teacher to university students, post graduates and variety of business English. (Corporate training)
I am a qualified LLB (law) gradure with a passion to share my knowledge of the language with others, I have 120hrs on line TEFL passing with high marks with a UK based company. I am a young at heart, healthy, energetic and in good physical form 60 yr old would like ti know if there where opportunities for me?

Guy Freegard, 10th February 2020

I have lived and taught in South Africa for 40 years and have just retired at 69. I have a B. A. Degree in English and Afrikaans and have taught both as a 2nd language and have a very good track record. I am still able and enthusiastic about teaching. I completed TEFL level 5 last year. I have a British passport and my daughter lives in England so I would love to relocate. Would I still be employable?

Cathy van Gent, 10th February 2020

Hi can you foward me a list of summer j jobs . I have just finished my tefel course.

Regards Ravi Chetty

Ravi Chetty, 4th February 2020

Good day

I’m Refiloe Molisiwa I would like to find out the requirements to teach in th UK, I’ve got a tefl level 5 through The TEFL Academy.

Thank you
Refiloe Molisiwa

Refiloe Moliwa, 30th January 2020

Hi, I would like to find out if it is possible to teach in the UK with only the TEFL level 5 certificate or do you need a B. Ed to qualify to work in the UK? I am currently a part time student busy with my B. Ed intermediate phase and also busy completing my Level 5 TEFL course with you guys, so I would just like to get more information please?

Johan Boshoff, 30th January 2020

I am really keen to English in the UK, as I have family who live there. I would even work as a teachers assistant.
How do I find tefl jobs like this for me? I unfortunately do not have a bachelor’s degree but I have experience as a locum teacher in Geography and Afrikaans. And loads of other work experience.

Tasha Naidoo, 30th January 2020

I am interested in teaching English at the summer camp in the UK, I got an advanced level TEFL certificate from the TEFL Academy of the UK, I am from the RA, Yerevan

Armine Avagyan, 29th January 2020

How do one teach in the UK if you need a work visa? Does some of the opportunities sponsoring the visas?

Jeanette Gavera, 29th January 2020

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