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Continue as supply or accept one term contract?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by Kallie21, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. I know this might sound like a no-brainer, but I wonder if there's more to be considered than meets the eye ...
    I've been doing supply work for a few years now, and have become increasingly annoyed that despite being on U1 (grade) I'm being offered an ever decreasing daily rate.
    I have worked for best part of the last two terms at one school, on the daily supply rate. Now this school has offered me one further term's work, and a term's contract if I wish. It sounds obvious that I should accept the contract, but I just wondered if there are issues I haven't considered. For example, will my agency ditch me, once they learn that I've 'moonlighted'.
    I think there may be some legal/contractual considerations that the school has to face, but they seem happy enough to deal with these. But for myself, I just wondered .... am I better remaining as an agency staff member on the daily rate, or taking the one term contract?
    Advice please!

  2. Definitely take the contract. It has to be better paid than any agency money. On U1 you will find yourself significantly better off and you'll get paid for the holidays. You will be able to contribute to the pension and you'll be entitled to sick pay and maternity pay if necessary.
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    TAKE THE CONTRACT! It's a no-brainer. Regular work, which could lead to other things, paid over the holidays, someone to use for a reference for future job applications . . . .
  4. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    I've always prefered to stay on a supply basis since for me it offers a number of advantages
    1) As a supply you are not given those "extra little" tasks regular teachers get given, like rewriting a scheme of work or assessing new courses.
    2) Ofsted (usually) dont bother you, even though they are entitled to.
    3) I am looking for regular work, but considering both teaching and non teaching posts. Being on supply does not tie you into giving a long period of notice should something comes up. You strickly don't need to give any notice but that would be unprofessional whereas a week allow time to hand over to a replacement supply.
    4) Lesson observations are more informal.
    5) If the school is a real Hell hole you retrain the option to walk out before you finally lose it and "do one". Not happened to me but I have seen it.
    6) Do a good job and you will still get a reference and even asked back at a later date.
    7) Usually only asked to attend faculty meetings, rarely after school whole meetings (apart from when Ofsted are involved).
    On long term supply I do all the roles expected of a regular teacher, ie writing reports, Parent's Evenings, marking BTEC assignments etc and try to maintain good relationships with both the school and my agencies and so far this works for me but of course your circumstances might be different
  5. Many schools and agencies are truly expanding the roles of cover teachers e.g. lesson prep, marking etc etc One is now expected to do so much more than a mere CS particularly in the secondary science/maths sector...and doing long term supply can be highly demanding without the commensurate pay????!!![​IMG]
    So the contract should give a degree of better pay, financial security albeit short lived, sick pay, holiday pay, pension scheme???? But?

