What’s the best time of the year to arrive in the UK?


Complete NZ Teacher registration in UK

Your friendly Australian & New Zealand Candidate Manager

My name is Patrick Kearns, and I am the Australasian Regional Manager (a long way of saying I help manage the employment of Kiwi teachers to the UK) for Prospero Teaching. Today I am addressing the FAQ

What’s the best time of year to arrive in the UK?”

The answer to this question, in short, is: “It all depends!”

The key factors that ultimately decide when an Australian or NZ teacher chooses to arrive in the UK are:

  • Budget – How much money have you have set aside for your trip?
  • Holidays – Do you intend to head straight to the UK, or do you want to travel beforehand?
  • Time of year – Do you intend arriving at the start of the academic year, part-way through the academic year, or in the school holidays?
  • Paperwork – How long does it take to compile all the necessary documentation required?
  • Role type – Are you looking to start a full-time role, or initially undertake some relief teaching?


This is a key consideration when contemplating when you should head to the UK. I will look to write a whole blog on ‘Budgets’ in the near future, however the simple message is to plan in advance! Generally speaking, the major upfront costs that candidates face before leaving are:

  • Cost of flight: a one way ticket from Sydney to London is circa. $AUD 650-700, and Auckland to London circa. NZD 700-850 (based on an economy flight leaving on the 21/02/2017).
  • Cost of Visa (and associated health charge): The Youth Mobility Visa (£230) + UK Ancestry Visa (£405) are the most popular visa types for AUSNZ candidates. You will also need to show a certain amount of savings (the equivalent of £1,890) at the time you apply for your Youth Mobility Visa. A savings requirement also applies to the UK Ancestry Visa.

The costs on arrival:

  • Accommodation: A typical room in a flat in London, for example, can cost anywhere from £500-850 + per month (bills usually included). Combine this with a two week bond, and a month’s advanced rent and you soon appreciate the upfront costs involved!

Key tip: Do some research online in regards to the weekly cost of living in the UK (in order to establish a monthly budget). If you are coming to start work straight away I still suggest you arriving with a buffer of 4-5 weeks savings (this is after the cost of Visas, flights and accommodation have been taken into account !)

Holidays/Time of the year

For teachers, deciding when to holiday / travel is largely dictated by the school holidays. The school holidays in the UK are structured differently to that of Australia and New Zealand.

The Academic Year in the UK starts in September each year. There are three main terms, each around 12 weeks in duration. The first term runs from September to around the 20th of December. The second term starts in early January and finishes early-April. The third, and final, term starts in mid-April and finishes in mid-July. From around the 20th of July through to the start of September schools in the UK observe their 6 week summer holiday.

Key tip: If you require work straight away, avoid arriving in July-August as this is when schools are either winding down for the end of year, or are shut for the school holidays. However, if you are planning to start work in September, and want to travel, then arriving in July/August is the perfect time to experience a European Summer!


Inevitably, making the move over to the UK requires candidates to complete a certain amount of paperwork. Usually, most of the paperwork can be comfortably completed within a three month time frame! Usually, the Visa application takes the longest time. Processing times for the Youth Mobility Visa and Ancestry Visa usually takes around thirty days. Receiving your Australian/NZ police check, waiting for qualifications to be certified and applying for your UK police check (DBS form) also take time, but can be achieved within the three months.

Key Tip: Start to get an awareness of the eligibility criteria for your particular Passport/Visa ASAP. You will need to have everything in place before you apply. For example, you need to be able to show evidence of the equivalent of £1,890 savings at the time that you apply for your youth mobility Visa.

Role type

Established teaching agencies, such as Prospero Teaching, are able to offer candidates three main types of work: permanent roles, long-term supply roles, and daily supply work (‘supply’ is the UK word for relief teaching). Permanent roles are usually offered for September starts, and sometimes for January starts. Long-term supply roles (blocks of full-time work)  e.g. 2-3 month maternity post, are offered all-year round, as are Prospero’s  Guaranteed Paid Supply Teaching Contacts – these contracts guarantee teachers five days of relief teaching each week of term. If we don’t find you work, you still get your full rate of pay — guaranteed! (For more information on role, click here).

Key Tip: If you want a permanent full-time role to start in September, get in contact with us as early as January, and plan to arrive into the UK no later than mid-August. If however, you want the flexibility to start work at any time in the school year, then get in contact with us about one of our Guaranteed Paid Supply Teaching Contracts.


Teaching in the UK is a fantastic opportunity that must be experienced! Choosing ‘when to arrive’ usually depends on a few key factors: your budget, the time of the year (the school terms), paperwork, holidays and your preferred role. As always, the AUSNZ team are on hand to answer any questions you may have and to share their own insights and experience.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Further Reading:




To get in contact:

Email: ausnz@prosperoteaching.com

To see the type of support and professional development offered by Prospero Teaching when you arrive in the UK, take a look at our CPD Calendar. If you’re nervous about moving to England, don’t fuss, because Prospero Teaching runs termly induction days for international teachers in the UK!