If you're a supply teacher travelling from overseas and looking to work in the UK, one of the first and most important things that you will need to do is to find somewhere to live. Many people may choose to stay in hotel or a hostel to start with as they find their bearings and work out how and where they would like to live. This is fine to begin with, but it’s important to remember that hotels can be costly and a hostel might not give you much space, so this should really be looked at as a short-term solution.
Renting a property
Renting a property will be the easiest and quickest method of finding a home, however, the majority of agencies and private landlords will require some form of deposit and a month’s rent in advance.
This amount, as well as the monthly rent can vary depending on where you are based. Larger cities and towns are often the costliest places to live.
The size of the property is also something to take into account – if it’s just you looking to find a home, this will of course make things much cheaper, however, a house or a flat with two or three bedrooms could set you back anything between £400 - £1,500 a month, depending on where you are. In general, the north of the country will be cheaper compared to the south, which normally has a higher cost of living.
You should also look into how close your new home will be to your place of work; whether you will need easy access to public transport and what it will cost to travel to and from your job every day. Of course, this depends on whether you’ll be at the same school every day, or if you’re covering on supply at different schools in a cluster.
Flat / house sharing
For many people who are looking independently for a home, flat or house sharing is an ideal option, not just for financial reasons, but for those who would like the company too.
It’s completely up to you how you want to go about this, as you can either look to join a house that already has tenants or you may want to look into finding other supply teachers in a similar position to yourself who you can live with.
The best way to go about this would be to contact your supply teaching agency to see if they can be of any help, or to look at their social media and websites on a regular basis for anyone advertising for people to share accommodation with.
If looking for house shares that are already set up, there a number of really useful websites where you can search for your specific area and needs, such as costs etc.
Easy Room Mate, Flat Share, Spare Room and Gumtree are great places to start your search.
Otherwise, you could ask your recruitment agency if you could put a note on their Facebook page to see if there are any other teachers also looking for a room share.
Of course, many people may prefer to live alone and if this is the case for you then you may want to look for a property to rent out on your own. As mentioned previously, this will be more costly but if you really like your own space it could be worth it. You're more likely to find such properties through estate agencies which can mean additional fees on top of a deposit and potentially a month’s rent in advance.
Useful agencies to consider when looking into renting include PrimeLocation, Rightmove and Zoopla.
With this route, especially if renting through an agency, you will have to go through some checks, such as your income, credit rating and a job reference, to ensure that you are able to afford and keep up with the payments.
Furnished vs unfurnished
Once you have made the decision to rent, whether, with others or alone, you will need to consider choosing a property that is either furnished or unfurnished. For those moving from abroad, having an already furnished home is most likely to be the easiest option, as you won’t need to worry about buying or finding any furniture. Of course, it is worth taking into consideration that none of these items will belong to you, so if anything is damaged, you will need to pay out for things to be fixed or replaced. There’s also the fact that the furniture might not be to your taste and you may want to make your place more homely by filling the space with items you have chosen yourself.
Other things to remember…
Finally, once you have a moving in date for your new home, there will be a few additional things that you will need to remember to do.
Find out who supplies the gas and electricity to your new residence and look into quotes from them and other suppliers. You will need to register your details and quote the meters on your first day living there – this way you will avoid being charged for the amount of gas and electricity that the previous tenants would have used.
Consider taking out home insurance to protect your belongings from damage or theft. Your landlord is likely to have their own insurance, however, this will only cover the building and any contents that belong to them – such as any furniture or fittings that they have provided.
Organise your council tax. This can cost anything between £80-£150 a month, depending on where you live and how much the property is worth. If you are living alone, it’s definitely worth contacting your council to apply for a single person discount, which could reduce your monthly bill by 25%.
If you need internet for work purposes, then you do need to think ahead and arrange it as soon as possible, as it could take a little time to set up.
Based on our past experience, and from working with many education recruitment agencies over the years, we found many supply teachers move to the UK from Canada, USA, Australia, Ireland or South Africa and the majority of supply teachers locate themselves in London. In 2015, schools in London collectively spent the most on supply teachers. Primary and secondary schools in the capital spent £212m on extra staff in 2015, the equivalent of £260 per child.
That adds up to a lot of overseas-trained teachers living in London and surrounding yourself with other teachers who have also moved to the UK to teach may help you feel more at home.
Many recruitment agencies organise day trips or nights out in clusters to help you network with others in a similar position to you.
As an overseas trained supply teacher looking to move to the UK, it is in your best interest to network with other teachers who are potentially going to be in the same position as you prior to coming to the UK. The most popular living arrangement for overseas trained supply teachers is to house share with other overseas trained supply teachers.
Whatever your preferred living arrangement is in the UK, you’ll never be short of somewhere to stay. The UK’s housing / rental market is booming. Once you get your feet on the ground and become familiar with transportation methods for your local area, you’ll become confident with your surroundings.
There is no denying that living in the UK may be costly, depending on your lifestyle decisions, however, one thing that is for sure is that with regular expenses like rent to cover, you’ll need a reliable and compliant umbrella company to pay you correctly and on time every time.
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