Why I love teaching in...the East Midlands

10th April 2019 at 14:15
The bridge in Melton Mowbray, East Midlands
Thomas James, an English teacher at Hartshill School in Nuneaton, explains how his career led him back to the East Midlands and why it should not be overlooked as a place to live and work

People often overlook the Midlands – when you leave London, you see signs that just say “The North” – but we have so much here.

In terms of cities, we have Nottingham, Leicester, Derby and Northampton, and the surrounding countryside also has loads to offer, plus you’re only ever about two hours from London and Manchester.

Rising in the East

I actually grew up in Leicester before working for a company based in Coventry for a few years. Eventually I became a teacher and moved to London in 2017 to teach at the Michaela Community School. I loved it there, it was a great place to work and I have nothing but good memories.

However, when I was in London, I was in a long-distance relationship with someone in the East Midlands so I ended up moving back.

I now teach at the Midland Academies Trust Hartshill School in Nuneaton and live in Ashby-de-la-Zouch. It’s a great place to be. People in the Midlands are very down to earth and it’s a real mix of cultures, too; Leicester is one of the most diverse cities in England and has a huge variety of teaching opportunities.

Part of the community

There’s also a much greater sense of community. When I lived in London, it felt very transitory and teachers would move between schools more frequently. People here are much more attached to the place and you can really notice that.

There’s so much you can do in the area, in the East and West Midlands. Birmingham is very close, with plenty of museums, while Nottingham has a great music scene, particularly with it having the live music venue, Rock City. There’s a lot of sport across the region, with all the towns having big teams in football, rugby and more.

Stratford-upon-Avon is nearby, which is great for Shakespeare-related days out, and there’s loads of history in the region, too, from country houses to the Bosworth battlefield to the remains of Richard III being found in a car park in Leicester.

We also have the southern tip of the Peak District in the region, which is great for hiking, and there is a lot of good cycling around here (I cycle to work, in fact).

There's easy access to international transport here as well, with East Midlands Airport (near Nottingham) and Birmingham Airport, while Heathrow is only about 90 minutes away on a good traffic day.

A wealth of teaching opportunity

If you have a car, a huge number of jobs are available within a 30-minute drive. This means you can be really flexible about where you work and there are always new opportunities if you want to progress your career.

Property is so much cheaper, too. I rent a one-bed flat for £450 a month and that gets me a separate lounge, kitchen, bedroom, en suite and another bathroom, and my step-sister just bought a two-up, two-down for £120,000.

It's a world of difference from what I could get in London. I loved it there but it’s just so much easier to make a life here.

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