Have you ever considered a teaching job in Harrow? Very much like its neighbour to the east, Barnet, the Borough of Harrow is predominantly suburban, rather than urban, and towards its northern fringes where it adjoins Hertfordshire, it’s decidedly rural, much of it being greenbelt land. With Hillingdon to the west, Harrow sits at London’s north-west tip – yet it’s only 20 minutes by train from the centre.
Harrow is among London’s more diverse boroughs in the sense that BAME people account for around 60% of its population (according to the 2011 census) – but then again, perhaps diversity isn’t quite the right description given that the lion’s share of those are Asian and more specifically of Indian ethnicity, mostly from Gujarat and South India. Where the borough most certainly is diverse is in religion and, arguably, it is this that has more effect on the nature of educational provision and career opportunity in the borough. Harrow is the UK’s most religiously diverse local authority area, with about a quarter of the population identifying as Hindu, about one in 10 Muslim, along with a fairly sizeable Jewish population. To give you an idea of what that means – there’s a 62% chance that two random people in the area are of two different religions.
Generally speaking, the Borough of Harrow’s track record on education is pretty good, and it certainly has a very good provision with some 42 primary schools (mostly rated good or above by Ofsted) and 15 secondary schools. If the latter figure seems a touch on the low side, it’s worth bearing in mind that the borough also boasts an appropriately diverse range of special and alternative schools, preparatory schools, senior and all-through schools, and further education colleges, including, of course, the world-famous Harrow School, the fifth most expensive boarding school according to the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference and the alma mater to no fewer than four UK Prime Ministers. Finally, this may be the borough to watch for aspiring and existing music teachers because its music service is exceptional – not only does it provide a range of ensemble opportunities for pupils, it provides music tuition to 15% of the borough’s schoolchildren. That’s almost twice the national average.
Of course, it’s tempting simply to nip into central London for shopping and socialising, but there’s really no need. The borough boasts two large indoor shopping centres (St Ann’s and St George’s) complete with all the most popular retail brands and, in complete contrast, the quaint independent fashion shops, trendy bars and villagey feel of Harrow-on-the-Hill. As mentioned above, it’s refreshingly green and leafy for a suburban borough, and the wider countryside is just minutes away.