David and Sian Karran, Bradford.David and Sian Karran, relocated to the Isle of Man several years ago from Bradford. David, who is Manx-born, and his wife Sian, work at the Island’s largest secondary school, Ballakermeen High School.
Home is where the heart is
Sian and I met and fell in love as young students at the University of Huddersfield through our love of music. Over the years we had discussed moving to the Isle of Man – I’m Manx-born and had fond memories of growing up there, and always felt it was my real ‘home’. Sian who hails from Pontypool in South Wales, knew very little about the Island, but it didn’t take long for her to fall for its charm after many visits.
Fast forward 15 years and we decided to make the Island our forever home. It was a big decision, and not one we took lightly. We wanted to wait until the right job opportunities came up to suit both of us, and luckily, they did, and at the same place - the Island’s largest high school, Ballakermeen.
A career in education in the Isle of Man
There were many reasons we decided to move to the Isle of Man. For me, it all started when I saw an advert for a position at Ballakermeen High School when David and I were enjoying a holiday on Island. It was for a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) which ticked a lot of boxes. After being invited to interview at the school, it took me about half an hour to make up my mind that I wanted the job. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, and I quickly fell in love with the school. Since being appointed, the community spirit amongst both the students and teaching staff has been constant throughout and is very much part of the ethos of Ballakermeen. Even when you bump into students outside of the school environment – and you are bound to in an Island this size - it has always been a positive experience.
Other factors included the very short commute to work - it used to take Dave an hour to get into work – and that was on a good day – and it took me half an hour. Last year, Dave was traveling more than 10 hours a week which equated to about 50 miles a day and there’s little enjoyment in that after a while. You can lose so many braincells just sat behind a steering wheel. It is great to now be able to go to work and come home without all the traffic hassles and it makes such a difference to our work-life balance.
As we live in Onchan, my new commute takes just eight minutes by car! Of course, family and travel are factors too but overall, the offer had to be right, and it was!
No sooner had Sian been appointed a SENCO, I left my position as Director of the Arts for Outwood Academy Ripon to accept a role at Ballakermeen as a teacher of music - something which plays a key role in our lives away from the profession.
As well as being appointed musical director of my boyhood brass band, Onchan Silver Band, Sian and I have helped establish the Isle of Man Brass Academy, designed to nurture Manx talent and unearth the next generation of musical stars. Sian and I love making music and playing gigs, and we’re passionate about sharing our love for music with the wider community here in the Isle of Man. I would definitely say us ‘Manxies’ are generally pretty musical, and the young students we’ve engaged with thus far are keen to get stuck in and have really enjoyed the experience.
Exploring the beautiful Isle of Man
It may sound cheesy, but this is a really beautiful Island. You can walk up the hills, go to the seaside, explore plantations, basically see whatever part of the Island you wish to, all in a short period of time. Everything is so close; you never have to go too far.
I’d been here on trips before with David but at times it still feels as if you’re on holiday as you can see the sea every day and, on a sunny day, feel as though you could literally be anywhere. We’ve both found that people are generally very helpful in the Isle of Man. We walk up South Barrule with the dog and virtually everyone says hello. We don’t know who they are, but it’s just that spirit and general friendliness wherever you go.
Moving to the Isle of Man – a simple and rewarding process
Moving to the Isle of Man was a simple and straightforward process – and has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Having David’s family here is an advantage, but I can genuinely say we have settled quickly and built up a great network of friends. Community spirit is very much encouraged here, and even extends beyond local clubs and groups, to supporting local produce and small local businesses - an approach that is very refreshing.
It also feels very safe. I certainly never worry about going out on my own at night to meet friends.
For the first time in years, I can find time for sport alongside my passion for practicing and teaching music. Although most of our free time is taken up by music, I’ve finally got the freedom and flexibility to join a cricket team, play a bit of football for Douglas Athletic and enjoy some table tennis - I’m reliving my childhood really, and it’s simply magical!