Intellectual pros versus costly cons

July 14, 2006

Many London institutions offer market supplements to attract staff to work in an expensive city where finding suitable schooling for children can be a nightmare.

But Natalie Fenton, who recently moved from Loughborough University to Goldsmiths, University of London, thinks more could be done. Dr Fenton, a senior lecturer in media and communications, finds London "a different world" and her experiences have been mixed.

Cost was an "enormous hurdle... The London weighting does not even remotely reflect the costs of living."

But Dr Fenton thinks that many academics who choose to move to the capital "know the score".

Moreover, as far as her subject is concerned, London has distinct advantages. To be at the "centre of the media world has direct payoff with teaching", Dr Fenton said.

She added that London provided a "density of intellectual activity" making it "the most inspiring place to work".

But the move was difficult as she has young children.

"Most people leave London because they have children; instead, we were moving into London."

Dr Fenton thinks it would have been a much harder decision to come to London solely for a new job. She had to move for domestic reasons as well.

Would she have it any other way? "I absolutely love Goldsmiths and my job, but I constantly grapple with the challenge of living in London with a young family."

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