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QUALITY MARK? Yes if you can pay for it.

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by NotGoingOut, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. There are three of us who decided we would like to start a teaching agency. We are all qualified teachers with about 20 years experience each. We know lots of colleagues who had either been made redundant or had been bullied out of a job. All of them were interested in our new idea.
    We wanted to start an agency where the teacher got the lions share of the money rather than the agency. We wanted to charge a lower price to schools and only take a small admin fee. Win win situation?

    We looked into getting the Quality Mark from REC. A lovely lady telephoned us and she turned out to have no knowledge of the education sector but was very eager to sign us up.....at a cost of £1025 joining fee and a further £800 per year memberships subs. She assured us that they would provide all the necessary documentation for us to put our logo on, then present in a folder when the 'inspector' came to visit us.

    So the Quality Mark is available to anyone who can pay for it, regardless of what their actual employment practices might be.

    It's a lot of money to pay out when we are just starting up and if schools will only use supply agencies with the quality mark, they could be loosing out on our cheaper prices.

    We would still be doing CRB checks, references, List 99 etc to meet DFES standards but we might not get any work because we don't have the quality mark!!!!!

    It seems like a racket to me.
     
  2. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Have you checked with schools and found out the rates they're actually prepared to pay for daily supply?

    You may find it's less than you think. And if you're intending to pay teachers the "lion's share", have you actually done your sums and found out if the left overs are enough to keep your business afloat?
     
  3. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    Would schools prefer to use an agency with a Quality Mark over one which is cheaper for them?
    If you are still meeting the DFES standards and you are providing a good service I would suspect its the latter. But the difficult step for a new agency would be getting "a foot in the door" with these schools in the first place.
     
  4. Hi Paul, of course we have checked these things. We have been in to meet with fifteen different schools in our region and had meetings with either the Head or the Cover Manager. All of them were very eager to work with us but at no time did we discuss the Quality Mark issue. Remiss of us.

    It was only after we went on the REC sight (provider of the Quality Mark) that we discovered that schools will often only work with agencies with it.
     
  5. Of course it costs money to be a member.
    You also have to pay an annual fee to have your files and process audited. Did they tell you that?

    Schools like QM agencies as the QM is DfE approved/ part funded, run by the REC, and requires agencies to work to certain safeguarding standards.

    Speak to the Quality Mark team, rather than someone who doesn't know anything about the sector.

    They will tell you that you need to be carrying out business for a certain amount of time before you can join -this is because they need some files to audit to prove you are carrying out the required process/ above the required standards.

    Before the first audit, you will also need to give them copies of various policies, Terms and procedures that need to be within their guidelines too.
    It is not just about "payment and you are in", each audit visit involves files being picked out at random, that are checked for compliance.
    Whilst it's easy to pick holes in anything of this ilk, the QM does control some shoddy practices.
     
  6. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Have you been in the sales business before?

    You may find there's a difference between a client being "eager to work with you" and one who's "actually prepared to pay you to do something".

    They may simply be being polite - or they might see your presence in the market as a way of forcing their preferred supplier to cut prices.
     
  7. Well, from the messages that I've received back from both Pauls, I think we might as well give up now. How can we already be working as an agency and providing a service if no schools are willing to use us if we don't have the quality mar. But you say to get the quality Mark, we have to already have been in business for a certain amount of time!!!!

    I'm beginning to wonder if this might be a 'chasing our tails' exercise.

    SHame, we had a really good business model.
     
  8. Schools will use you without the QM -the point I was making is that it's not just a case of "pay them some money and you can have the Quality Mark", which is what your original post suggests.
     
  9. That's just how the lady made it appear. When she telephoned me from REC, she went straight in for the hard sell. I told her that we were just starting out but she didn't mention anything about us having to be in business for a certain amount of time. All she was interested in was getting a cheque from us.
     
  10. Hence me suggesting that you speak to someone in the QM team directly?

     
  11. But I did speak to someone from the quality mark team. The woman who phoned me back was from the quality mark team. This is what I am saying. It was the lady from the QM Team who was giving me the hard sell and wanting me to either pay by card, there and then or send a cheque in the post!!!!!
     
  12. As a supply teacher I do not give a jot regarding Quality Mark, not that Qualitiy Mark ever asks us at the chalkface anything.
    Most of the cowboy agencies in my area have Quality Mark.
    Unfortunately the LEA's still have a lot of say, and in the past some LEA's have negotiated some pretty awful rates for us with the odd preferred (cowboy Quality Mark) agency.
    In some areas schools have to to do as they are told by their LEA's regarding their supply cover provision.
    To the agency poster respect to you for posting your opinions on here (meant sincerely) however defending Quality Mark to a supply teacher like me is just red rag to a bull.
     
  13. However the 'cottage industry', model of supply agency, is still a good idea. In these times of austerity then enterprise should be encouraged.
    It is a pity the education sector do not pick up on good ideas, and the idea of teachers working in a co-operative should not be pie in the sky.
    However the business plan needs to take account of extra costs and how to deal with the Quality Mark scam amongst others.
    And like any teaching agency you need a lot of people on your books, if you are all out teaching and earning.
     

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