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Travellers fare better

It took Hugh Ritchie more than two years to sell his house in Staffordshire after he moved to take up a job in Essex four years ago.

This meant he could not buy a new house straight away or take advantage of Essex County Council's mortgage subsidy scheme, which applies only to teachers who buy a house within 12 months of taking up their new job.

But Mr Ritchie, who is head of Alec Hunter High School in Braintree, did receive removal expenses and a rent subsidy for his first six months in Essex.

"I thought that was quite generous and it made the transition a good deal easier than it might have been," he said.

Essex County Council offers teachers a range of recruitment incentives, including up to Pounds 1,000 in removal expenses and Pounds 5,000 in legal expenses and estate agents' fees. While the mortgage and rent subsidy schemes are both funded by the council, LEA schools wanting to offer teachers other incentives have to pay annual premiums to a council insurance scheme, which then covers them for any relocation costs they may incur.

While Alec Hunter High School has appointed very few teachers from outside the area over the past few years, the relocation insurance scheme is well worth its cost, according to Mr Ritchie.

"It is quite important to the school because it does mean we don't have to worry about where we are appointing teachers from," he said.

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