Eligibility criteria for the English Language Assistants programme vary depending on where you want to teach.

Below you can find information about the general programme and the further eligibility criteria that apply to specific countries. Please consult these resources carefully before submitting an application.

You will be eligible to apply if you:

Speak native-level English

You must be a native-level English speaker. We assess your English skills by reviewing your written application and your reference.

Meet the language requirements

Language requirements vary between countries. You do not need a formal language qualification - skills can be acquired through regular travel, private study or a course at a university language centre. 

  • China and Spain – no language skills required
  • All other countries – B1 in the country’s main language

Self-assess your language level against the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

We will assess your language skills using the information provided on your application. It is in your own best interest to hold the required language level. You will be expected to communicate and complete the necessary administration procedures in the language of your destination.

Hold a UK/Irish or European passport

You must hold a UK, Irish or other European Union (EU) passport to be eligible for the English Language Assistant programme.

Holders of a non-EU passport are not eligible for the programme.

Some countries (Canada, Chile, China and Italy) require applicants to hold a UK/Irish passport. Please check the individual country pages for more specific requirements. Only holders of a UK passport may apply to Argentina. Please check the individual country pages for more specific requirements.

Completed the majority of your secondary school education in the UK

You must have:

  • completed at least three years of your secondary school education (age 11/12-18) in the UK, and
  • obtained your GCSEs and A-levels (or equivalent qualifications) in the UK.

This will aid your ability to share your knowledge of UK culture and our education system with students, a part of your role.

There is one exception. If you completed your secondary school education outside of the UK, you would be eligible to apply, provided that:

  • you have a UK or Irish passport and
  • you are currently studying at a UK university and will have completed at least two years of study by the time you start your placement, or you have already graduated from a UK university.

Please note that higher education campuses located in non-UK countries or UK overseas countries and territories are not included.

Non-UK or Irish passport holders who completed their secondary education overseas, including at a British international school outside of the UK, are not eligible to apply to the programme.

Completed at least two years of university level study

You must have passed at least two years of university-level education by the time you start your assistantship to be eligible for the programme.

Applicants to China must have graduated from university with at least a bachelor’s degree, and have a certificate by mid-August 2020. Undergraduates are not eligible for an assistantship in China.


Are willing and eligible to apply for an International Child Protection Certificate (£75)

Once you receive a provisional offer of an assistantship from us, we will require you to apply for an International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC), which is a form of criminal record check. Do not apply for the ICPC until we instruct you to. This will cost approximately £75.00.

To apply for an ICPC you must have been a registered resident in the United Kingdom (excluding UK overseas countries and territories) for at least two years.

In line with our Child Protection Policy and our approach to safeguarding children, we cannot accept your application if you have any convictions, cautions, reprimand, warning, prosecutions or criminal proceedings for the offences outlined below:

  • a sexual or violence-related offence
  • any offence involving any type of harm (physical, emotional or sexual abuse) to a child or children.

We reserve the right to reject your application for any other offences. These will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, considering the following:

  • time since the offence(s) occurred
  • age at which the offence(s) was/were committed
  • pattern of behaviour e.g. repeated offences
  • disclosure or non-disclosure of the offence(s)
  • explanation of the circumstances of the offence(s)
  • classification and step down period of the offence according to the ACRO step-down model 
  • satisfactory university/employer/character references
  • motivation for the programme
  • employment history.

If you commit a criminal offence or are the subject of any criminal proceedings after you submit your application, you must inform us in writing as soon as possible. Failure to do so may lead to your application being withdrawn.

Further eligibility requirements

1. Teaching qualifications

You do not need a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification to apply. However, successful candidates for China will be required to complete a compulsory TEFL course prior to departure.

2. Flexibility

You must be flexible regarding your preferences (area, environment, age group etc) and be willing to accept any post that is offered.

For most countries, you will be able to give three area preferences, and preferences relating to the size of town you’d like to work in and the age group you’d like to teach. However, the number of posts in each area is limited and your preferences cannot be guaranteed.

We recommend that you look at the preferences for your country of application and research the areas available thoroughly before applying.

You must be available to complete the full period of your post, usually a full academic year. In Argentina, Austria and Germany, a limited number of six-month posts are available.

3. Support requirements

If you have any additional support requirements (for example, disabilities, medical conditions or dependent children), please provide as much information as possible in your application to enable us to find a post best suited to your needs.

We may contact you during the application process to discuss your specific needs and how we can accommodate them.

4. Maximum number of placements

You can be a language assistant through our programme a maximum of four times, regardless of whether the posts were in the same or different countries. Both consecutive and non-consecutive years will be counted.

Ready to apply?

Applications for 2020-21 are now open and will close 5 February 2020. Please make sure to read our application guidance carefully before beginning an application.


Country-specific eligibility requirements

Please see below for a brief summary of language requirements and age limits for each country:


Language Requirement (CEFF)

Age limit


Argentina B1  n/a UK only 
Austria B1  35 (pending number of applicants)  UK/Irish/EU
Belgium B1  35  UK/Irish/EU
Canada B1  35  UK or Irish only
Chile B1  n/a  UK or Irish only
China None  55  GRADUATES and UK/Irish passport holders only
Colombia B1

 Minimum 20

Maximum n/a

 UK/Irish/EU passport and have been educated in the UK (you cannot apply if you hold dual nationality with Colombia).

You must be studying/have studied languages, literature or Latin American studies at university level and have some teaching experience.

Ecuador B1  n/a  UK/Irish/EU
France B1  35  UK/Irish/EU
Germany B1  35  UK/Irish/EU
Italy B1   n/a  You must hold a UK or Irish passport
Mexico B1  30  UK/Irish/EU
Spain None  60  UK/Irish or EU passport other than Spanish
Switzerland (French-speaking) B1

 Minimum 20

Maximum 35

Switzerland (German-speaking) B1  Minimum 20

Maximum 35


Ready to apply? 

Applications for 2020-21 are now open. Click here if you are ready to apply. The submission deadline is Wednesday 5 February 2020 at 16.00 UK time for all countries.

The reference deadline is Wednesday 12 February 2020 at 23.50. Your referee will have one week to complete your reference form which will be automatically emailed when you click 'submit' on your application.