New teachers find it hard to get housing

By Paul Hardman   |   Reporter   |
Saturday 9th July 2022 3:59 pm
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Ballakermeen High School in Douglas ()

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Ballakermeen High School is struggling to find suitable accommodation for the new teachers it has brought over from the UK.

The school posted an appeal looking for accommodation on social media, which read: ‘We’re delighted to be fully staffed for September, but our new colleagues from off island need somewhere to live.

‘We’re looking for: a flat or small house for a couple, three one or two bedroom apartments, and a two bedroom house for two friends to share’.

A number of student and newly qualified teachers across the island live with their parents.

Head teacher Adrienne Burnette explained that their eight new Manx teachers, returning to the island for the first time to work, had however managed to find suitable accommodation.

One notable way that the government has sought to address this particular housing shortage is with its recently approved plans for the old nurses’ home in Douglas, which is intended to provide homes for key workers such as healthcare staff and teachers.

Asked by Manx Radio whether the issue of housing was yet another factor exacerbating what was already a difficult task of recruitment, Mrs Burnette said: ‘Very much so, one of the problems is that rentals are snapped up so quickly, often before our teachers can even visit the area’.

She continued: ‘I know that [infrastructure minister] Chris Thomas has been working on short-term accommodation for key workers, and that will certainly help in the future.

‘Speaking to my colleagues in other secondary schools, we are all worried about making sure we have accommodation for our new teachers when they do come over to the island’.

Mrs Burnette explained that newly qualified teachers can often not begin their contracts until mid-August, by which point most houses are already rented.

However, they could not afford to be paying rent before they start work.

She added that the issue may sway some teachers to stay and work in England instead, where accommodation is often provided with job offers.

Mr Thomas said the issue was ‘another example of the island’s housing crisis’.

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