Safer Recruitment Practices for International Schools

In the ever-evolving landscape of international education, ensuring the safety and well-being of students is paramount. This week Compass attended the Association of British Schools Overseas annual Conference in Richmond which hosted the launch of the British International Schools Safeguarding Coalition (BISSC). This new Coalition will promote and develop best safeguarding and safer recruitment practice across the British International Schools sector: such a worthwhile initiative.

At Compass, implementing robust and effective recruitment practices has always been a priority for us and something we talk about regularly with the international schools we work with as well as the teachers we recruit.

International schools, often catering to diverse student populations, must go the extra mile to guarantee a secure environment for learning. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the key elements of safer recruitment practices for international schools, exploring why they are essential and providing practical insights for implementation.

Why Safer Recruitment Matters

Creating a safe learning environment begins with the recruitment process. Safer recruitment practices are designed to ensure risks are mitigated and to safeguard the well-being of students, fostering an atmosphere conducive to learning and personal development.

International schools perhaps face distinct challenges compared to their domestic counterparts. Dealing with a diverse student body, often comprising students from different cultural backgrounds, requires a nuanced approach to recruitment. Cultural sensitivity, language proficiency, and an understanding of international child protection standards are integral components of safer recruitment in this context.

Key Components of Safer Recruitment include:

  1. Thorough Background Checks

Before hiring any staff member, international schools must conduct comprehensive background checks. At Compass, we support schools with this service ensuring references of candidates are sought and verified as well as thorough employment history verification. This also includes criminal record checks. It is essential to collaborate with international agencies to ensure the accuracy and completeness of these checks, considering the global nature of the school community.

  1. Cultural Sensitivity Training

Given the diverse student population in international schools, cultural sensitivity is crucial. All staff members, especially those in direct contact with students, should undergo training to understand and respect different cultural norms and practices. This helps in creating an inclusive and harmonious learning environment.

  1. Child Protection Training

Staff members in international schools should receive thorough training on child protection policies and procedures. This includes recognizing signs of abuse, reporting mechanisms, and understanding the school’s commitment to maintaining a safe environment for all students. Regular refresher courses should be conducted to keep staff members informed about evolving best practices.

  1. Interview Techniques

The interview process is a critical stage in safer recruitment. Implementing behavioral and situational questions can provide insights into a candidate’s approach to various scenarios. Additionally, panel interviews involving multiple staff members can help in evaluating a candidate from different perspectives, ensuring a comprehensive assessment.

  1. Transparent Communication

Open and transparent communication is essential throughout the recruitment process. Candidates should be informed about the school’s commitment to child protection and the measures in place to ensure a safe environment. This sets clear expectations from the beginning and reinforces the school’s dedication to safety.

The Role of Technology

In the digital age, technology can play a pivotal role in enhancing safer recruitment practices. Recruitment agencies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) more and more that can streamline the recruitment process, ensuring that all necessary checks and procedures are systematically conducted. Additionally, video conferencing tools facilitate remote interviews, enabling schools to access a broader pool of candidates while maintaining a rigorous selection process.


In conclusion, prioritizing safer recruitment practices is non-negotiable for recruitment agencies and international schools committed to providing a secure and nurturing learning environment. By integrating thorough background checks, cultural sensitivity training, child protection education, effective interview techniques, and transparent communication, we can significantly reduce the risk of compromising student safety.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Why are safer recruitment practices crucial for international schools?

Safer recruitment practices are essential for international schools to ensure the safety and well-being of their diverse student population. By implementing robust practices, schools can prevent the entry of individuals with harmful intentions and create a secure learning environment. Interntaional teacher recruitment agencies like Compass will support you with this.

2. What role does technology play in enhancing safer recruitment practices?

Technology, including applicant tracking systems and video conferencing tools, can streamline the recruitment process for international schools. These tools facilitate efficient background checks, remote interviews, and overall process optimization.

3. What steps can international schools take to ensure transparent communication during the recruitment process?

To ensure transparent communication, international schools should clearly communicate their commitment to child protection, inform candidates about safety measures in place, and set clear expectations from the beginning of the recruitment process.


