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Considering supply teaching

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by gracemercer23, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. gracemercer23

    gracemercer23 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I'm considering leaving my current job at a primary school and becoming a supply teacher. I have recently gone back to work part time and I am finding it hard to balance work and home life.
    I've read a few different articles and threads on here and now wondering if it's the best decision.
    I ideally want to work 3 days a week. I live in the south east of England and I was wondering if anyone has any agency recommendations? Also wondering what the pay is like?
    I have supplied before but it was quite sometime ago. Any help or additional information that might be helpful would be great as I would love to be in the know before I make the final decision.
    Thank you :)
    agathamorse likes this.
  2. 50sman

    50sman Lead commenter

    Work not guaranteed
    Rate of pay not guaranteed
    Up to you really.
    agathamorse, pepper5 and BetterNow like this.
  3. BetterNow

    BetterNow Occasional commenter

    No sick pay
    No holiday pay
    Low rates of pay
    Treated like the lowest of the low
    Work is not guaranteed


    Far, far better work/ life balance
    Getting to see how different schools do things
    Teaching is fun again
    I swan in, do the best job I can, then swan out again - no meetings after school or before school.
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    If you need a regular income, don't even consider supply.

    I read on here only today a discussion, how due to the rates charged by Supply agencies to Schools and ever-decreasing school budgets supply does seem to be drying up in some areas at least.

    However your best source of real info is to ask actual supply teachers in your own particular area / LA. It can vary so much.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    The best decision will be based on what your financial needs are. As Lara says, if you need a regular source of income then forget supply as one week you may be busy and the next two weeks nothing at all.

    If you can live with the uncertainty and all the other cons associated with it then it can provide you with a way to have more time with your family and still teach but without the planning and marking unless you are on long term supply.

    The pay would be approximately £120.00 for day to day supply ( this is just an approximation as some may get more and some less). That is gross without deductions and you would also need to find agencies that pay you Pay as You Earn ( PAYE).

    It takes a particular type of person to be able to do supply. You need good classroom management skills and the hide of a rhino while living with the unknown as far as where you go each day.

    Also, ask as Lara suggests any supply teachers in your area about how many days they are getting which would give you some idea of the amount of work in your area.
  6. FrauRussell

    FrauRussell New commenter

    As others say, it depends on your circumstances, especially the finances. I would also add, based on my experiences on recruitment panels over the last few year, if you think that at some point you will want a permanent teaching post again, think very carefully before you go on supply. Supply teachers, in my experience, find it hard if not impossible to get back into permanent work. Lots of reasons, but include taking unpaid time out for interviews and bias against supplies ("a certain type of teacher does supply", said a former head) for starters. An unattractive middle position is the teacher on long term temp contract either with school or agency (in which case there is no proper holiday or sick pay), sometimes over years, with contracts ended at very short notice sometimes just to make way for someone else the school would prefer to engage, even though the supply is doing an acknowledged good job. I've seen that at least twice in the last 3 years.
  7. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Don't do it.
  8. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Good idea!
    Lots of work. Loads of money - £175+ a day. Freedom to work when and where you want.
    Never been busier.
    What's not to like?
    Go for it.
    (Another mouth to feed down at the Foodbank won't much difference).
  9. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Supply can give you a great work/life balance but it can be very uncertain. I don't know if you'll get three days a week. I think I used to average out at two and a half but that was several years ago. I was also available five days a week for any age group in primary.
    I did a lot of supply work at the school where I'm now full time and permanent. We use a lot less supply now and use teaching assistants as cover supervisors instead. Budget cuts are biting schools.
    You won't get much work in September or October - I remember being so relieved when something long term cropped up at that time in my supply days.
    Just a correction to a previous poster who said no marking - day to day primary supply are expected to mark books but it isn't onerous. With no staff meetings, paperwork etc it's easy to just get them done and go.
    agathamorse, pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  10. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I enjoy supply but I am only using it to top up my pension. I would hate to have to live on it. If I did then I would have to accept placements that I can currently turn down either because they are in sh!tty schools or they interfere with my travelling plans. The school I am currently in 5 days a week up to Xmas have asked me if I will do 2 days after up till Easter as a job share and are willing to work around the fact that I shall not be available for the whole of February.
  11. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    I think you must have got the message by now - don't do it if you need a regular income! I haven't been offered a single day this term and I'm in the South East. (Admittedly I'm fussy but the consultants don't even try their luck with me any more!) Last term I turned down more days than I worked, but something has gone awry this term. Unless you're fine doing a long term placement for half your current salary, no sick or holiday pay and no pension benefits, don't touch it with a barge pole! Sorry it's so negative - most of the regular posters on this forum have known good times on supply, but no longer in the main. don't give up the day job!
  12. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    If you want a good work/life balance then consider a part time teaching position or leave teaching completely.

    Supply used to be a good option but that was a few years ago, my daily rate did not rise for almost ten years making it no longer viable as a living.

    Leaving a contracted post for supply would be a huge risk and I would rather swim with sharks then do it.
  13. peter12171

    peter12171 Star commenter

    Spot on.

    Unless you have no money worries and don’t mind being treated like something you’ve just stepped in!
  14. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Five years ago, I would have said supply would be a good stop gap job while your family is growing up; however, peter12171 says it all really.
  15. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Just to add to this:-

    I only manage on Supply because I accept long term posts.

    At best, you get paid to scale after 12 weeks, BUT..

    On long term,

    no Teacher Pension contributions

    Still planning and marking

    Rubbish behaviour (why are you still a visitor?)..

    No sick pay

    No paid leave for family emergencies..

    On Primary day to day, all marking and if the class teacher you're covering has PE or PPA they'll find another literacy or numeracy lesson for you to teach and mark.

    And this is assuming you get work. It took me a couple of years to get established. When schools were not cutting Supply.

    Look at alternative careers and start a retraining plan. I would if I was younger.
  16. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    VERY wise words from Deirds. Start a retraining plan.
    Lara mfl 05, agathamorse and peakster like this.
  17. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I would NEVER advise or encourage any young person to become a teacher these days.

    Sad isn't it - but there have been occasions recently that I think being a teacher these days is a mark of failure.
  18. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I agree. I would never encourage anyone to become a teacher.

    It is the Government that has failed the teachers.
  19. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Agree with the rest of @Deirds post but avoid falling into the 'You'll be paid to scale after 12 weeks' trap.

    1. Agencies (and schools) can and do liberally interpret what 'paid to scale' means and stuff you a little more.
    2. There's nothing to stop the school sacking you at the end of Week 12.
    3. If you're worth it at week 12 then you're worth it at week 2, I'll allow week 1 is proving yourself and seeing if it's working and other clichés.
    For long-term take any peanuts for Week 1 but spend that week plotting how you're going to drive up the pay to the correct rate for Week 2 (Week 3 at the latest) onwards. I've been on £195 a day (through an UC so take-home £125ish) since Easter 2017 as a result of doing this but that's mainly the lack of other Maths/Science supply who can hack it in bottom-end secondaries.
    BetterNow likes this.
  20. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    Good advice. For years now, supply teaching at best could only provide a small supplement to other sources of income, such as a pension. Now, not even that, in some parts of the country.

    Dealing with some of the con artists to be found in agencies, you are swimming with sharks.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.

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