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Are they for real??

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by lucylollipop, Nov 17, 2018.

  1. lucylollipop

    lucylollipop Occasional commenter

    I took early retirement this Summer and signed up with a supply agency as I would like to keep in touch with teaching and for a bit of extra income. I am so lucky that, financially, I do not have to work and can manage fine on my teacher's pension, so I do sympathise greatly with those who rely on supply as their main income.
    When I had my 'interview' with the agency the consultant explained that she had a teaching degree but had not worked in a school since qualifying as she 'wants a life!' After kicking off her shoes and telling me about how she hated a failed teaching practice, we got to the nitty gritty.
    Will you do long term? - No thanks, I have holidays booked so I can't commit to long term placements.
    Will you do SEN schools - I'm not really qualified to work in SEN settings, although I have plenty of experience with individual children.
    Ok - you're rate should be £120 per day. Sign up to our app and check each day. Put your availability on the calendar app. Done.....

    This week I have been 'offered' :
    -a 1hr 30 min role as a midday supervisor in a school 20 miles away
    -a day in an ASD unit
    -an afternoon in a local independent school as a Nursery 'room support' assistant for £25
    Is this because I'm new to supply? Are they testing me? Have other teachers been offered such roles?
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  2. steviepal

    steviepal Occasional commenter

    Bet you're with r**ds**d. Ditch em.
  3. lucylollipop

    lucylollipop Occasional commenter

    Spot on!
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  4. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    They are notoriously rubbish - join a proper agency.
    agathamorse and lucylollipop like this.
  5. lucylollipop

    lucylollipop Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the advice.... I'll get researching!
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Try Simply Education - they were brilliant to me.
    lucylollipop likes this.
  7. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    Yes that is very possible and understandable from the agencies point of view. Unless its a new agency they will already have many supply teachers on their books, Some could have been there for quite some time and built up a reputation for being reliable and versatile. They are in effect at the top of the "pecking order" and will be offered the better placements by the agency to keep them happy. But this does work both ways,

    New joiners will be at the bottom of the "pecking order" and an unknown quantity to the agency, they will miss out on the best opportunities and only get offered what is left. But the more work they do means that they will climb up the chain and start to pick up better jobs. So this does mean you might need to accept some of the poorer posts in order to progress, turn down too many offers and the agency will stop calling you. In the past I took on roles in the school office/as a technician and TA work (quite enjoyed them too).

    Agencies are a business and like all businesses they look after their regular customers/clients and suppliers first.

    But pick a good agency and it will get better, The smaller ones are often better then the large corporate ones.
  8. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Have sent you a pm
    lucylollipop likes this.
  9. steviepal

    steviepal Occasional commenter

    The company concerned moved to a app system this September. They were reasonably before, now it's a complete waste of time. I let them know what I thought of their new model and got my p45 back.
    agathamorse and lucylollipop like this.
  10. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Assuming you can afford to waste the half-day on each for paperwork/interview/whatever then sign up with as many as you can find that cover schools near you. I'm with 6 and they're all useless apart from the one that gives me the current gig (and guess how useful that will be when this long-term one ends?). @pepper5 recommends calling round local schools and asking if they pay direct (vastly preferable but hard to get) or failing that which agencies they use. I've never needed to go to such an extent but I'm now established long-term maths/science in West Yorks (and never worked in a local school!)

    Also follow @les25paul 's wise words and get yourself established but once that occurs start pushing up the rate you receive.

    All the Best
    pepper5 and lucylollipop like this.
  11. pwtin

    pwtin Star commenter

    If I had retired and did not need the money I would happily stay at home and probably do some voluntary work, you are now competing with lots of nqt out there. That said joining an agency who use an app to contact you for work is not the way forward. Have you tried taking up the offers? I think you will find they have been taken in a split second as I have discovered.
    pepper5 and lucylollipop like this.
  12. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Established commenter

    This is worrying me a bit. I've been with the agency to which I think you are referring and in the past they (seem to) have been quite good to me. I've been on long term for a while so haven't had to use the app but will be going back to day to day soon-ish. I might need to explore other agencies, the problem is that that one seems to be one of the major players in the area...
    agathamorse, pepper5 and lucylollipop like this.
  13. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    @lucylollipop: R*ndst*d have an evil reputation. It seems to take a perverse delight in finding you jobs you do not want. I signed on as a secondary science teacher, and I was only sounded out about none-teaching jobs in primary schools, all of which were way too far away. I wondered if the consultants at this agency had previously worked in army posting:

    Sgt: "What's your trade and where d'you live?

