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BBC has noticed schools are paying a lot for supply...

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by PizzoCalabro, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. PizzoCalabro

    PizzoCalabro Established commenter

  2. educ80

    educ80 Occasional commenter

    It would be interesting to gauge opinion on wether people see agencies as a necessary solution to the ongoing problem of recruitment and retention, or wether it is their perceived greed and profiteering that is driving down pay and conditions and adding to the 'crisis/challenge'? Or its both?

    I think I know where people on this thread will lean.
  3. PizzoCalabro

    PizzoCalabro Established commenter

    Hi - I responded with my view today on another thread - at the risk of boring everyone, will paste here

    As a late career changer who used to work in a sales environment I understand the pressure the 'consultants' are under. And since I have never been in the 'public sector machine' or expected the 'Council' to be my employer, I actually do agree with the existence of agencies - they get me into schools without any effort on my part, and have been beneficial to me. It is easier to say 'no' to an agent because I have work direct say, than to another school. And because I come from a business background I expect a business relationship, not a paternalistic one as some teachers who have been in the system seem to expect. I assume everything is negotiable. I know there are sales targets to meet, and being 'paid to scale' is an anachronism - you should be paid for the value of the task or job you are doing, not because you have time-served. In the supply world, 30 years 'experience' is not worth an extra premium over someone new to the job, if they have the right personality and resilience.
    However the downright lies are inexcusable. And the insistence on being paid by an Umbrella Company - which one major agency actually put in an email to me. ( I forwarded it to my union who were not interested, despite having a high-profile campaign on, supposedly in support of supply teachers). I have found ONE agency that is honest and professional, and sticking with them and my direct schools and so far this term have had all the work I want, and advance bookings dotted thru the weeks up to Xmas.
    I would hate to have to be on some kind of bureaucratic nightmare 'Council List' - glad they have been widely scrapped.
    Eva_Smith likes this.
  4. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    The recruitment crisis is complex and goes much deeper than placing the blame on supply agencies - not that I'm a fan of them. Supply agencies are just happy to pick up the pieces when good, experienced teachers resign from permanent posts and fill the gaps with temporary teachers because schools are struggling to recruit via the usual channels.

    If you want to blame someone then blame these men:


    John_in_Luton likes this.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    The Government can continue to launch advertising campaigns to recruit teacher, but until they fix the working conditions for teachers, they will continue to waste money on training teachers who leave after 5 years.

    The Government needs to scrap performance related pay which is not appropriate for the teaching profession. They further need to reduce class sizes so teachers do not have crippling class loads which involve hours of marking and planning in secondary. Schools need the power to take back authority and tackle poor behaviour.

    It is the Government who has caused the exodus of teachers leaving schools struggling to find anyone who wants to teach full time. It is the Governments further incompetence to think they can fix the shortage by advertising on T V and giving bonuses to scientists. In some schools you could not pay people enough to go into them to teach.

    Most supply teachers do a very good job while in schools and give 110%. Although agencies may be making large profits they are paying taxes on those profits. No I don't blame the agencies; I put the blame firmly on the Government advisors who clearly do not know what they are doing. First thing they should do is scrap performance related pay.
    snowyhead and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  6. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    I couldn't agree more with this.
  7. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    To be honest, I amsick and tired of the old line there is a shortage of teachers, I do accept that in certain subjects this may be the case, but generally there is a surplus of teachers to the extent that many qualified teachers cannot get jobs. I remember within the last three years a former poster, who found that around 100,000 teachers were classified as not being in teaching and to my knowledge this figure did not included retired teachers, it may be the around the same figure at present. What amazes me is that councils, with little opposition from the NUT or the media for example are merging schools, which results naturally in teacher job losses and then claim the is going to be a shortage of places for students and a shortage of teachers. In fact Michael Gove when S of S for Education was quoted in an article in either 2014 04 2015, stating that 'we train 30,000 teachers a year, but only need 15,000'. I know qualified teachers that work in warehouses and shops because they cannot get a job, I once contacted the TDA to ask 'why not retrain the unemployed or supply teachers to cover the subject shortages, because it would save a fortune'? They refused to answer the question and I suspect that they would rather train new teachers, instead of retraining experienced teachers, it keeps the civil servants in a job as well..

