TEACHERS are commuting in to Oxford schools from as far as Milton Keynes and Birmingham because city homes are too expensive.

They spoke after a report by the Centres for Cities think tank confirmed that Oxford was the least affordable city in the UK to buy a house.

Figures show the cost of housing is higher than every city outside the capital, but wages are lower than towns including Swindon, Milton Keynes and London.

John Hussey, Birmingham resident and headteacher at St Gregory the Great School in East Oxford, said high prices were hitting young people who wanted to enter teaching.

He said: “If you manage to attract and retain good teachers, when they reach the family stage of their lives, they have to move out of the city to find suitable accommodation.”

Mr Hussey, who drives to Oxford from the West Midlands, said new teachers outside London were paid £21,588 in their first year and £30,552 after six years.

Five other staff members travel in from as far as Milton Keynes, Reading and Swindon, he said.

Swindon resident Alison Henderson, head of performing arts at the school, makes a 70-mile round drive from her four-bedroom home every day.

Now her children have left school she would like to cut that commute time.

She said: “I would like to move (to Oxford) eventually but house prices are a bar to that.

“To get something like for like would be out of the question. I would have to downsize.”

The report, which compared 59 UK cities, shows the average weekly earnings in Oxford are £494, compared to an average house price of £303,000. This compares to £499 and £159,000 in Swindon.

In Milton Keynes it is a similar situation with higher wages and lower house prices.

Even London has better affordability with an average house price of £354,000 but a weekly wage of £627.

City council leader Bob Price said Oxford would always remain near the top of the unaffordable league table, forcing more people to commute and adding to the city’s traffic congestion. He said the only option was more affordable housing to rent.

He said: “To get affordable housing, many people on middle incomes are forced out of the city to county towns.”

Graham MacDonald, director at Kemp & Kemp estate agents in Summertown, said Oxford’s location, travel connections to London, university and architecture drew in buyers.

He said: “Most of these factors that influence house prices will not change.”

Meanwhile, housing charity Shelter has revealed 365 households in Oxfordshire faced eviction or repossession last month.