  6. Dear Kallie 21,
    My first question is: are the school taking you on for the term that coincides with or preceeds an Ofsted? Beware of walking into a situation of exploitation followed by expurgation! Many schools play that game, and it feels terrible to be brought in to trouble- shoot a mess the school have chosen to ignore, and then make it YOUR problem for a term. ( I speak of the last minute wall papering over the cracks job schools employ before Ofsted) They will not necessarily thank you or keep you on beyond the term's contract , and even if you are kept on beyond the term they might make you feel so unwelcome and 'redundant' after the inspectors have left, that you will elect to leave.
    As for the consequences of your action in taking the termly contract with the school...
    You need to read the small print of your supply contract . The expression for your taking that term's contract may not be 'moonlighting' but ' breach of contract'. The school want to take you on without the agency finding out, because the school do not want to pay the agency fee, usually a few thousand pounds. But if you are found out, not only will the agency ditch you, but they might put pressure on the school to cough up the fee, pressure which the school may pass on to you.
    The problem with your situation is that it seems you are relying on only one supply agency for your income. Antagonize them, and it may be beans on toast for awhile! Can you not sign up with other agencies so that you are not so reliant on one?
    You have clearly not had to move from the state to the Academy or independent system, where the Upper pay spine is not even recognised and you have to take a 10K paycut. Academies have their own salary scales and stop at around 36K, after which you have to take a leadership role like monitoring and evaluation for the whole school, staff professional development, or provision for more able students to move up to 40K.
    This is blow to teachers on UPS who suddenly find their pay is decimated . The supply agencies will pay you less than you are worth of course, because they have to take their cut. This is compounded by austerity measures in most schools that cannot afford to hand out permanent contracts except to NQT's, so they are hiring experienced teachers on temporary contracts. Even temporary contracts tend to go to the least expensive option. Ho HUM
    Supply agencies might find you work, but at a terrible cost. I worked one day in a school that wanted to hire me 2 months later when they advertised a post in the TES and I applied, but they cannot afford to buy me out of the agency. It seems agencies own you for 6 months after the last day you have worked for any of the schools on their books, charge the school at least 15% of your negotiated salary, or they force the school to employ you through their agency, which means that you either lose out on the job entirely, ( like me) or have to continue to work on a supply basis for a further term or two with no pension contributions or security.
    It has also come to my attention that supply agencies will call you about " the perfect job" and "how interested a school is in your CV", when you know nothing about the situation. But if the agency send your CV to every school to which you might possibly want to apply ( in my case every SEN school within 50 miles) guess what? Eventually you WILL end up reading in the TES that a job is going at your specialty school, and you will apply to that school in your subject/ specialty area. Subsequently, you will either have to buy yourself out of the agency ( because the school won't) and pay up to 8000 pounds, or just accept the school cannot afford you, or as stated above, continue on supply for longer than you would like.
    No matter what way you look at it, it is a no win situation. Sorry to be so cynical, but letting agencies and recruitment companies pass your CV around like sweeties is just shooting yourself in the foot.
    A school head told me some schools now advertize their vacancies online on the school website or eteach to circumvent the 3000 pound TES fee ( think about an academy school losing 5-6 staff every year and needing to advertise!)
    While supply agencies organise your vetting and CRB, it is possible to approach some schools directly, especially the academies and independent/ private sector.
    But their contracts may not follow the teachers pay and conditions act and you may still find yourself in the Wild West of Teachers Land....
    Good Luck - it is a jungle out there!

  7. Thanks for the replies - some interesting points.
    I work for three agencies, so I suppose my relationship with the one who placed me with this school is not so crucial, although I wouldn't like it to turn sour. I know it's tough out there!
    I have checked through my 'contract' and laughed when I read several times, the words 'this in no way constitutes a contract' ... yet they mention that if I were to work for a 'client' within ten weeks of the last last day of an assignment they had instigated with this same client, then a fee would be due to them. They don't actually put a price on this; well not on my 'non contract' anyway.
    I wonder, (especially with reference to Rumpelstilt's post above) has anyone actually heard of an agency suing for breach of contract, and/or successfully claiming the agency fee?
    I have made a few phone calls and have only heard about one instance where an agency pressed a school for a fee (of over £2000 - this was a few years ago). In this case, the Head told the agency to p*ss off and heard nothing further.
    I will almost certainly accept the term's contract - I am so sick of working at well below my UPS1 rate, and having the agency take a huge slice. Yes, I know they found me the work, but our reliance on agencies is not our choice, is it? Sadly, there is no local authority 'pool' in this region.
    Thanks for the good points made about the extra responsibilities I'm likely to be expected to shoulder - yes, I am sure I'll be attending more meetings etc, and I hadn't actually thought about this, but I reckon the OFSTED point applies whether on supply or contract.

  8. Finder's fees can turn around and bite you. Some schools try and pass the fee onto you, which would hardly make the contract worth having: you might have three months pay and lose one of those months paying the fee.
    I would urge caution, as there must be a reason for the school offering you a temporay contract, rather than keeping you on supply.
  9. Hi all, Just replying in response to agency fees. I am currently on supply after travelling and looking to convert into a full time post at the school I am currently on supply at. The school and myself have been worried about the 'buying out' of a contract...however, I met a person who was starting their own educational recruitment company and she said that after 12 weeks of continued service in the same school, then the supply teacher takes on the rights of a full time employee and that agencies are no longer legally entitled to a 'buy out' fee. She said they would still press for one, but legally, there are no rights as the terms of employment have changed. This doesn't apply if you have worked in more than one school or there has been a break in your employment over those 12 weeks. Then they can still legally ask for a fee!
    Cheeky supply agencies... My school are checking on this ASAP. Hope this helps!
  10. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    whether to take the contract is also made less certain if you have been there for 12 weeks and qualify for full pay and conditions under the AWR.
    I now do and thought the school/agency would wriggle out of it, but having left it a few weeks i am promised back pay too! not sure what they wiill actually pay, but it is better than a poke in the eye witha pointy stick

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