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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 3 March 2021

Dubai's private schools inundated with CVs as teachers look to escape home lockdowns

One recruitment company received thousands of applications for just a few dozen jobs – even as some schools trim salary packages

Simon Crane of Brighton College Dubai says the number of teachers applying for jobs is significantly higher than last year. Courtesy: Brighton College Dubai
Simon Crane of Brighton College Dubai says the number of teachers applying for jobs is significantly higher than last year. Courtesy: Brighton College Dubai

Schools in Dubai recorded a sharp rise in the number of job applications from teachers in recent months.

Despite the recent surge in coronavirus cases, the city's reputation as a safe destination played a role in attracting interest from abroad, headmasters said.

Brighton College Dubai had a 50 per cent increase in applications compared with what it would normally see at this time of year from teachers looking to join after the summer.

We have had thousands of applications for a few dozen positions

Clare Turnbull

“We have seen a surge of interest in the last few weeks,” said Simon Crane, headmaster at Brighton College Dubai, who is hiring for the new academic year in September 2021.

“I would say we have had at least 50 per cent more applications than this time last year.

“With everything going on with lockdowns around the world, Dubai remains an attractive place to live and has been fully open.

“It’s a combination of how the UAE has managed the crisis with the country’s approach to teaching that has seen this surge."

The school received job applications from all over the world, but most are from the UK, which is the curriculum that Brighton follows.

“We are a British school so it stands to reason most of the interest has been from there,” he said.

“There have been mass lockdowns in the UK, which has not been the case in the UAE.”

Garrett O’Dowd from Teach and Explore, a recruitment company for teachers, said more were looking to move to the Emirates despite pressure on salaries.

“Schools in the UAE can be more selective about who they take on from overseas,” Mr O’Dowd said.

The surge in applications comes at a time when many schools have reduced the pay packages for new teachers because of the pandemic, he said.

“Last year, a lot of people pulled out of teaching abroad when Covid-19 hit. You are basically getting two years of applications in one,” he said.

“The schools will be very conscious they can get a similar standard of teacher for less than what they used to pay.

“But young teachers will also know they are getting a better lifestyle than they could at home, that is tax free as well.

“With the UAE adopting the blended model of teaching – online as well as in schools – people have seen life here is a little more structured than in their own countries.”

Clare Turnbull, head of prep at Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai, which is scheduled to open in September, also said applications for teaching positions were significantly higher than expected.

“We have had thousands of applications for a few dozen positions. It is very exciting and daunting at the same time,” Ms Turnbull said.

“When I speak to candidates, they say the UAE is managing things really well compared with other countries.

“They also mention the country has long held a reputation for taking a forward approach to education.”


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Experienced teachers in physics, computers and foreign languages are among the most in demand at the moment, said Maryssa O’Connor, principal of Gems Wellington International School, Dubai.

“Covid-19 has caused disruption in schools across the globe. Supporting teacher training and newly qualified teachers in these circumstances has been challenging,” she said.

"So we may see a focus on enhanced professional development for those teachers entering the profession in the next few years.

“We will see a new skill set emerging as teachers embrace educational technology and introduce new and exciting strategies for learning in the post-Covid era.”

Updated: January 15, 2021 03:03 PM


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