Introducing our international teacher recruitment team

Compass Education was first founded in 2011 by Tom Arnold, and through his vision, quickly became a leading international teacher recruitment agency. Today, we remain a small, family-run business that gets to know our clients and candidates to ensure that we continue to deliver outstanding service.

With that in mind, it seems only fair, that you get the opportunity to get to know us too. In this blog, we will introduce our consultants, so you can learn a little about the team working hard on your behalf.

Name: Kathryn Kirk

Role: Director (& Owner)

How long have you been working with Compass?  2 years

What are your primary responsibilities? Managing the day-to-day running of Compass

What is your preferred method of communication (e.g., email, in-person, video call)? Video Call

What is one thing you hope to achieve as part of this team? I want to grow the team further and build on the excellent foundations already in place, whilst supporting the team as best I can. 

What is the greatest tip you can give to applicants that want to teach abroad? Research, research, research! Be as clear as you can about your expectations and ambitions, and follow your dreams! 

What is your favourite thing about your job? Interacting with schools and candidates and supporting them. Listening to the consultants report back on their work, and seeing the progress we make as a team.

Outside of work, I love spending time with my family, travelling and walking my dog. I am definitely more of a morning person, and to unwind I tend to put on my running shoes. I take my running quite seriously these days, and you will often find me training for a triathlon. 

I am a strong believer that life is a journey and not a destination, and my favourite quote is: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou. 

Name: Heather Thompson

Role: Recruitment Consultant

How long have you been working with Compass?  8 years

What are your primary responsibilities? The recruitment of excellent international teachers

What is your preferred method of communication (e.g., email, in-person, video call)? Video Call

What is one thing you hope to achieve as part of this team? I hope that my experience both as a recruitment specialist and also as someone that has relocated many times can benefit others. My husband is an international headteacher, so I have a wealth of relevant knowledge and help to impart.

What is the greatest tip you can give to applicants that want to teach abroad? Be open-minded and flexible. 

What is your favourite thing about your job? Placing someone in a job they are thrilled to have been offered. 

I am another morning person, who loves spending time with my family and walking the dog. To unwind, you often find me cycling or tinkering in the garden. I also love meeting friends and new people, which bodes well for my line of work.

Name: Honoria Arnold

Role: Administrative Consultant

How long have you been working with Compass?  13 years

What are your primary responsibilities? I am first in line when responding to candidate registration. This usually involves screening newly registered candidates, maintaining the candidate database, uploading new job adverts and maintaining the vacancy website.

What is your preferred method of communication (e.g., email, in-person, video call)? Video Call

What is one thing you hope to achieve as part of this team? My main goal is maintaining an excellent database, to help the recruitment team match the right candidates with the right international teaching jobs.

What is the greatest tip you can give to applicants that want to teach abroad? Seize the opportunity of a position that suits you and your profile.

What is your favourite thing about your job? Being involved in helping dreams come true.

A fun fact about me, that not many know, is that a photo of me was featured in the Beatles Museum in Liverpool. To find out why, you will have to register! To unwind after a busy day or recruitment season, I will often snuggle up and watch a good murder mystery. Always open to a recommendation or two. The motto that drives me is: “To do little things well.”

Name: Nicola Hemingway

Role: Senior Consultant

How long have you been working with Compass?  A year (in September)

What are your primary responsibilities? Recruiting brilliant international educators, and developing teacher & leadership recruitment.

What is your preferred method of communication (e.g., email, in-person, video call)? Video Call

What is one thing you hope to achieve as part of this team? To be able to work together to support international schools, their teachers and their leaders build the best educational teams possible. 

What is the greatest tip you can give to applicants that want to teach abroad? Take time at the start of the search, to look into locations and the differing types of schools available. This is where an education consultant can be invaluable as they will be able to provide you with the information needed to support you in making the decision that is right for you and your career and life aspirations.

What is your favourite thing about your job? Hearing updates from candidates about how much they are enjoying their new careers and country.

I am definitely a morning person, especially in the summertime. Outside of work, I particularly enjoy travel and cookery and especially enjoy combining the two and learning about a country via their local food! The quote that motivates me is from Jane Goodall – “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

We work very closely with international schools and international teachers and leaders. For our clients, which include some of the best international schools in the world, we work alongside you, to best understand your needs and provide you with the best-fit teachers and leaders.  For our candidates, we take pride in dedicating as much time as possible to supporting you on your international teaching journey and finding the right role for you, in the right school.

