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Primary Supply Work

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by Lilybett, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. I'm also an NQT, been doing supply since hmmm not sure. End of April/start of May?
    My PGCE is 5-11 but told the agency that I'm a KS2 specialist and that's where I'd like to work, really. They got me a day at a school teaching Y3/4 which turned into weeks and weeks (covering ill PPA teacher), so I had 5-11 plus Nursery and Reception. I did hate Nursery as much as I expected to lol (although Reception wasn't too bad, save for all the nakedness! Them, not me!), but for the sake of keeping a longer-term supply job? I sucked an afternoon in Nursery up once per week. [​IMG] It's also good now, on application forms, to be able to say: I have learned new things and gained new experiences through supply - evidence - teaching EYFS.
    I suspect that the Nursery Nurses in the Nursery class thought I was a bit of an idiot, but how am I supposed to know anything about EYFS when I haven't been trained? (And the school presumably knew that I was 5-11 with very limited KS1 exp, as the agency did.) The youngest I'd ever been near before was Y2 - and that was a two-week placement right at the start of my PGCE where I taught ONE lesson ha ha! I mean, for example, I've never taught any Letters & Sounds or anything like that, so when the Nursery Nurse announced to me that I was to go and lead the Phonics session, and there was no plan, no NOTHING, I had to say: 'I know it's not your problem, but I am not trained in this, I'm newly-qualified, I've never done this before - please take me through what I should be doing.'
    Having said all this, I have a friend who is refusing to teach KS2. I don't know if this is affecting how much work she gets. She definitely gets work, though!
    If you have told Agency A you're available for work and they say they'll look for something for you, but in the meantime, Agency B call with a concrete offer of work in a school, you can just take Agency B's offer. It's only bad form if Agency A then call and say they've found you a week of work, but it means you need to back out of what you agreed to with Agency B.
    Although, I've accepted work and then been invited to interviews so have called agency to apologise and cancel. Has never been a problem. You can just tell the agency you're not working and that's that - you don't have to say why. I took 3 days off last month to go to Wimbledon - no questions asked.
    I have been told several times that the work would be set, only to arrive and find that it is not. So I always have a notebook on me, in which I note simple, resource-lite, easily-differentiated lesson ideas for all year groups. I have also accepted work and been told it was, say, teaching Y3, only to arrive at the school and be shown to a Y2 classroom. I've also been booked for full days and told, say, Y3. But then I arrive and it turns out I've got Y3 in the morning and a completely different year group in the afternoon. Just squeeze as much info as you can out of the agency. Mine have a habit of being a bit like, 'Can you do this? Okay, that's great. Have a nice day! Byeee!' and I have to be like ERR!? School postcode? Year group? Work set?!
    The flexibility of supply is good. And if you have a bad day, oh well, you probably never have to go there again in your life. Hope this rambling has been helpful
  2. Thank you so much; that has very much put my mind at rest! I wouldn't rule out KS2 necessarily but would want to make sure everyone involved knows I've never had any experience of it!
    So can you sign up to as many agencies as you like then?
  3. Yes you can. However, some agencies are funny about portability on your CRB and insist you have a new one done for them....pointless when you already have an existing one completed only a week or two before. I would be cautious in that sense as you have to cover the cost of each one yourself!

  4. Yeah, I'm with two agencies (although I've only ever worked through one of 'em). I paid for a CRB through Agency A, then signed up a couple of weeks later with Agency B. Agency B knew I was with Agency A, and it was fine. To get the portability thing for my CRB, I had to call Agency A and ask for some reference number. I had to call from Agency B's office, but it was really weird! She instructed me not to tell them it was to sign up with them, but to pretend I was some kind of anorak and just wanted to go online to track its progress. I think Agency A sounded a bit suspicious when I asked for this, ha ha, but they handed it over. And voila, only paid for one CRB. I have no idea why they made me be all 'Secret Squirrel' about it, because when Agency A ring and make me stupid offers of stupid work in stupid places, I always say: 'Sorry, I'm working through Agency B today'. As in, they both know about each other! Unusually coy!
    Omg also do not sign up with Reed. What a load of ****. I get, like, an email off them every half hour and I have tried blocking them, marking them as spam, adding them to blacklists, adding them to whitelists, asking for them to go into my Junk... It's like a biblical plague!
  5. Wanted to back up what's been said.
    Personally I only work with one agency as I got fed up with being caught up in politics and my agency get me a decent amount of work even though it is rather scarce at the moment.

