Have you ever considered a teaching job in Greenwich? Famously the location of the Greenwich prime meridian, on which Coordinated Universal Time and indeed all the world’s time zones are based, the London Borough of Greenwich could be described as the ‘ground zero’ of global navigation – which might make it an attractive starting point for Geography teachers in particular. Then again, its rich heritage as a Royal Borough with historic sites such as the Cutty Sark and the National Maritime Museum might be a draw for history specialists too.
Greenwich was formed as a London Borough in 1965 – but it was as recently as 2012 that it acquired the designation of “Royal Borough” on the occasion of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. In fact, some might be surprised to learn that in 2012 Greenwich was listed as a top ten global destination by Frommer’s. With all its maritime and navigational associations and, of course, the Thames running through it, one tends to think of Greenwich as a waterfront borough – and thanks to the river’s tortuous bends it does have some 8.5 miles of waterfront. But as you move away from the riverbank, the land rises up to Shooters Hill to the East and Blackheath to the West.
The borough seems determined to remain a great place to start a career in education and there’s an extensive-centralised induction programme for primary and secondary NQTs along with what’s described as ‘a positive and rewarding experience for all involved’. That means inner London pay scale salaries, a dedicated professional development centre, childcare for teachers and a range of initiatives around improving work-life balance, training and general wellbeing.
Moving to the London Borough of Greenwich means rubbing metaphorical shoulders with a stellar list of famous current and former residents from the world of astronomy in the form of Astronomer Royal Sir George Airy, from drama, music and literature – Cecil Day-Lewis, Daniel Day-Lewis, Vanessa Redgrave, Jools Holland and Boy George to name just a few – and perhaps most famous of all, King Henry VIII. As mentioned above, the borough is exceptionally well-endowed with historical attractions, among them the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime Museum, the Woolwich Royal Arsenal and the Cutty Sark. But it also punches well above its weight in contemporary entertainment and leisure terms, with the world renowned O2 Arena (formerly the Millennium Dome) on the Greenwich Peninsula offering a huge live music and sports venue, nightclub, cinemas, exhibition space and myriad piazzas populated by bars and restaurants. All of which explains why the borough continues to experience something of a tourism boom.
In terms of education provision, the borough does pretty well with around 20 secondary schools of various kinds, including creative specialist the Thomas Tallis School, and the Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys (and the equivalent for girls), which are a technology college and strategic partners of Royal Greenwich Teaching Schools Alliance.
On the face of it, the figures suggest that generally young people in the borough do better than average in Primary School (73% meeting expected standard at Key Stage 2 against 65% for all England) and Secondary School (45.3% achieving Grade 5 or above GCSE Maths and English against 44.7% for all England). The percentage achieving AAB or higher including at least 2 facilitating subjects isn’t so impressive, though, at 6.3% against a 16.5% all-England figure.