Professor Paul Miller

The recruitment of overseas trained teachers (OTTs) in England has seemingly disappeared from the policy radar despite their large numbers, continuing impact on primary and secondary education, and the ongoing second wave of teacher migration that started in 2014. OTTs continue to contribute to stability and continuity of provision in primary and secondary schools. From a qualitative study on ‘A day in the life of an overseas trained teacher’, this article examines (a) strategies used by OTTs to cope in their daily working lives and (b) teaching experience of OTTs in England compared with their teaching experiences in their countries of origin. The findings suggest that whereas all OTTs are ‘surviving and coping’ with the demands of their jobs, they do not appear to be ‘thriving and flourishing’. This is against the background of a racialized education and migration policy context that grants exclusions from undertaking UK Qualified Teacher Status to teachers from White, industrialized countries, but not for OTTs from non-White, non-industrialized countries. Through personal agency and a strong sense of self (or their ‘situated identity’), OTTs navigate complex institutional and regulatory hurdles in order to survive and cope. The article concludes that the education system, school governors and school leaders can do more to ensure all teachers thrive and flourish, and not just some.

Read the paper