    When I started out I would only do KS2 and then I was put in Y2 randomly, then as time has gone on I now do R-Y6 and sometimes will take nursery - dependant on the school (I find some Foundation Departments are too free-for-all for my liking). I'd say If you are wary about a yeargroup wait until you have a school you know well and then try a day/half day there then you know the back-up and the systems etc. Unfortunately you cant be too picky really with the lack of work around at the moment.
    Dont be afraid if you dont know something to ask, however be aware that there may be situations where you just have to knuckle down and try your best even though you arent sure what you are doing.
    Sometimes plans are left, but sometimes you will arrive, be shown to a room and then the receptionist disappears and that's it. First time it happens can be a bit like 'ok what do I do now?!' but you just have to bite the bullet and act like a detective, look around the classroom and find a timetable if you can to give an idea as to what lessons might normally be done that day, see if there's another teacher around who might have an idea as to whether there is anything the teacher wanted doing (and forgot to leave a note) look in the kids books for what they appear to be up to at the moment and their ability (as far as you can from a couple of pieves of work) and put a suitible day together for the year group that you have.
    Always take what your agency says to you about year group/planning with a pinch of salt. Make sure you always have activities and lessons up your sleeve for all year groups in all subjects. Situations like being left covernotes saying 'Lit - conditional sentences, Num- Fractions, Spanish 1-10& basic colours, Art - obs drawing' are scarily common. If you are in that situation look at the kids books and hope they've done similar work recently so you can gague their ability to be able to put the lessons together.
    Supply teaching is totally 'in at the deep end' but it will give you a lot of experiences you wouldnt have had if you went straight to post. Gives you a good idea of what all the age groups are able to do on 'average' ability.
  6. sm1971

    sm1971 New commenter

    I'm trained in 3 - 8 year olds, so when I started doing supply I said I wouldn't mind doing KS2 but could they let me have some days in y3/4 before putting me further up a school. If you are honest with any decent agency then they should listen to you (can you tell I'm with a lovely agency who treat you like a human?!)
    As to work being left, I added 'My Supply Pack' to the resources section here many moons ago - I assume it's still there - do help yourself as it could be a good starting point to know where any age group is at academically (although it's far from thorough and I've have added to it along the years, but it's not a bad starting point)

    Have fun - supply rocks on good days (I won't mention bad days!!)
  7. Where are you geographically Sophie?
  8. Very sorry; haven't checked TES in ages; have signed up to one agency so far and they are just waiting on my CRB; they are really nice and I told them that for now I'll stick to foundation and KS1 and they were fine with that. Think my LA also manage supply themselves so will be ringing their number soon.
    Am in Warwickshire; so any advice of good agencies in my area would be appreciated.
    Thanks for all the advice and suggestions; has made me feel a lot more comfortable about doing supply and think I could do with being thrown in at the deep end as I suspect I'll get on fine and have my confidence boosted!

  9. Hope things work out well for you. We're Thames Valley so a bit too far really!
    C x
  10. VelvetChalk

    VelvetChalk New commenter

    I was trained 5-11 but had so many reception days I do all ages apart from year 6 now. I have always said no to
    doing year 6 as I feel that as an NQT, I am not comfortable subject knowledge wise.

    Searching this forum will show you that secondary trained sometimes teach primary too so dont worry!

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