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Advice about longer term supply

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by beckpred, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. beckpred

    beckpred New commenter

    Having always done day to day supply so far, I’m after some advice please. I’ve now been at School A for one week, supposedly until Christmas. The Head of Department today told me they’re anticipating still needing me after Christmas.

    At what point should I be planning my own lessons / assessing students / attending parents’ evenings etc?

    I’d like to strike the balance between being reasonable and not being a fool to myself.
  2. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Try taking control of the process, offer to do your own planning and perhaps in relief the HoD will forget to dump other stuff on you. Also if you are doing okay, ie. the noise from your classroom isn't disturbing too many classes then the school can be so relieved that they give you a pass for learning walks, book scrutinies, data drops, break duties, form classes - all this to avoid stopping you clearing off elsewhere. So you could try agreeing and then not doing, unless you can see a direct link to your classes and teaching.
  3. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Is it the norm that "longer term" supplies are expected to be exposed to/do "learning walks, book scrutinies, data drops, break duties, form classes"?
  4. Northern_Miss

    Northern_Miss New commenter

    In my experience... Yes. The saving grace is that you're not expected to be observed by SLT. I've even written pupil's reports and met parents for Parent's Evening while on long-term supply!
    JohnJCazorla and agathamorse like this.
  5. Northern_Miss

    Northern_Miss New commenter

    I would say that should happen when they tell your agency it's now "long-term" - the same point at which you can ask your agency for more money, as this will entail extra work (like planning and assessment)...

    After that, you can offer to do the planning etc.
    blazer and agathamorse like this.
  6. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Established commenter

    From reading these boards, I'd say there may be some differences between secondary and primary here, although possibly it is more which subject you teach at secondary and the ease with which you can be replaced. In my experience, primary long term supply seems to be pretty much exactly the same as a 'normal' teacher (including being observed) and break duties are standard even for day-to-day supply! I did do a rolling weekly placement (normal daily rate) when planning from a parallel class was provided but I did supplement it/change bits to suit the particular group and partially differentiate but when I have been paid as long term, I've been expected to do everything pretty much.

    I agree with Northern Miss that if it is long term, you should be being paid more. I know some schools/departments already have really detailed unit/medium term plans that basically break down what happens each lesson anyway, so there's not a huge amount of daily planning to do but if not, then offering to do your own planning might actually be advantageous (assuming you're supplying in your subject specialism) as you can plan to suit how you like to teach and what is going to work for the groups you have (especially if settled rather than mixed).
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    You would think that if you are doing a full-time teacher's role (planning, marking, reports, etc.) you should get a higher daily rate. Some agencies expect you to accept a lower daily rate for long-term, for the privilege of a more regular income!:(
    catbefriender and agathamorse like this.
  8. BTBAM

    BTBAM New commenter

    In my limited experience, I get a significantly higher rate for long term supply than day to day. I am now getting the impression most heads are just delighted if you turn up most days. If you do a good job that's even better. At the end of the day these children do deserve someone who can do the right thing by them so it's good to have some semblance of humanity left when doing this.

    I've been quite open about my general dissatisfaction about things and if someone wants to observe me I would just say something diplomatic like 'You can watch what you like of course but I would prefer to not receive feedback as I have no interest in becoming what is your definition of a better teacher right now - I am with an agency because I am treating this as a shift job. If you are looking to develop someone I appreciate that and the 7 days notice I or you can give is for both of our protection so if you feel I wasn't clear enough about my feelings at the start we can end this arrangement here?''. Before I've finished the first sentence they always back down because they know you can walk and it looks like terrible leadership to have a revolving door of teachers. If you're doing a good job then you are in Heaven because they will want to keep the boat steady. It's SO FREEING to be more in charge.

    I ignore all emails that add to my workload, and loudly reply to ones that require no effort, miss deadlines, leave before every one else, arrive after everyone else - otherwise why be a supply teacher?! You're just someone working without the protection and holiday pay that everyone else has!

