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Is supply career suicide?

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by foremsy, Sep 27, 2015.

  1. foremsy

    foremsy New commenter


    I've been teaching for 15yrs, and I've been in my current school for nearly ten years. I am lucky to work part-time but I have had enough of school politics and departmental put-downs. I love the school and I love the kids; I enjoy teaching but I hate marking and all the extra, unnecessary paperwork. However, I have tried to leave the school; I've applied for full-time jobs, I've tried the private sector, but what it all boils down to, is pay and experience. I'm UPS 2 and I'm only looking for a classroom teaching post. I'm too expensive.

    So, where do I go next? Before I drown my tears in yet another glass of wine, with the whole trepidation of going into work, I have decided to hand in my notice at half-term, with the intention of leaving at Christmas. My question: is doing supply work as hard as it seems? I have read other threads on here, and I can see permanent teachers putting down those who do supply; as if it is giving up, and therefore shouldn't get paid a decent amount. However, I need to work; I've got three kids under 10yrs so I'm thinking supply is my only way forward for the time being, as part-time jobs don't seem to be available.

    I have no idea what else I can do and I feel like I'm floundering a little (indeed, look at the waffle I've just written - apologies!). I was thinking of trying to last the year, but I don't actually think I can. I'm slowly sinking into a depression, and rather than get signed off work, I think it would be better to make a clean break so that my CV/reputation is (relatively) in tact.

    Any advice/reassuring words would be greatly appreciated. And tips on how to write a decent resignation letter without falling apart would be appreciated too!

    Many thanks.

    PS Sorry the long-winded moan; got a bit carried away!
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter


    Lots of points, and here's my view.

    If you're on UPS2 and want to be a classroom practitioner, you are going to have to justify to the school why you deserve to be on UPS. What have you achieved? What can you bring to the school? As pay portability has now been abolished, schools can pay what they choose - it really is no longer a case of rejecting a candidate on grounds of expense.

    However, you say you hate paperwork and marking. If that's the case, supply might be a good bet, as if you choose daily, you can go in, deliver the lessons, then leave. But, if you are offered a long term contract, you will be expected to do planning/marking/attending meetings - at a lower rate than that of a permanent salary.

    I am slightly bemused at your comments claiming permanent staff put supply teachers down. When anyone posts on here about moving to supply, or back to perm from it, the responses are supportive - but honest. I've guessed you are Secondary as you write of departmental politics - be aware that in some areas there is very little work, and what is available is often paid badly due to agency rates and Cover Supervisors.

    Frankly, you should see your GP. If you are sinking into a depression - you need to see someone to get advice. The Teacher Support Network are extremely helpful - you can ring them.

    As for the resignation letter - TheoGriff and MiddleMarch can offer better advice than I, but all I will say is that it should be calm, state when you wish to leave, and positive about the time you have spent there. After nearly ten years in one school it could be all you need is another school.

    Good luck.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  3. foremsy

    foremsy New commenter

    Thank you for your quick advice, CWadd; it is appreciated. I think you are right - it is more a question of needing to be in another school, as I do enjoy teaching, and to be honest, I don't mind the lesson planning; it is more the negativity than anything else. As for my comment about supply teaching, it is because of a thread I had been following about supply pay, and it was getting quite heated! :)
  4. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    No problem. Do see your GP though!
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I will echo everything said by CW above. In particular the advice to get support from your GP. To be frank, a teaching post nowadays with 3 small children is not easy, so I think you have done marvellously well to manage so well up to now!

    But my word of caution must be this: supply work will not give you the financial stability that you may need. It's not just about the rate that you may get paid, it's about the days of work that you will or will not get. And possibly about the strain of having to get yourself onto an unknown school several times a week . . .

    Have you considered instead asking your current school to allow you to go part time? you have a legal right to make such a request . . . ask me for further details if you think that this might be a solution.

  6. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    CWadd is correct. Let me be clear, any comments I made on the other thread were not critical or dismissive of supply staff. Simply a economic argument.

    Realistically it depends on finances. Supply is fine if you can afford to work intermittently during the dry periods. If not then long term I doubt it is an option. At my school we only use supply for longer term work unless we have a lot of illness. This maybe wouldn't give you the lifestyle you crave as they are expected to mark etc.

    Your ups 2 is not really relevant now. Could you afford to drop to move? Would you want to? Only you can answer this. To me it sounds like you need a fresh start, but how far are you willing to compromise?
    CWadd likes this.
  7. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    UPS2 and looking for a normal teaching job?

    Forget it. Experience is a poor second to cost these days

    Sorry, but that's the way it is. You may drop lucky though...
  8. smileycat_02

    smileycat_02 New commenter

    I'm currently working supply. Some supply agencies offer a minimum work contract for security. This means they pledge to find you up to 4 days supply a week at an agreed minimum rate (at your level it should be around £120 a day).

    If they cannot find work for you they have to pay you anyway, the downside is you have less right to refuse a particular school/job sent your way if you have not worked your agreed days for the week.

    You can also arrange for contributions from your pay to be paid into an account which you can access as holiday pay.

    I was a head of faculty and quit to regain some of my life back. I now work 8.30-3pm and the evenings and weekends are mine. My advice would be to contact some agencies and arrange to meet them for a registration chat. You can register with more than one agency and negotiate a minimum rate of pay. I met 8 agencies and settled on the two that I felt could offer me more of what I was looking for in my area.

    I am definitely stress free now, although this is not a permanent solution for me as I am applying for youth work positions now.
  9. rachelpaula008

    rachelpaula008 Star commenter

    I'll start by saying I don't have three children, foremsy! And - having worked as a teacher for 12 ish years I never achieved UPS. Years of working in two schools under special measures gave me that glowing feeling of never being good enough, especially when both schools became academies. UPS became a pipe dream.

    Yet - I became a supply teacher when I could no longer cope with the workload in mainstream. I looked on a generic jobs internet site and found a supply company which places teachers in private 'special' schools. I have since been offered a full-time and permanent position as my skills in mainstream are just so transferable. I'm not going to give extra details as I'm anxious about being identified. But I'm earning £120 daily and my full-time salary will be a few grand off top of the main scale. There's not a high drop-out rate at the school and the company are very supportive.

    I absolutely understand your concerns about a drop in salary but please consider quality of life and your well-being. If you feel you can afford to do so then please look around - and not just at supply in mainstream.

    I hope this is of some help. Good luck x
  10. rachelpaula008

    rachelpaula008 Star commenter

    Sorry!! I missed details in my last post.

    I was at the top of MPS and was paid a modest TLR for leading a subject. Just adding this to state I took a pay cut but it was ok.
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    There are some really helpful comments above from posters about their supply experience.

    Thank you very much!


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