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Idiots guide to Supply needed!

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by Mary_Mary510, Sep 10, 2015.

  1. I am on the verge of accepting a Settlement Agreement from a position I have been in for last 11 years (no child protection, competency etc issues) and am thinking of trying out supply to a) help build my confidence in the classroom back up and b) pay the bills.

    However I am completely clueless about supply teaching, can anyone offer a starters guide or answer the following?

    1. Am I expected to get a new DBS for the agency?

    2. What duties is a supply expected to carry out exactly? Planning, assessing, duty etc?

    3. I have read about people setting up limits companies, how does this work?

    Any other info I need to be aware of before I decide??

    Thanks in advance

  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Mary

    If you search this site you will find loads of posts to get you started as a supply teacher. For anyone starting out I would suggest the following.

    Firstly, try contacting schools directly to offer your services as a supply teacher. Schools are set up now to tell you what they need in terms of DBS checks and how to pay you. It is not as complicated as it sounds.

    If you decide to let agencies do the leg work for you, then ask supply teachers who you meet or post on here to ask for the names of the best agencies in your area. Select three of the best ones and go about registering. The agencies will tell you what they require in terms of DBS checks and references and so forth. Before you sign with agencies ensure they pay you PAYE and do not use an umbrella company. search this forum for more on any to avoid umbrella companies.

    Decide what year groups you want to teach; if you feel prepared you will get more work if you are able fo teach primary and secodary.

    As a supply teacher, most of the time planning will be left for you unless you are on a !ong term placemeng. If you are in primary, you will be expected to mark the work before you leave for the day, but usually no marking is required in secondary unless you are on a long term placement.

    Behaviour management in some schools will be challenging. You may need to hone your skills in that area.

    Setting up a limited company is not hard. Go onto Companies House web site and it explains it there.

  3. Thanks for the advice pepper5.

    What happens to regards to a teachers pension when they do supply?

    Also, with regards to the ltd company, is that only an option if you get supply directly from a school and not an agency?

    Sorry if these questions sound obvious, I have been very sheltered in the same position for many years & am clueless!
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    As a supply teacher you won't pay into the normal TP.

    Regarding getting paid by a school directly, you don't have to operate as a limited company. It there are tax advantages to doing so.

    I forgot to mention it in my previous post but whatever you do ensure you remain in union.
  5. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    If you do go the agency route, at least you'll have the easiest job interview of your life. As long as you produce photo ID, your DBS certficate and your teaching qualification, and you can answer some really basic questions about teaching, you're in.

    However you do need to negotiate a deal from the word go and ask about pay and conditions. Agencies do not afford their candidates the same rights as full-time employed teachers. There is no holiday pay (other than a small percentage that some agencies withhold and which you can reclaim after a given number of hours have been worked), no pension rights (other than a very basic statutory workplace pension), no sick pay and no job security. Stipulate, as Pepper has noted, PAYE payroll only, not umbrella company. The whole point of agencies is to run a business that makes money.

    They charge schools around £200 per day, they pay you what you dare negotiate. All rates of pay are negotiable so don't accept the first offer. They will try to get away with paying you about £100 per day. Since there are only 195 school days in a year, this would tot up to £19,500 per annum if you were placed for full days every single available day. Every time you get something right and a school ask for you back, ask the agency for more. If it's a long commute, ask for more. They will probably say yes. There is a teacher shortage and other agencies are all trying to get people placed in that magic 7.00 - 8.00 a.m. window. Most day to day work is ad hoc and not pre-booked.

    I would strongly suggest that you do not accept what is euphemistically described as a "guaranteed work contract" from an agency. This is because it robs you of the only right that a supply teacher has, the right to equal pay after a 12 week placement.

    It is vital that you keep a diary of where you have worked and what hours you did and check it against your payslip. Some agencies still expect you to fill in a timesheet. Always keep copies. Any conversations that you have with the agency need to be confirmed in an email.

    The work is sporadic so you need to be enrolled with several agencies but be warned, if you go to a school and you want to work there independently, the school will be required to pay an introduction fee to the agency (massive) for up to six months.

    Ring around schools too, keep pestering them. They're used to it.

    Be prepared for a slow start, so you will have to bite into your savings. If you are not receiving any wages because the agency has not placed you, you are entitled to benefits. You paid tax for years, so don't be shy about asking for some money from the Jobcentre. If you are working less than 15 hours per week, you can keep a claim open but just declare any hours you worked. It's only £72 per week but it's your right. Also notify your union that you are now supply as your subscription rates will be a lot lower and you could be entitled to a refund.

    As for duties once you are placed, on a day to day placement, the school is required to provide you with lesson plans, access to registers and access to the rooms where the lessons are to take place. Most decent schools have an info. pack for visitors, so get there really early in order to have a quick read through.

    Many schools only have allocated parking behind locked gates, so again, get there really early as most school premises are now bristling with security. Before you accept a placement, check that you really can get there by 8.30. Agencies have a habit of drastically underestimating commuting distances and how long it takes to get there at peak traffic times. It's best to be honest and say it's too far to go, they might offer you a bit more money in order to get the deal.

    Don't provide any materials or resources at your own expense. You cannot claim out-of-pocket expenses from your agency (even though they will pretend that you can if you get paid via umbrella company - actually you can't). Do not bring in any memory sticks or laptops of your own. For obvious safeguarding reasons, schools don't like it.

    You should not be expected to do break or bus duty unless you are on a long term placement of several weeks. Lunchtime supervision is the responsibility of the school's own support staff. You are entitled to a lunch break, so have a quiet read.

    You do not have to plan lessons as you don't have access to class lists etc. so you can't know what the kids' learning needs are, also you probably won't have a photocopy access so it's not your problem. This is something the school is contractually obliged to do. If a client school fails to provide lesson plans, tell the agency to get you out of there.

    In primary placements you are expected to mark literacy and numeracy work done in class but not any homework assignments that they might hand in. You do not need to to mark extensively, give written feedback or enter marks to the markbook/ online system.

    As Pepper has said, kids will try it on if they know you're supply or if you seem flustered, so you need to be very assertive in the first couple of minutes. Put your name on the board, be at the door as they come in, get them seated and registered really quickly and that should reassure most of them that you are in charge. If it all goes pear shaped and it's a badly run school with nasty colleagues, forget it. Tomorrow's another day.

    Supply is a different game altogether, however, if you get placed regularly, it's not bad. You go in, do your bit and you're home before the shops are shut. You can watch TV or go to the gym because there's no planning or marking, you don't have to sit through meetings looking at pie charts and working out what the various acronyms stand for, no one is observing you, no more rewriting the scheme of work yet again, you have no targets, you can relax at the end of the day and drop in tomorrow and just interact with the kids like you're supposed to. You can supplement your income with tuition, you can have a hobby now, you can sort out your stuff and have a car boot sale at last.

    When you're ready, you can accept longer term placements having sized up all the local schools and seen which ones are viable.

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