    Do the parents evening, make it look reluctant but you will 'do it for the kids'. Do your planning, but pretend it's 1999 and no one is going to look at it - you are in charge now! Don't ever work at home again. You have to claw back your freedom and not do anything about the job you didn't like before. Don't submit your plans or succumb to their marking policies if you are only there for a term, especially if the marking policy is a joke - do ask before you take the job how they will monitor you and shift uncomfortably or frown or cough awkwardly if you don't like the answer until they tell you they will leave you alone.

    Best of luck!
  9. beckpred

    beckpred New commenter

    Thank you for all the replies. Lots to think about. I hadn’t considered asking for a higher wage at this point, I assumed I had to wait for the ‘12 week’ point. Is it standard to negotiate more money at this stage? Presumably with the agency themselves?
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    You should certainly ask for a rate of pay equivalent to that of a permanent teacher, as the school will almost certainly expect you to carry out the full role.

    As for performance management, that is your choice. SMT will probably not want the responsibility of all the paperwork and man-hours, if you're not there long enough to reach any targets. The agency might possibly want some form of quality control, but that's up to them. You're not an employee of the school.

    It's worth doing a professional job, not least for the children, but also to create some leverage for negotiating a top pay rate from the agency for yourself. Don't wait 12 weeks. You will be working longer hours. Your contract will almost to certainly be based on an agreed working day of 6.4 hours. Now the school has extended the duration of the contract and the range of duties is likely to extend to planning, assessment, progress tracking, intervention etc, you need some sort of job description.

    The terms of your engagement are not those of a permanent teacher. You have no paid leave, no paid sick days, no holiday pay, no notice period, no teacher's pension, no job security. This needs to be compensated for by a realistic daily pay rate for the duration.
    What this will do to the rate the agent charges the school is another story. In a competitive market, many agencies are putting in artificially low bids to get the work. Nonetheless, if they want to stay in the market at all, you are their asset and stock-in-trade. They have to look after you as, being a free lancer, you can head off to the next highest bidder.
    Agencies and schools don't mix. It's a game with its own rules that you learn to play.
    JohnJCazorla and agathamorse like this.
  11. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    It isn't standard but that's because agencies try and convince reasonable and decent people like you that low pay is the case and the 12-week becomes a con to get you cheap. Yes definitely with the agency, because you may merely be reducing their commission and if they do go back to the school to get the rise then you have the agent, who is the most practised negotiator in this dance, being forced to work for you.

    So how to deal with the agent? I have a friend who works in business-to-business sales which means he is highly accomplished at delivering and deflecting the BS that flies around at negotiations. He knows nothing of education but so what this is nothing to do with education. Every so often I'll buy him a few drinks and run scenarios past him as to how to haggle up my salary. Considering I can put down pay hikes of £25 a day and higher to him then I've got a bargain.

    Do you have such a friend who'll deliver such advice for choccy biccies, flowers, booze or whatever? Well worth the investment. Failing that I use excessive politeness and flattery on the agent but I can afford to say no and I'm in a shortage area (professional and geographic) Maths/Science in West Yorks. Can you?
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. Missied2

    Missied2 New commenter

    At what point should I be planning my own lessons / assessing students / attending parents’ evenings etc?

    When I've done long term supply (primary) I was expected to do planning & assessments from 2nd week but was given PPA. I did have to ask for it in the 2nd school. I also did parents' evening and reports - the first school paid me extra hours for the parents' evening and 2 hours preparation, they also paid me extra for the reports. The 2nd school seemed to expect me to do parents' eve & reports so I said I had no problem doing them but asked them to contact the agency to decide how they wanted to pay for the hours spent doing them, as a result I was paid for 6.5 days extra. I also asked the agency for more money after 4 weeks because the job was so much more than day to day supply.
    JohnJCazorla and agathamorse like this.

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