As a leading education recruitment consultancy, Compass has been successfully supporting international schools since 2011. With a wealth of experience in education and recruitment, our dedicated team of consultants ensures that we meet the challenges of fast-paced teacher recruitment and navigate the intricacies of leadership appointments. 

Get in touch, if you would like to work with us.

We would love to hear from you.


Tips for tackling the international school job application

Your curriculum vitae or resume is most likely to be the first impression you make on potential employers, so when applying for an international school job, it is essential that it showcases your skills, experience, and qualifications in the best possible light. But with so many job seekers vying for the same positions, it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd. That’s why in this blog, we’ll be sharing some essential tips and tricks to help you improve your resume and increase your chances of landing your dream job. Whether you’re just starting your career or looking to take the next step, these tips will help you create a resume that gets noticed and sets you apart from other applicants. So, let’s dive in and learn how to make your resume shine!

As a teacher applying to international schools, there are several key items you should include in your resume to make it appealing to potential employers. Here are some suggestions:

Professional experience

Start with your professional experience, which should be listed in reverse chronological order (most recent job first). Include your job title, the name of the school or organisation you worked for, the dates of employment, and a brief description of your duties and accomplishments.

Educational background

List your highest degree earned and any other relevant coursework or certifications. If you have any specialised training or certifications, be sure to mention them here.

Languages spoken

In the international school community, being able to communicate in multiple languages is often seen as a valuable asset. Make sure to include any languages you speak fluently or at a conversational level.

Teaching Philosophy 

Many international schools are looking for teachers who are passionate about teaching and have a strong teaching philosophy. Include a brief statement about your teaching philosophy and what you believe are the most important aspects of teaching.

Experience teaching international curricula 

If you have experience teaching international curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), or Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), be sure to highlight this experience in your resume.

Technology skills

In today’s increasingly digital world, international schools are looking for teachers who are comfortable using technology in the classroom. Make sure to highlight any technology skills or experience you have, such as using educational software or online learning platforms.

Cross-cultural experience 

International schools value teachers who have experience working in cross-cultural settings. If you have lived or worked abroad, have experience teaching students from diverse cultural backgrounds, or have experience of immersing yourself in other cultures on home soil – be sure to mention this in your resume.

Professional development

Show that you are committed to continuous learning and improvement by listing any professional development courses or workshops you have attended, whether these are through your current job or under your own initiative. This will demonstrate that you are willing to adapt to new teaching methods and stay up-to-date with the latest trends in education.

Community spirit

Hiring managers at international schools are looking for applicants that will be able to settle into life in a new host country, teaching abroad is not for everyone, so don’t be shy about hobbies that might help you integrate with the wider community. 

Once you have your framework, and are happy with the content, there are two more things to consider. 

  • Have you tailored it to the school in question? 

If you really want a role, you must be prepared to show it in your application. Reflect the school’s own language in your resume and covering letter, ensure that your teaching philosophy aligns with theirs, demonstrate your experience with their curricula, show an interest in the culture of the host country. Speak directly to your future Headteacher. 

  • Check your spelling and grammar.

There is nothing more infuriating for a hiring manager, then finding a candidate that has all of the appropriate experience, on a resume littered with obvious mistakes. You can ask a trusted friend or colleague to check it for you, or you can turn to one of the many tools available online instead: Grammarly, Language Tool, or Microsoft Word to name but a few.  

Your resume is the most important tool you have in your toolkit, particularly in the early stages of your job search. It’s your chance to showcase your skills, experience, and accomplishments, and to make a strong first impression with potential schools. They will also refer back to it throughout the interview process, so take your time to get it right. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this blog, you can improve your resume and increase your chances of landing your dream job teaching abroad. Remember to tailor your resume to each job you apply for, highlight your most relevant skills and experiences, and use clear and concise language to make your resume stand out. With a well-crafted resume and a commitment to continuous improvement, you can take your career to the next level and achieve your professional goals.

