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Only 26 supply days this year... the worst by far!

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by cole1978, Mar 23, 2019.

  1. cole1978

    cole1978 New commenter

    In 11 years of supply teaching in London and the West Midlands, it is true that there have been challenges in gaining short and long-term contracts. However, since September there has been an absolute drought, I just want to reach out and enquire whether this is a wider problem? I am registered with dozens of agencies, I am willing to commute some 30 miles within the West Midlands, I can cover in primary and offer several Humanities subjects to Key Stage 5. Any feedback would be much appreciated!
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    It is not helpful to say unkind remarks on these threads as especially you never really know the circumstances of people posting.
    Dinay, Mermaid7, JohnJCazorla and 6 others like this.
  4. lynneseptember

    lynneseptember Senior commenter

    An unfair remark, @binaryhex. Rather racist undertones, I think.
    In addition, you knew full well what the poster was saying and asking. Better to say nothing than be sarcastic.

    I suspect, @Cole that the problem is fairly widespread, and a combination of factors may be at play:

    Many more teachers are now seeking supply than used to be the case.

    Agencies will try to place qualified teachers into schools at only cover supervisor/TA rates, therefore some teachers will turn this down ( understandably, in my opinion).

    School budgets are increasingly squeezed, and I think that the supply budget is one of the first to be cut. As a result, schools will try to cover internally, especially if it's just for a day or two.

    I certainly noticed a steep decline in work in my final year of supply teaching, especially as I was not interested in anything long term. I also refused to do cover supervisor/TA cover. Perhaps I didn't help myself, but I deplore the way the system has devalued a teachers true worth and expertise.

    Sorry to be so pessimistic, and perhaps things will pick up, but I'm not optimistic about it.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    This has been one of my best years in the number of days I have worked; however, a lot of the work around here is in schools where the behaviour is AWFUL. I only do day to day supply.

    If you can find something outside of supply you will be better off.
  6. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Are you primary or secondary trained, @cole1978? Here in London, I know personally a handful of former colleagues, three of us in so-called 'shortage subjects', and none of us has had anything in the last couple of years. We dream of getting twenty-six days.

    There is some longer-term work available but only if you are willing to do a full-on teaching role for shelf-fillers' wages, in badly-managed 'Hell-Hole Highs'. Day-to-day has been dead for years. A friend's wife does primary supply, and she gets the odd day, or half-day, here and there but that is about all.

    Over the last school year, i have noticed that the cold-calls from agencies, inviting me to register with them, have declined markedly.
  7. cole1978

    cole1978 New commenter

    You are like a lot of teachers I have met. You need to work on your social skills!
    Dinay, flyuplife and simonCOAL like this.
  8. cole1978

    cole1978 New commenter

    I am a secondary trained RE teacher. There is a loop hole, which allows secondary trained teachers to teach in primary schools too. I was a supply teacher in London. The worst year in London was in 2011-12 when I taught for 68.5 days!
    pepper5 likes this.
  9. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Thank you, @cole1978. 2011-12 was the year i entered the supply game; a time of dearth!
    cole1978 and pepper5 like this.
  10. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

  11. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    Cole, my I ask how many agencies are you registered with? I must admit I am surprised at the lack of work you have been given, that is shocking to say the least, do you phone theme and pester them everyday for work? I hope that things pick up for you and you get more days in the schools in the West MIdlands, are you based near any major urban areas or are you moral rural?
  12. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    I've had the grand total of six days since September - with two arranged for next week. To be fair, I turn down a lot of work -for various reasons - and I don't really need the money but like to keep my hand in. I didn't get offered any days last term but I was given a new consultant who eventually left (we can probably work out why!)
    @binaryhex your comment was harsh and unnecessary - we're all in this together on this forum and we should all seek to support each other without recourse to smart-aleck remarks.
  13. cole1978

    cole1978 New commenter

    I am registered with numerous agencies, I live in Coventry and am willing to commute to most places within the West Midlands. I have turned down a bit of work, but the fact remains: last years I did 114 days; 92.5 days the year before. It seems there has been a serious downturn. I was meant to be on a long term role this half-term, but I was cut short after two weeks, when they decided cover teachers could undertake my RE teaching role!
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    My availability has been patchy But I managed about 10 full weeks before Christmas. I have done 9 days so far this term and have another 15 booked up to the Easter Break. I wasn't available for the whole of February and neither was I available last week. My agency has offered me lots of work if I would commit to longer term placements without time off but that does not suit my current lifestyle. After Easter I have other stuff I need to do plus a fortnight away in May so cannot commit to any prolonged placements.
    agathamorse and lynneseptember like this.
  15. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I sometimes get calls from the Coventry office of my agency offering me work in the city or round about such as Stratford or Alcester. I normally work out of Birmingham. However I am Science which may have more of a shortage than RE.
  16. cole1978

    cole1978 New commenter

    What has made things worse this year is the fact that two long-term contracts have ended prematurely for me. I was initially booked in to work for some 60 days at a college, but they merged the classes and I was let go after 18 days. In addition, recently I was booked in for 24 days, but they left me go after 8 days, having decided to let cover teachers absorb my timetable.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Not being funny - but you need to analyze why you have been replaced twice already this year.

    For me it would be ringing a few alarm bells.
    pepper5 and Jesmond12 like this.
  18. The-Gaffer

    The-Gaffer Occasional commenter

    Hi @cole1978 im Birmingham based ... Although RE isn't my subject I can tell you that since Feb the school I am doing supply in has had a cover person from an agency delivering RE on a full timetable in as much as they took over from an NQT who left at Feb half term

    I chat to staff & SLT it seems that "there are no decent ..." Insert pretty much any subject, teachers out there who want a full, time post. I'm doing Science & Maths as the school I'm in like most can't recruit in these subjects despite trying

    I'd recommend joining a few more agencies as although where I'm at right now I don't see many supply last year I was in a school where the supply was plentiful, when I chatted to them they were from a range of agencies all seemed busy - how true that is I don't know as it could all be smoke & mirrors of course

    Edit - just re-read your op, you aren't registered with a few. Do you ring them regularly? When I wasn't getting work from one agency last year after working a lot for them previously I used to really pester them.
    I'm wondering if you might need a fresh agency who will get you out working straight away to reboot the year for you.

    I know when I'd joined a new agency they tend to get you a day pretty quick, then it's on you to impress the school
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  19. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Having long-term gigs (or those sold to you as such) cut short need not be any reflection on you, as subject specialists can be called in to 'inject a bit of expertise', or to supervise coursework, and then dumped for a cheaper option.
  20. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    I work in Sheffield and Chesterfield. I started primary supply at the end of January and I have not stopped. I only do short assignments and I always work 2 1/2 - 3 days a week.

    I am booked up for next week. I suppose it depends on where you are based in the country and the quality of the agency.

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