Deciding where in London to teach
London can be an exciting place to work as a teacher; it’s such a dynamic city and there are so many opportunities for those with the right qualifications. This is a huge urban area and each of the 32 London boroughs have their own character.
One of the most common questions teachers have when they consider a career in London is where exactly they should teach. Here are some of the things you might want to consider when making this decision:
Areas of London
There are a number of different ways to divide London into areas, and it can often be confusing as the government have changed their official system several times.
The simplest approach to divide greater London into two parts using the River Thames as the dividing line – so this would mean that everything north of the river would be classified as North London, and everything south is South London.
It is more common to divide the city into at least four areas – north, south, east and west. Let’s talk through each area so you can decide what might be right for you.
Teaching in North London
North London includes boroughs such as Camden, Islington, Enfield, Brent, Harrow, and Haringey. This area has a reputation for being more prosperous than the rest of the city but, as is typical across much of London, there is a huge mix.
Schools in North London
The standard of education in North London is generally high, and it’s a great area to aim for if you’re a teacher with a little experience. There are usually far more primary schools than secondary schools in these boroughs.
For example, Camden has 42 primary schools, 10 secondary schools, and 8 special schools – incidentally, this area is credited with being the best location in England for primary education by an OFSTED report in 2012.
Cost of Living
On the whole, the cost of living tends to be higher in North London due to the cost of accommodation. It is possible to pick up reasonably priced accommodation in some parts of North London (e.g. Islington).
However, some teachers find it cheaper to live elsewhere in the city and travel to their school every day – in fact this is the reality for most inner London workers! Most of this part of London is well-served by the Tube and local buses, so even if you do live a while away coming up with a simple route to work won’t be a problem.
Teaching in East London
The East of London includes boroughs such as Hackney, Newham, Barking, and Tower Hamlets. The East End of London has a very rich history because this is where new immigrants traditionally stayed when they first arrived. On a slightly more sinister, but equally as interesting note, it is also where Jack the Ripper and the Kray Twins made their names!
Schools in East London
There are plenty of opportunities for teaching jobs in East London– for example, Newham has 68 state-funded primary schools and 17 secondary schools, and Tower Hamlets has 63 primary schools and 18 secondary schools.
Although some schools in this part of the city are dealing with challenges such as lack of resources, they are excellent options for anyone with strong determination and a creative mind.
Cost of Living
The East End of London is, generally speaking, the cheapest place to live in the city and is renowned for its creativity and diversity. There is an abundance of cheap accommodation if you take the time to look properly, and plenty of good public transport options including the Tube and buses, which makes getting into central London relatively easy.
Teaching in South London
South London includes boroughs such as Lewisham, Southwark, Bromley, and Lambeth. This part of the city can feel less busy, and there are some particularly beautiful areas such as Greenwich and Blackheath which are very popular places to live.
Schools in South London
Generally speaking, there are fewer schools per borough in South London when compared to other parts of the city. Lewisham is a good option for secondary school teachers because this is one of the few places where state-funded secondary schools outnumber primary schools (14 to 8).
Cost of Living
The best areas for cheap accommodation in South London include Southwark and Lewisham; however, this part of the city is not as well-served by the Underground but there is a good mainline rail service that connects with the underground. There is also a reliable bus service for most of South London.
Teaching in West London
West London includes places such as Hounslow, Hammersmith, Ealing, Kensington & Chelsea, and Hillingdon so the choice is bountiful! Some of the most exclusive areas can be found in this part of the city, as well as some of the most desirable properties.
Schools in West London
Ealing is probably the best option for teachers looking for primary school positions: there are 33 stated-funded primary schools and 11 independent primary schools. On the other hand, Hounslow has more state-funded secondary schools (15) than primary schools.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in West London varies a great deal depending on location – Kensington can be very expensive, but Ealing is much more reasonable. Most of this part of the city is close to a Tube station and there are several reliable bus services, so travelling around London is fairly easy.