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Blurred Vision

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by educ80, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. educ80

    educ80 Occasional commenter

    It may or may not be widely known but the TES have bought out a Supply Teaching Agency in the recent-ish months. It isn't tricky to decipher which one as their adverts are littered across the site.
    I'm sure this is an entirely legitimate business venture of course however I recently discovered that a school I work with approached the TES to advertise a vacancy. The advert was due to go out in a weeks time but in the interim period, the partner agency advertised for an identical role but keeping the school name out of the ad, (it is a particular faith school in a particular town with only that one faith school in it so not impossible to detect)
    Now I am not impartial on this topic given that I work for an agency in competition with this agency, however it seems that information submitted in confidence to the TES is being openly shared with another (albeit subsidiary/partner) company unbeknownst to the school and used to benefit this agency.
    Can someone either tell me to stop whining or that I have a genuine grievance.
  2. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    I think that alot of schools contact supply agencies even when they advertise in the TES. Very often they do this after not being able to appoint, which is understandable. I suppose some may do it at the same time if they're not very confident in filling the post.

    I think the unproven situation you describe of the TES supply agency possibly advertising the same job as the TES will advertise in the future, would bring up some unique issues.

    Is there some unfair advantage that the TES supply agency has over the other agencies? We don't know. Should not all local agencies be given a chance to offer the chance to its teachers to apply? You would think so.

    How do you know confidential information has been shared without the permission of the school? You need to be careful asserting things like this without proof. The school may have given permission.

    You could ring the TES agency up and see what information you can get out of them if any. You can have more than one agency. Unfortunately if you worked at the school your interested in recently through a different agency that could stop you from a supply post there.

    You could have a chat with your own agency. They could contact the school.

    I think that you don't have a grievance as such and you can't really be sure of your facts. I can see that the apparent lack of transparency of the situation as you see would be a concern to you.
  3. educ80

    educ80 Occasional commenter

    Thanks for your response Yoda, I perhaps didnt make it clear but I work as the Manager of a Supply teaching agency rather than as a teacher and the school in question have told me, as they work exclusively with us, that they have not knowingly given any details or permission to this agency or to TES to pass this info on.
    You're right that agencies do contact schools to help supplement their recruitment process but on this occassion this has not happened. Schools dont have time to ring every single local agency to ensure total coverage, so I understand schools using a select amount of agencies but it is more about the potential 'hi-jacking' of vacancies for agency gain.
  4. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Hi Educ80,
    It's very useful having you in this forum so that there is balance to the discussions. My objections to widespread poor practice in the education recruitment sector don't extend to you personally. I am aware that there are pockets of ethical practice but sadly too few.
    I have been in meetings with the Education Sector of the REC on the very topic you raise, on behalf of supply teachers within my union. I am told that it is standard practice to advertise vacancies without being commissioned by the school to do so. We all know agents who spend the quieter times of their day trawling schools' websites and calling up schools speculatively or asking their temps in schools to find out if staff are leaving even before a vacancy is announced or even if the vacancy does not exist. Neither the REC nor Apsco have any mandate to restrict this practice. You do seem to be an exception to agency managers in treating your teachers and client schools with transparency and respect.
    At the heart of this is the fact that agencies are completely unregulated. It doesn't help that there are two rival trade bodies, neither of which has any statutory powers to regulate the practices of their members.
    No agency is obliged to be a member either or Apsco or REC. Even if they are, it is as opted-in, paying members. Both organisations act in the best interests of their paying members and so there are very few expulsions and yet so many agencies advertise that they are REC or Apsco approved which appears to give them a gloss of respectability.
    Neither of them is directly answerable to any Government department, so there is no pressure to tighten up regulations. Being trade bodies, neither of them is in a position to interfere with the in-house practices, pay structures or other operational functions.
    The only statutory obligation that agencies have is around DBS and safeguarding.
    Other than that, agencies are free to conduct their own business any way they choose, pay what they like, charge what they like, undercut rivals however they like, use umbrella companies, tie unwary teachers into disadvantageous contracts and still be fully compliant with such legislation as exists.
  5. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    I wonder about the conditions that schools sign up to when using TES to advertise posts.
    Do schools check that it doesn't have a clause that covers sharing information?
    How many schools read the TES standard conditions each time ? Perhaps they just tick a box?

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