Ever thought about a teaching job in Buckinghamshire? Like its next-door neighbour Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire sits prettily above London’s leafy Northern fringes, with its wealth of historic towns and plentiful supply of period properties set amid the undulating scenery of the Chiltern Hills. Steeped in history it certainly is, but Bucks is also a progressive, fast-moving county with terrific rail connections to London Euston from Bletchley and Milton Keynes, to London Marylebone from High Wycombe, Gerrards Cross and four other Bucks stations and to London Paddington from Slough, Langley, and Iver. What’s more, it’s well-connected by road via the M25, M40, M4, A413 and A4010 – and even by Tube via the Metropolitan Line, which terminates at Amersham.
Obviously, Buckingham isn’t home to the palace of that name, which is so-named because it was built as the Duke of Buckingham’s London residence. It is a pretty rich county, though. In fact, back in 2008, three of the county’s towns – Beaconsfield, Gerrards Cross and Amersham made the Daily Telegraph’s Rich Towns List, so the downside is that property prices are high…
…but, like all the best things in life, the beauty of Buckinghamshire is free of charge. As well as the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the county has countless historic houses, including Waddesdon and Hughenden, as well as Stowe Gardens near Buckingham town, while both Old Father Thames and the iconic Ridgeway path both meander through the county’s majestic scenery.
Actually, that particular honour is held by Aylesbury, the historic market town with its pretty old town centre and wealth of ancient pubs. As history teachers may already know, it was Henry VIII who stripped Buckingham of the title and handed it to Aylesbury while wooing Anne Boleyn, whose father owned Aylesbury Manor. Among the county’s most attractive areas are Chesham & Amersham and the nearby picture-postcard Chalfonts. With their easy access to the beautiful Chiltern Hills, unspoilt woodland walks in Captain’s Wood, Pednor Valley and Herbert’s Hole and the River Chess only a stone’s throw away, it’s no surprise the towns are so popular with young professionals – such as teachers – and families with children. In fact, they’ve been described as among England’s best places to live!
If you’re judging your education career prospects by the standard of the schools in a particular area, you won’t go far wrong in Bucks! The county has a great reputation for grammar schools, leading public schools, good day junior schools and pre-schools too. Indeed, Bucks boasts no fewer than 49 schools of all types for all ages, from pre-school through secondary, rated by OFSTED as ‘outstanding’. Then 263 schools of all sorts are rated ‘good’, which only leaves 11 rated as requiring improvement and a mere 3 schools rated ‘inadequate’.
We’ve already sung the praises of the riverside and beechwood walks – but the abundantly gorgeous countryside is just one among many of the county’s attractions. There are miles and miles of the Grand Union Canal, the Chiltern Open Air Museum, Hogshaw Farm & Wildlife Park and the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – and the nightlife’s not to be sneezed at either, with great pubs and restaurants throughout the county and some iconic nightclub, cinema and theatre venues, especially in Milton Keynes.