    Now we get the same old stories (I mean it is every year) that teachers are leaving in droves due to the pressure of the job, and there is a now a s shortage of teachers or even schools are using vast numbers of supply teachers, which is costing a fortune. When analysed this figure includes supply CS, learning mentors and TA's, but the media make it sound that supply teachers are like parasites, raking in the money, which is not the case, especially when many schools seem to want unqualified CS or qualiifed teachers to work for peanuts.
  8. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter


    A little data for you to digest from DfE following their annual workforce census carried out on 6th November 2014 (published July 2015):

    6. Vacancies (Tables 14-15)

    In November 2014 there were 1,030 vacancies for full-time permanent teachers in state-funded schools, a rate of 0.3 per cent. This is an increase compared with the previous year where the SFR 21/2015: ‘School Workforce in England: November 2014’. Issued 2 July 2015 Page 14 of 33 rate was 0.2 per cent – 750 teaching vacancies. The teacher vacancy rate remains low and has been around one per cent or below (of all teaching posts) since 2000. In addition to these 1,030 vacancies, a further 3,210 full-time posts (0.9 per cent) were being temporarily filled by a teacher on a contract of at least one term but less than one year. This is higher than in 2013 when there were 2,330 posts (0.6 per cent) being temporarily filled.

    Whilst the vacancy rate is considered to be low (although the report doesn't explain what it is 'low' in comparison to) I think it is the next part of the statement that is more telling - the number of full-time posts that were being filled by temporary staff. Bearing in mind the census took place on 6th November, traditionally a time when vacancy rates are low because it's fairly near the start of a new academic year and before the next leaving date of 31st December.

    As I've stated before my LA currently has 57 full-time, permanent primary posts available for a January 2016 start, which I think quite remarkable bearing mind we are just about to start term two here. It will be interesting to compare the results of the census for this current year.
  9. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Unions have briefed the journalist and his team who wrote the above article. Understandably for balance the beeb has to quote the REC and a the Rt Hon MP but the figures of drop rates and long term supply posts have been in their hands to my certain knowledge for well over 2 years.
    There has been a stubborn and concerted effort to ignore concerns raised by the unions over unworkable expectations. Two successive education secretaries and ofsted chairmen have reduced the profession to mere service providers, reduced the role to a commercial commodity to buy and sell.
    Look at what is happening in many US states with charter schools and standardised testing to see what is coming next.
    You might not care either for me or my message. Take action or stand by and watch state education turn into a sham with no professional teachers and rote learning of prescribed meaningless pap as the norm. Any teachers who use their empathy, imagination and intuition are increasingly marginalised.
    Commercial agencies can do no more than plug gaps. How would they make money if schools were fully staffed? The current conditions are those under which the commercialisation of our profession can flourish. Just look.
    snowyhead likes this.
  10. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    Ummm.....what about the fact that most supply staff are teachers? When I've gone in on long term supply I might cost the school more but I'm still a teacher. And all the long term sickness cover that supplies take, that's not down to a shortage, you need a supply then as you don't always know when the teacher is coming back and supplies are generally more flexible about that sort of thing as well as the school not being able to advertise the job.
  11. emmalcm1

    emmalcm1 Established commenter

    To be honest it makes me laugh that the government constantly claim there is a shortage of teachers. As someone who trained and has been able to find nothing but temporary and supply work since, it makes me so angry to think that universities are still taking fees from people.There are plenty of supply teachers who would love permanent jobs but there just aren't any! I understand that there might be shortages in specific subjects, but in that case training for those subjects only should be advertised. It's very misleading to keep saying there's a shortage and getting people to pay for training when there aren't jobs for them at the end of it.

    The BBC also don't seem to understand that the money being being taken out of the system by agencies is often because teachers are off sick, which has nothing to do with a shortage of teachers. If you ask me it has more to do with the stress that permanent staff are put under.
    pepper5 likes this.
  12. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Surely there is a shortage of teachers? As in cheap, NQT (so impressionable) and highly qualified in a shortage subject . Some schools might accept experienced teachers if they're desperate - on condition that those people are willing to accept a 33 per cent pay cut or more....

    Cynical, moi?

    I am seriously considering alternatives.
  13. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    It is more of being able to retain teachers than shortage of teachers. So many teachers leave after 5 years because of the very poor working conditions and the stress that they are under. It is madness.
  14. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Thing is Deirds, most LEA schools still adhere to teachers' pay scales, as do many converter academies. That means they are obliged to pay progression, and rightly so.
    I'm sure there are some academies and free schools,who would respond positively to "Psstt! want a nice little teacher for cheap, no questions asked, nudge nudge!" but that's not the way we will keep professional unity going. The whole point of pay scales was to create transparency and accountability.

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