More than one in eight of England's teachers work in a London school. However, almost half the supply teachers and 16 per cent of all occasional teachers can be found in the capital's schools. London also accounted for almost one in three of the unqualified teachers to be found in England's schools in 1999.
Perhaps because of the number of other jobs on offer for graduates in London, teachers who train there have in recent years been less likely than other new teachers to start work in the classroom. According to the latest DfEE figures available, only 70 per cent of those who trained in London in 1997 had started teaching by March 1998. This compared to nearly 75 per cent of those who trained in the North East.
Recent research from the University of North London has suggested that the age profileof the teaching force in London is younger than the average for England and Wales. Their report found that more than 23 per cent of London's teachers were under 30 compared with less than 18 per cent nationally.
London boasts some of the best and worst class sizes in England. Its growing, and increasingly multi-ethnic, student population is often short of teachers. This January the DfEE reported that more than one in three vacancies for primary and secondary teachers were in London - overwhelmingly in the boroughs that pay inner London salary supplements.
With plenty of posts on offer, promotion in London schools can be rapid. Sadly, the living costs involved too often deter teachers from outside. This year the Pay Review body will look at pay supplements for the area.