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New to supply

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by ReturntoTeach, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. ReturntoTeach

    ReturntoTeach New commenter

    Hello everyone ,
    I am new to supply and will be starting in September 2019 .
    Does anyone have any advise for me ? Also can you tell me whether September is usually busy for supply work . My subject is Computing/ICT .
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    Welcome to the forum.

    Yes, there is plenty of advice here for you. Also support when days get hard and a group who will also cheer when you have had a good day.

    1. Up at the top of this forum, there is a thread titled New To Supply, so start there and read through the posts you think might be of use/interest to you.

    2. Sit down with a piece of paper and jot down specific things you want answers to regarding what you want to know about supply and post them on here if you didn't find what you wanted/needed from the New to Supply thread.

    Unless you have a long term supply role starting in September, generally September can be a slow period ( but there may be exceptions) and in my experience, work starts to pick up in about week 5 or just when schools reopen after the first half term break sometime in October.

    Please be aware the amount of work you will receive largely depends on what area of the country you are in and there are some places where there is definitely more work.

    Regarding work in September, my best advice for you is to mentally prepare for anything. Be available, but have some work/hobbies/interests/jobs to do to keep you busy until the work does start to pick up because you do not want to be in a spiral of being depressed because the phone isn't ringing off the walls.

    If you are mentally prepared and have a plan B then you will be much happier. So, over the summer if you possibly can, try to save some money to put away in case work does not pick up immediately. You have to have a very strong mental attitude to keep going and not take it to heart if the work does not come in immediately since you will not be known to the agencies or schools and it will take some time to get off the track and show them how well you can teach and manage classes.

    If you are willing to do general cover in addtion to Computing/IT then you will get more work if that is your aim. Everyone has to make up their own minds about what work they will do. Also, you may get more work if you are willing to teach both primary and secondary.

    All the best for September and don't forget if you have more specific questions then don't hesitate to post them on here.
  3. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter


    Agree with Everything Pepper said.

    From your user name it sounds like you’ve had a break.

    I would think you might easily get long term work if you want it. Can you offer Maths as well?

    It took me two years before I started getting regular work, though doing 2 lengthy Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses at twilight sessions restricted my availability.

    Day to day in Secondary is not common in my experience and is often offered at Cover Supervisor rates (half pay).

    Primary expect you to mark everything before you go home.

    Given your subject is computing it might be worth your while transitioning into an IT role outside teaching during quiet times. Peak Supply is November to May I think.

    Good luck
  4. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    Should I be thinking of doing supply (I'm not in any serious sense) I'd really appreciate these helpful comments, rather than a list of reasons why I shouldn't try supply, trying to put me off. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, born of experience.
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. ReturntoTeach

    ReturntoTeach New commenter

    Hi Lucy, I am a little confused . Did you mean to answer this thread ?
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. ReturntoTeach

    ReturntoTeach New commenter

    Thank you to everyone that gave me some advice . Much appreciated .
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    Hi - I did mean to answer this one! To be honest, I was expecting to see a flood of responses saying how awful supply teaching was in schools, how dreadful schools/pupils/SLT were, and how naive you were to consider it. Instead, you got constructive comments which I felt restored some balance compared to other threads and so I noted it!
    ReturntoTeach and pepper5 like this.
  8. The-Gaffer

    The-Gaffer Occasional commenter

    Hi @ReturntoTeach can I assume you've already registered with several supply agencies? Got a DBS on the update service? And sorted your references?

    If not get this done now so you are ready to go in September. It's likely you won't be that busy for the first few weeks so you might want to try phoning round all your agencies in the first week back to remind them of your existence.

    Your subject however is a big advantage and I think you should be able to pick up work quickly as ict computing is usually one department that is understaffed in schools.

    I'll let @JohnJCazorla explakn market forces & how to negotiate a good daily rate - he does it much better than I

    From my own experience of spending 3 Septembers on supply before I got back into full time at Easter - the first year whilst I was establishing myself with agencies/schools I had nothing till October then lots of daily gigs till Easter where I picked up 2 half term positions in separate schools. Year 2 I started picking up work in October again & worked all the way through till the end of the school year on long term positions. This September I started straight away as I was asked back to a school I had been in the year before as they had 2 maternity cases & needed a safe pair of hands. I left at Easter back to a permanent post.

