Why I love teaching in... Yorkshire and the Humber

10th April 2019 at 11:00
A street in York
Jonny Uttley, chief executive of the Education Alliance in Yorkshire, has enjoyed a varied teaching career in the region. Here, he explains its many appealing elements, from stunning cycling routes to historic towns

I was born in Manchester but grew up and was educated in Otley, West Yorkshire. I studied American history and politics at university, including a year in the US. I planned to go back and become a lecturer but eventually had a change of heart and decided to move back to England and become a teacher.

After graduating from my PGCE, I secured a job at a school in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, where I taught history and politics for five years. During that time, I got married and, before long, was looking to move back to the North and settle down.  

A beautiful town

We wanted to move somewhere as beautiful as Cambridge, so we aimed for York. I secured a job at Huntington School in the city and was there for eight years before taking a deputy headteacher role at a South Hunsley School in the East Riding of Yorkshire (just outside of Hull).

It’s a bit of a hidden gem; people know West and North Yorkshire but East Yorkshire is a lovely part of the world. My commute is just beautiful some mornings.

I later became executive principal for the school and then, in Easter 2018, became chief executive of the school’s multi-academy trust, the Education Alliance Trust.

Spoilt for choice

The thing I love most about Yorkshire and the surrounding area (apart from the people) is that there is so much variety. We have a 13-year-old daughter and we are spoilt for choice as to where we can go; I’m a history geek, too, so there is a lot to enjoy. There are lots of fantastic schools here as well.

We’re right on the edge of the countryside, so you have the Yorkshire Moors, lots of coastline, and areas in between that are great for walking and cycling. The Tour de Yorkshire is another great attraction and has helped to raise the profile of the region.

Leeds is a great cultural centre for theatre and music, with lots of big bands playing in the city. And Hull is thriving after being named the UK City of Culture in 2017. It often gets overlooked but there’s lots of variety there and things to do.

Options for a getaway

If you want to get away for a weekend, travelling around the UK from Yorkshire is really easy. We’ve got the East Coast Mainline, the Trans-Pennine railway and Leeds-Bradford Airport. It’s also worth mentioning the ferry service from Hull that goes to Amsterdam and Bruges. Some people use that for weekend trips, travelling overnight.

House prices vary in the region. York is fairly expensive and so are places like Harrogate and, increasingly, Leeds, but outside of the cities, it’s very affordable, certainly compared with the South.

There are lots of nice towns and cities just a few miles out from the bigger cities that make it possible to enjoy the best aspects of the region.

It’s a great part of the world. I’ve met quite a few teachers who have moved to Yorkshire from around the country and they all seem to stay.

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