Don’t forget, the team here at Compass are here to help. If you are a qualified teacher who is interested in teaching abroad, then get in touch, we would love to hear from you. 

We would love to hear from you.


Global Citizenship Education

Preparing Students for Success in a Connected World

In today’s interconnected world, it is more important than ever for students to develop the skills and knowledge needed to be active and responsible global citizens. By incorporating global citizenship into the curriculum, we can prepare students to navigate the complex challenges of the 21st century and to make a positive impact on the world. A critical component of this includes helping students to develop a sense of empathy, respect, and responsibility for people from different cultures and backgrounds. In this blog, we’ll explore the value of global citizenship education and share some examples of how international schools successfully build it into their curriculum.

What is Global citizenship and where did it come from?

The idea of global citizenship is not a new one, it has its roots in ancient Greek philosophy, with the Greek philosopher Diogenes being credited with coining the term “cosmopolitan” in the 4th century BCE. The concept of cosmopolitanism emphasised the idea of shared humanity and the importance of recognising and respecting cultural diversity.

During the 20th century, the idea of global citizenship emerged in response to the growing interconnectedness of the world and the need for a more inclusive and collaborative approach to addressing global challenges. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, is often cited as a key milestone in the development of global citizenship, as it recognised the inherent dignity and worth of all human beings regardless of nationality, race, or gender.

Since then, the concept of global citizenship has gained increasing recognition and importance in international policy and education, with organisations such as UNESCO and the International Baccalaureate promoting global citizenship education as a means of building a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

Today, global citizenship refers to the idea that individuals have a responsibility to engage with the world beyond their own communities and to understand and act on global issues. It is the recognition that we are all interconnected and that our actions, both positive and negative, have an impact on the world around us. Global citizenship involves a sense of belonging to a larger community, beyond national borders, and a commitment to promoting the well-being of all people and the planet. Being a global citizen is not just about having knowledge of global issues but also taking responsibility and taking action to make a positive difference.

Why is global citizenship important to international schools?

Happily, global citizenship education fits very naturally into an international school setting. International schools often have a diverse student body representing many different countries and cultures. Promoting global citizenship is a common part of fostering a sense of community and belonging among their students, despite their differences. This can create a more inclusive and welcoming learning environment for all students, their families, and international school teachers as they settle in.

International schools often have a mission to prepare students for a globalised world. Teaching abroad prepares educators to easily incorporate global issues such as poverty, inequality, climate change, and human rights into lessons across different subjects. This helps students to develop a better understanding of these issues and their impact on the world. For some students, depending on their setting, they may be able to witness the impact of these issues first-hand, making them acutely aware of the interconnectedness of the world and their role in it. This can help prepare them to be active and responsible global citizens.

By promoting global citizenship, international schools can encourage students to take action on issues such as poverty, inequality, and climate change. Some might encourage community service as part of their curriculum, enabling students to develop a sense of responsibility and the skills and knowledge needed to make a positive impact on the world.

When you are teaching abroad at an international school, promoting intercultural understanding and respect is important. Global citizenship education insists that students learn about different cultures, traditions, and customs from around the world. This can help students develop empathy and respect for people from different backgrounds and promote intercultural understanding. Ultimately, this can help students become more effective communicators and collaborators in a global context.

Beyond the walls of your classroom, global citizenship can be encouraged through the safe use of technology to connect with other cultures. Students can use technology to connect with students from other countries and cultures, promoting intercultural communication and collaboration.

Above all else, it is important to encourage students to think critically about global issues and to consider different perspectives and solutions. This can help students develop a sense of agency and empower them to take action on issues they care about.

By building global citizenship into your curriculum, you can help prepare your students to become active and responsible global citizens who are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to make a positive impact on the world.

Global citizenship education is a powerful tool for preparing students to succeed in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. By incorporating global perspectives into the curriculum, we can help students develop empathy, respect, and understanding for people from different cultures and backgrounds, as well as the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to address complex global issues. Whether through service learning projects, cultural exchange programs, or interdisciplinary coursework, there are many ways to integrate global citizenship into the curriculum and inspire the next generation of global citizens. By doing so, we can empower our students to make a positive impact on the world and to become agents of change in their communities and beyond.



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