I was delighted to be able to interview Phil Tierney. As Director of Arrive Homes, he provides supply teachers with quite a unique service: a home!
In no more than 20 words, what does Arrive Homes offer supply teachers?
We offer very good value rooms in shared house accommodation for teachers and professionals in London.
What service do you provide to supply teachers?
We offer fully inclusive rent that covers gas, electric, water, council tax, TV licence and internet. Basically, all the things you would have to pay for on top of rent are covered. We offer flexible, length of occupancy therefore if your circumstances change you can move with the minimum of fuss. All of our London properties are close to the tube and/or mainline stations - maximum of 10 minute walk making it ideal for supply teaching. Most schools can be reached easily. Also, there is a high probability that other supply teachers will be living with you and therefore you can share the day's trials and tribulations and become part of an unofficial support network! Our homes are designed for a teacher relocating to London to go straight in and feel at home. They can be quite sociable but at the same time, appreciate others may have work to do in the evening on occasions!
If a teacher wanted to move to London, and they gave you a call, what would the next steps be?
Debbie in the Arrive Homes office is happy to help anyone calling. We would listen to the enquiry and offer help. Typically, the person calling would state when they are looking to move and may have a rough idea of whereabouts in the city they would like to be. We can then match these requirements to our room availability and present the best options. All enquiries are added to our database and contacted should anything become available. Much communication occurs via email. We advertise our available rooms on our website and promote via Facebook and Twitter too. We give the option of pre-booking accommodation before arrival. Many people love this as it ensures they have somewhere decent when they arrive. This can remove a lot of stress and get settled in quicker. Plus having a permanent address, means you can start supply teaching quicker and set up things like bank accounts. Those pre-booking are asked to send a deposit to reserve the room and sign the license agreement. Therefore they can arrive with peace of mind knowing a room is secure and in turn, we know they are committed.
I know you are a registered supply teacher too Phil, how often do you like to get out of the office and back into schools? Is it to 'keep your hand in' or simply for pleasure?
I do enjoy teaching. I began supply teaching when I left a full time teaching position in East London in 2011 so I could focus on Arrive Homes. Our business was going from strength to strength so it became too difficult to teach full time. I liked the flexibility that supply teaching provides. I supplied at a local college in the London Borough of Havering and realising the benefit to both parties, I became a part time teacher of Business Studies in 2013 committing to one day per week. I guess it is to 'keep my hand in' but more often than not it is pleasurable. When time allows I do carry out some day to day supply work and am registered with a few agencies in Essex and London.
Many of your clients are from overseas I believe. How do you support them when settling in?
By signing up to a home with us, an occupant inherits a ready made social life! Other house mates are in similar situations - relocating to London and invariably not knowing anybody which can be daunting! On arrival, our tenants are greeted by a member of the Arrive Homes team who will go through with them in detail information such as; how certain appliances work in the house, explain where the local grocery stores are, give information on local schools and how to set up bank accounts and give advice with any administrative duties that need carrying out. Our Facebook page presents many social opportunities and we are working in collaboration with social media groups such as Britbound, Kiwis in London and Aussies in London to name a few!
What are the pros and cons of sharing a house with another professional?
I think the pros are that one would be living with other liked minded people in a similar position to them. All bills are included so disputes are minimised (i.e who owes money for various bills!), similar working hours so the 'fit' among housemates is better. Above all, it is a much cheaper and cost effective way to live in London, living on your own is rather pricey indeed! In terms of downsides, the obvious is that you may live with people you do not click with. We are humans and this will inevitably happen in some cases. We offer alternative accommodation subject to availability in this instance. Also, maybe waiting to use the bathroom in the morning might be an issue. With this in mind, all of our properties have 2 bathrooms if there are 5 tenants or more. Overall, we believe strongly the pros outweigh the cons!
And finally! Who would be the ultimate supply teacher?
The ultimate supply teacher. Good question! After much deliberation I would say Boris Johnson the current Mayor of London. His presence alone is enough to make me feel better about things - he brings a smile to my face. He would engage the students and in his very unique way have a strong command of the classroom. Go Boris!