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Living and teaching in London: What you need to know

Posted by Sarah Salmon on Monday, 4 June 2018
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Taking the leap and moving to England from abroad? Aside from the temperamental weather, London is a buzzing city stocked full of opportunities for those looking for a change in their teaching career as well as a change in the weather!

Well-known for its multi-cultural society, London is brimming with teachers from all over the world, meaning that not only will get acquainted with the British quirks of tea and scones but you’ll experience the traditions and personalities from a plethora of diverse backgrounds.

Here at Opogo, our team is a-mix with different cultural backgrounds and teaching experiences. We sat down with Primary Consultant Hannah, who has first-hand experience of jumping ship and moving to London to find out her top pieces of advice for making the UK move!

Without further ado Hannah, it’s over to you…!




G’day there, Hannah here!

Profiles_circle_hannah01_HannahMy background has been in teaching both in Australia and the UK before becoming a Managing Consultant here at Opogo brought to you by Thames Teachers. After successfully completing my training and embarking upon a teaching career in Australia, I decided to relocate to the UK and began teaching at a large ‘Outstanding’ school in Oxfordshire



Deciding to step out of my comfort zone and work half-way across the world (in a city that I’d never been to), has been both the craziest and best decision I’ve ever made in my life!

Prior to my move, I’d worked as a teacher for a number of years in Australia, however, I was looking for my next challenge and decided London was something I’d always wanted to pursue while I still had the chance.

Having also studied and worked in the Business sector previously, I decided I wanted to progress my career even further and began looking for an opportunity that would combine my passion for teaching and business. This has led me to where I am today. At Opogo I work with high-calibre teachers from all over the world, helping to mentor and prepare them for work in London. I have worked hard to establish strong relationships with the schools across Greater London, working closely with them to ensure that Opogo can find the best possible recruits for their needs. 

Teaching and living in the UK has certainly been a life-changing experience for me. Professionally, I have enhanced my pedagogy and practice to a point where I’m now confident stepping into any classroom setting. On a personal level, living in London has opened up so many opportunities and experiences in terms of work, travel and meeting new people; most of which just wouldn’t have been possible back home in Australia. 

It is without doubt that anyone considering making the bold move to the vibrant city of London is going to experience some sort of cultural shock- it’s natural to! I’ve put together a pocketbook guide of top tips that I wish I’d known when making the move that I hope will help welcome you to the world of teaching in London…


1. Organisation is your best friend

When you touch down in London, organising your documentation is going to be the very last thing you want to do- trust me! Before you leave for London, make sure you’ve received both your UK Police Check (DBS) and national police check from your current country of residence. To teach in the UK, it is essential that you obtain hard copies of both documents. Another great tip that I wish I’d known is getting a rental reference and work-based reference as this will make your life a lot easier when finding a house and a job! 


2. Give yourself time to find your feet!

From setting up your bank account, obtaining a National Insurance Number - not to mention a place to call your home in an area that’s right for you - settling into London life takes time!  My best advice is to give yourself a break and allow at least 1-2 weeks from when you arrive to when you start working to get your feet firmly on the ground. 


3. Build a bone of flexibility when it comes to job roles

Remember to keep in mind that as you are moving to a completely different country, getting your head around the different systems is naturally going to take its time. To get yourself comfortable with the changes, I suggest taking on as many supply and trial days that are offered so that you can eventually find the right role and school for you. It’s common for teachers to do 2-3 separate trials before making a long-term commitment! 


4. Keep reminding yourself of your reasons ‘Why’

Life isn’t always easy and those days that feel tough and messy will knock you back from time to time. On those down days, it’s important to remind yourself of all the reasons why you wanted to move to London. Whether that is to travel through Europe, experience a completely different way of life or to embrace the rich opportunities that the UK has for your career, there is always a positive to counterbalance the negative. I’ve been in your place and I’ve experienced the waves of finding my feet so should you need some recommendations for cheap travel hacks/destinations, things to do on a weekend or a good pub for some Thursday night trivia then I’m your girl!




 About our Community Expert


Sarah Salmon

Digital Marketing Executive

With a background in social media management and editorial writing for jewellery and gemological education, Sarah is the Digital Marketing Executive at Opogo.

Sarah has extensive experience in facilitating the sourcing of industry research, editing copy, writing web content and utilising social media to secure an ever-growing social audience.

Sarah is the voice of Opogo across all our social channels.

Topics: #inspirationmonday


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