    So it varies but I think your subject will help you
  9. The-Gaffer

    The-Gaffer Occasional commenter

    Hi Lucy - pretty much everyone who posts on the Supply sub board gives great advice based on extensive experience. We have a range from ex heads who are just starting supply to people who have supplied for many years because it suits thier lifestyle choices

    I know hanging out on Workplace Dilemmas might make the whole internet seem like one big troll fest but we don't roll that over here @pepper5 wouldnt allow it !!
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Supply can be a VERY positive experience, but it would be not true to state some of the negative aspects of it; but those aspects have been written about as you say on other threads and the OP wanted general advice.

    The best advice is to be prepared as far as possible and to try to avoid some of the "trip wires".

    Only covering a subject specialism in good schools is going to be vastly different from going to any school covering any subject.
  11. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    Yes, I know there can be hugely challenging experiences as a supply role, as in substantive posts, and I wouldn't want to suggest it's all rosy... It was just good to see a bit of balance!
    ReturntoTeach and pepper5 like this.
  12. ReturntoTeach

    ReturntoTeach New commenter

    Nice !
  13. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Yes, balance is good.

    To the OP I would say if there are any specific questions about any aspect if supply after you read the New to Supply thread, then post them on here.
    ReturntoTeach likes this.
  14. ReturntoTeach

    ReturntoTeach New commenter

    Thanks for your post. Extremely useful .
    pepper5 likes this.
  15. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    For a non-economist like me Market Forces are easy to explain “Agencies are only interested in Money and they ruthlessly engineer their advantages, personnel and market knowledge to maximise their income “
    Negotiation is simpler for long-term, I would accept any peanuts for Week 1 but be pushing for the ‘proper ‘ rate thereafter. This pushing is all at the agency on the assumption that their cut is exorbitant.

    Will continue tomorrow.....
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  16. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    ...........Apologies for the gap, too late at night and on my phone.

    My negotiations with the agency are always polite and grateful for the effort they are putting in for me (I know, I know). This means I regretfully decline the (derisory) offer given by saying that I can't really afford it and "I know that you'll have got the best deal you could but...." @Teslasmate appears to take a much more confrontational approach which also works. Maybe we're both playing our luck in being in the right area (I'm Maths/Science in West Yorks) and the agent knows it's me or nobody. Also I don't mind being in the bottom-end schools.

    Day-to-day is trickier as it has to move much quicker. I always show interest and keep the agent on and only ask about the rate at the end. This means that the time-pressured parasite has to decide whether to accept the reduced cut or risk bailing out and trying the next one. I must be near the bottom of most lists which means I can push more as it's still me or nobody.

    I got my negotiating skills by buying a lot of drinks for a salesman friend of mine. As he's in business-to-business sales he is used to all the garbage that comes up in negotiations and for a few pints he'll coach me through all the possible scenarios I can imagine. Well worth the consultation fee! Can you find a similar friend?
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  17. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Perhaps I should gather my thoughts before typing..... (then again this is the internet)

    The big advantage agencies have is with knowledge of the market, you can't duplicate that but if you see any supply teacher then get in the habit of asking what they are receiving for that gig, of course you should offer your current rate as well. By this sharing then we might all be able to push the agencies to give up some of their cut.
  18. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Assuming that you are currently unemployed (just qualified?) you should immediately sign on for JSA (or whatever has replaced it in some areas). You must be able to say that you are looking for f/t work and are available for f/t work.
    Your jobsearch can be for permanent and temporary teaching posts and can involve applying to agensies and directly to schools.
    If you have low or zero savings, you will be assessed for means-tested benefits and will het Housing Benefit and Council Tax Relief if you rent your own home. You will also get all the other freebies such as prescriptions, dental and optical care.
    When term starts again and supply days materialise, you will continue to sign on (and get NI credits) whilst declaring the hours worked in each of your Benefit Weeks and, once pay arrives, declaring your take-home pay. They will then adjust any benefits paid out until such time as you are getting enough work to sign off.

    After a time they will require you to look for any work that you are capable of doing if you are not getting results just looking for teaching work.

    If the LA is in a consortium with a supply agency (as in Lancashire) prioritise registration with that consortium for supply work as it will mean getting the full daily rate for any work.
    Circulate your CV to all the schools in your ttravel-to-work area. If handing them in personally once term starts in September, ask to see the person responsible for supply cover and attach a passport-sized photo to your CV. That way you are creating familiarity when that employee if looking for someone.
    Decide if you would be comfortable doing general supply cover. Are there any other subjects that you would be prepared to offer? I loved doing PE and Art. My specialism was MFL.
    JohnJCazorla and pepper5 like this.
  19. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Join a union.
  20. 50sman

    50sman Lead commenter

    With your subject you will have no problems finding work

    I never did!

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