There are already 55,930 teachers living and working in the West Midlands, and there’s no shortage of reasons why. From the buzzing cities of Birmingham and Coventry through to the rural beauty of areas like Malvern Hills and the Wye Valley, there’s something for everyone.
The region is made up of the counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, and it sits almost in the dead centre of the country. This means it is well served by excellent road and rail transport links as well as Birmingham Airport for international travel.
We’ve spoken to those who call the region home and gathered important statistics about this exciting part of the country.
17.9 – Average number of pupils per teacher (the same as the national average).
11.3 per cent – The amount of schools reporting a vacancy or temporarily filled post (slightly below the national average of 11.9 per cent).
9.5 per cent – The amount of primary teachers leaving the profession (below the national average of 10.2 per cent).
10.6 per cent – The amount of secondary teachers leaving the profession (second lowest rate in the country).
24.2 per cent – The amount of teaching staff working part-time (close to the national average of 25.9 per cent).
Data taken from the Regional, LA and school tables: school workforce census 2017.
Cost of living
£195,399 – Average cost of a house in the region (around £50,000 below the national average for England of £244,567).
Data taken from the UK House Price Index January 2019.
£22,666 – Average annual cost of living per household (second lowest for England and £8,000 cheaper than London and the South East).
£11,881 – Income after annual household spend in Birmingham. Coventry is second, on £11,473.
Data taken from ABC Finance.
What’s it like to live and work in the West Midlands
We asked two teachers about their lives in the region.
Jude Hunton, deputy headteacher at Ashlawn School, Rugby:
“The West Midlands is a great place to live, providing you are not a seaside person! Despite being very landlocked, the transport links are excellent. You can get to London in an hour from where I live in Coventry and from Birmingham in about 25 minutes.
“There is beautiful countryside and historic sites, with Georgian, Victorian and even Elizabethan buildings, as well as several castles. There are good numbers of medium-sized cities and towns with unique qualities and easy transport links by rail and road.
“One important consideration for teachers is property prices; they aren’t cheap but they are affordable, which means you can own a home and still have a good quality of life.
“There are all types of settings to teach in, from world famous independents like Rugby School to remarkable state schools with huge variation in intake and location; from shire schools to city schools. I have no regrets.”
Nicky Clements, head of EYFS, Victoria Academies Trust, Smethwick
“I grew up and went to school and college in Sandwell and Dudley. I ventured out to Wales to do my degree, but after three years of rural living, I came back to the University of Birmingham to do my PGCE course.
“For my first teaching job, I took a position in rural Surrey, but the cost of living there on a £12,000 NQT salary proved extremely difficult. Two years later, I was back teaching in a secondary school in Dudley, near my family. I stayed living and teaching in the West Midlands and then moved to Stafford 10 years ago.
“The proximity to the M6 and motorway network means getting around at the weekend is really easy. Birmingham has undergone extensive redevelopment in recent years, and it’s still ongoing. Parts of the city have a real cosmopolitan feel now, without losing its industrial heritage.
“I love that I can share so much cultural diversity with my children. We regularly visit local attractions and have season tickets for Stoke City. I can drive to Manchester or Liverpool in 90 minutes for more cultural experiences, which we enjoy as a family.
“However, we can also be in the countryside within a two-minute drive or an easy bike ride, which is great along the canal network. We use the forestry of Cannock Chase for a lot of our leisure time. The West Midlands has so much to offer.”