Teaching in London: what you need to know to get started

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For Australians who want to work in the UK, teaching is one of the best options. Nevertheless, teaching in a city as large as London can be intimidating if you don’t know your way around well.

Here are a few tips for navigating the capital when taking up a teaching position there.

Teaching in London: location

The ideal when considering where to live in London is to be near enough to your school to have a relatively easy commute while not paying a high amount of rent.

If your school is situated in central London (i.e. within Zone 1 and/or the Congestion Charge Zone) you will invariably pay more in transport. Try to rent in Zone 2 or 3 to save on transport costs while maintaining good proximity to your place of work.

If you are a stranger to London, it is wise not to sign the contract on a rented room or flat before you have the chance to take a look around the area as well as the property itself. You don’t want to get trapped in a contract in a house or area that looked good online but doesn’t suit you in real life.

For this reason, it’s often a good idea to rent a room in a centrally-located hostel for a couple of weeks and visit all of the areas around your school to investigate them. You’ll soon get a sense of where you would be happy to live and places you’d rather not.

Teaching in London: transport

The cost of transportation can really eat into your salary, so be careful to factor this into your monthly budget when planning your expenses before taking up a teaching position in London.

The best resource for planning any kind of journey is Transport for London (TFL). Here you can discover the best way to get from place to place, investigate the cost of your travel and find out about any closures, congestion or limited access points across the London transport network ahead of time.

Transport by train

Travelling via the London train network is one of the most popular and iconic ways to get around England’s capital. Train services in London include:

  1. The Tube
  2. The Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
  3. The London Overground
  4. Transport for London Rail (TFL Rail)
  5. National Rail services

Due to the hours of a full time teaching job, travelling to work by train will fall within London Peak time, during which higher fares are charged for transport. Peak fares in London must be paid from Monday-Friday (except public holidays) between 06:30-09:30 and 16:00-19:00.

Transport by car

Commuting to work by car in London is generally by far the most expensive option due to the need to pay the Congestion Charge. This is a fee that must be paid by anyone who wishes to drive between 07:00 and 18:00 from Monday to Friday.

The Congestion Charge zone is located in the very heart of central London and encompasses most of Zone 1. If you intend to commute by car, check the TFL Congestion Charge map to find out if your route will take you within the charging zone.

It’s possible to reduce the congestion charge by £1 a day by using AutoPay. The cost of registering for AutoPay is £10 per vehicle and you are entitled to register up to five vehicles.

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