    Pvt: "I'm a carpenter from Ealing."

    Sgt: "Right then! I'm posting you to the Medical Corps, in Aberdeen."

    As @les25paul said, you have to work your way up the 'pecking order but on the other hand, appearing too eager to accept anything can work against you, as could end up as the 'go to guy' for the crepe jobs that nobody else will accept.

    @TheOracleAtDelphi: Any agency is only as good, or bad, as the consultant who deals with you.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
    agathamorse, pepper5 and lucylollipop like this.
  14. Robfreeman

    Robfreeman Occasional commenter

    If you say your area you will probably get a few PM's with decent agencies.
    pepper5 likes this.
  15. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Mine introduced an app. I just emailed my handler and told her I was too old for all that rubbish and she kept me on the old fashioned way.
  16. Happyregardless

    Happyregardless Occasional commenter

    I don't think it's because you're new or they're testing you - it's just the quality and approaches of different agencies vary so much and also even 'good' agencies can appear miserably deficient (as I'm currently finding at present) at a time of low work/supply levels. This year so far, has been uncharacteristically slow - usually I work full time on supply, whether it's day to day or longer term and have to admit when I've heard others talking about 'no work' I've thought "really? Which agencies are you with or maybe they're not accepting certain roles etc" but this year has been completely different.

    I agree with what other posters have put - cast your net wider - you may find like the rest of us that out of the say, 5 agencies you register with, one will be your 'go to' that gets you the main amount of work, one maybe get you a few days hear and then , or a block before you go backj to first agency, one will disappear into oblivion after they have bayed at your heels for merely registeriung with them, another one may get you one or two days...
    lucylollipop likes this.
  17. lucylollipop

    lucylollipop Occasional commenter

    Thanks for all your replies and advice.
    I have now sent my cv to multiple agencies in my area and this morning I have phoned 4 schools in my local area to ask which supply agencies they are currently using. Each school was really friendly and open and each said that they are now not using supply agencies, but covering 'in house'; one school was quite honest and told me that the budget simply wouldn't support supply agency cover, but she took my details and said she would let the head know that I've shown interest in work there.
    As I said, I am so lucky in that I am not reliant on supply work; this must be so stressful for those who are!
    I had some invigilation mornings last week in a local secondary school; pay is rubbish but it's very local and dead easy work!
    Good luck all!
  18. BTBAM

    BTBAM New commenter

    Is this disparity of what people are being offered due to locations? I don't understand why/how the agencies vary so much not only between themselves but between teachers too!
  19. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    I think that is the way of things, these days. Schools just do not have money to pay supply teachers, TAs, CSs. This is counterproductive in the long run, as the over-used permanent staff then burn out, and go off sick. That schools are trying to get voluntary staff shows that either they, or supply teachers, are getting desperate. If I accepted all the offers of unpaid work I get, I would be in schools nearly every day.

    In some parts of the country, there is an 'over-supply of would-be supply teachers. All those 'too expensive to employ fifty-somethings on the UPS' combed out of schools have not gone away. Most of them are still trying to earn a crust, the only way they know how. The 'teacher shortage'' only applies to those teachers schools want to employ; cheap, young, malleable, and compliant.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  20. Thongy1

    Thongy1 New commenter

    I am an ex-Deputy Headteacher. So far this year I have been offered 1:1 support for ASD child on lower end of TA rates (as I have "no experience" apparently) for two mornings a week, and a day's work down two motorways for £65.

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