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How does supply teaching work?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by year1109, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. year1109

    year1109 New commenter

    If anyone has ever worked for a supply agency, can you please clear this up for me?

    How do agencies decide who to ring first to offer daily supply? I am currently on supply and I seem to be getting a good amount of daily supply. I have wondered if they go off the geographical location of supply teachers perhaps in order to decide who to ring first?
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    That would presume some organisation on the side of the agency.;)

    I have known staff be asked to travel 20 miles whereas I live within a mile.(Local school , where I've found out from pupils someone else was asked. o_O)

    In my experience they have a list of 'favoured names, whether because they usually accept / have had good recommendations / are cheaper . . . . who knows.

    Sometimes I was convinced they went alphabetically as my friend and I being near the beginning of the alphabet seemed to get more work.

    In reality there may be as many different ways as there are different agencies and different people working in them. Will probably be dependent on the actual person phoning.
    JohnJCazorla, agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  3. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    If you answer and go where asked on short notice then you'll get plenty of calls.
  4. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I also think the consultants have their own lists of schools and teachers. So the school will ring their consultant who then looks at their list of staff and picks one. Sometimes I get a call from another consultant for a school that is quite close to where I live. That school is not on my consultant's list.
  5. elvispenhaligon

    elvispenhaligon Occasional commenter

    The secret of supply is to be the person who says yes. "Would you like to drive 40 miles to the academy of shaggin and stabbin for CS rates"

  6. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    I've always assumed that agencies have a database that they apply various filters to before a cheapest first sort. So why would you want to be top of any list?

    As I can charge a lot then I hardly get phone calls but at least if they ring me I know they're desperate already.;)
    Mermaid7, agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  7. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    I am happy to work half days so I get plenty of work that way.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  8. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    I can't see why it's so great to get lots of work, especially in the bottom-end schools that consume supply the most.

    However I can see a benefit in getting lots of money and that will automatically bump me down every 'preferred' list going. But the cheapies run out, sometimes literally, so I'm still in demand.

    "Long live the recruitment crisis, may it last until September 2025",

    (when the youngest Cazorla goes off to Uni and Mrs C will allow me to consider retirement.)
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  9. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I always found as I was prepared to do half days if fairly local at least I did get offered a lot of work. And I was prepared to 'work round' timetabling and offer numerous subjects which helped.
  10. Lucilla90

    Lucilla90 Occasional commenter

    Definitely...be prepared to say yes to pretty much anything. Once they know they can rely on you, you get more calls and then better opportunities.

    I did draw the line at a 100 mile round trip, also was reluctant for afternoons-only. I was paid less than for a morning despite having to get there early to find out what I was doing and having to mark afterwards. However, as long as they weren’t too far away I even did those.

    I don’t know if there’s a system or spreadsheet. We had to fill in a questionnaire including where we were willing to go, but I was still asked to go to various other locations.
  11. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    How does Supply teaching work?
    They get the work,
    You do the work.
    You go 50/50
    What's not to like?
    JohnJCazorla and Mermaid7 like this.
  12. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    The way supply works will vary from agency to agency and even between consultants within the same agency.

    But the basic premise is that agencies will favour teachers they know they can rely on. Most agencies will have a "pecking list" of teachers. Those at the top are ones that have been with the agency some time, are flexible and have good relationships with the schools they go to. In short they are the ones that generate the income for the agency and themselves. These teachers will get offered first pickings of any work going. New teachers to the agency will initially be a the bottom of the list and only get offered the "dregs". (It will not matter how long you have actually been a teacher or past history outside the agency).

    As the newbies successfully complete placements they will start to climb the ladder and in turn get more offers of work. It pays at first to be less fussy about what and where you go in order to build a relationship with your agency. Even try the "horrible " schools, sometimes they are not that bad and you can always tell an agency you will not go there again after trying it which many agencies will respect.

    But it can take some time to climb the ladder and become one of the" chosen few". However the more opportunities you grab the more opportunities come your way. A bit like life really :)
  13. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    With my agency I get paid the same rate for mornings and afternoons.
    BetterNow and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  14. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    year 1109, it tends to be a mixture of favourites and in some cases who the cover manager or the school likes.

    As others have said, the agencies like to pay well qualified teachers peanuts for making them a nice profit at our expense.
  15. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    I do agree but will add it is also incredibly easy to fall off that ladder as soon as the agency thinks you are not reliable. And that is much easier to achieve than climbing up!

    I did have to take a break due to another line of work for a while and when I went back to supply it was like starting all over again. To be fair to the agency, if they send another teacher to take your usual placements and that teacher does well, you cannot really blame them for choosing others as you build up your 'reputation' again.

    So my advice - once you get placed at schools you like tell the school and the agency so both can consider you ready and able when needed for that placement.

    Or simply.....be careful out there :D

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    It pays to be extremely helpful when you are in the school, too. Be nice to the people handing out the cover, don’t create problems by putting kids in detention (even if you have to be a bit of an aunt Sally) and always leave a tidy classroom. If possible, chat with people in the department, don’t just eat your lunch in the staff room. If you can take longer spells in one place, that’s also a help. And when you are developing a relationship with the school, let the agency know. They would rather send a good supply teacher regularly than just anybody they can find. Your relationship with the school helps theirs.
  17. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    If you like the school another tactic I use is that should you get a 'free' period (Pretty rare) is to offer to support another teacher in the dept. Helps to keep you remembered.
  18. Lucilla90

    Lucilla90 Occasional commenter

    Yes, schools will ask for you by name, if you get remembered for being fabulous.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    I like this. Think I probably did it. Basically, act like a member of their staff in all ways and they will treat you with a lot more respect.
  20. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    Yes. I used to do that in some of my "regular" schools where I knew the other teachers. It was especially appreciated during science practicals when another teacher can be very useful.

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