1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Supply advice

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by 1979, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. 1979

    1979 New commenter

    Dear all,

    I have recently started a long term booking with a school for 2 terms (Jan to July) through a supply agency. I have no contract with the school and I am getting paid as I earn with no holiday pay. I have found that the travel situation from my home to work is becoming too much as I don't drive and rely on people for lifts. I enjoy the school but the travel situation is becoming unbearable. I was wondering what the stance was on finishing this booking early and finding something closer to home. As I am working for the supply agency and not the school, am I allowed to just get something else straight away? Any advice shall be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks.
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    It all depends on your contract - which seems to be with the supply agency.

    At a guess, it is something like a day's notice for them to withdraw you, thus the same for you to withdraw, unless it states otherwise.

    Of course the school may well be peeved with the agency if you leave, and they will therefore be peeved with you, so think carefully about how much notice you could actually give, to make it less difficult for them.

    Fo ryour sake (for future bookings) and also for the sake of the school and above all its pupils.

    Best wishes

  3. 1979

    1979 New commenter

    Many thanks for your advice. The agreement is with the supply agency. I wouldn't leave the school in the lurch as the school is good, pupils are fine and staff are very helpful. It is a shame but the travel is a chore and the traffic when i'm getting a lift is horrendous.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    So have a chat with the school, tell them your problem, and ask when would be the best time to let you go.

    Best wishes

  5. sirspamalotless

    sirspamalotless Occasional commenter

    [This comment/section has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines/Terms and conditions]
    Remember that the supply agency is not in business to do you any favours. They are there to screw you and the schools they send you to for as much as possible. The longer they can keep you at the school, perhaps with suggestions as it might get better with time, the more money they make from your efforts. You have a contract for a reason and they wouldn't think anything at all of getting rid of you in a day if they needed to. If it says a day's notice in your contract then give a day's notice and leave. Harden up and get wise and leave if that is what you need to do. Supply agencies are not there to do you favours. It's a business. Treat it like one.
    old_dobbin likes this.
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    No....do not ignore Theo's advice...it is wise.

    Yes agencies are profit making businesses, but that is not the point. The point is that the OP needs to leave a position that has become unbearable due to the demands of travelling but at the same time do it with thinking about the school's position too. Furthermore, the OP may need to stay on good terms with the agency in case she/he would like to work with this agency.

    Once the OP explains her/his dilemma to the agency, the agency can start to find someone else. All agencies are not the terrible organisations that people think they are and we don't know what their reaction will be. If they are professional, they will accept the OP's position and start looking for another teacher ASAP.

    Yes, I would agree that as a supply teacher you have to treat agencies as businesses; but that works both ways: if a teacher expects an agency to treat them professionally then they also have to act professionally and in this case the professional thing to do would be to speak to the agency who would then speak to the school and try to stick it out until a replacement is found.

    I can guarantee that if you treat an agency shabbily or their clients, you won't be in a position to get more work.

    Kind regards

  7. old_dobbin

    old_dobbin Occasional commenter

    You have a contract with the agency that requires you and the agency to give one day's notice of your leaving the school. There is nothing legally or morally wrong with you or the agency abiding by this term of the contract.
    If the agency ( or the school ) had wanted a different arrangement, they could have negotiated it with you. The agency has the advantage regarding the terms of your contract because it can replace you with someone else at short notice but you can't necessarily find another job at short notice.
    You cannot be blamed for abiding by the terms of your contract. The "school's position" is that it can simply ask the agency or another agency for someone to replace you.
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    A variety of opinions there!

    It's not just a case of this is my contract, I can walk out at a day's notice if I want.

    And certainly in any case of emergency or extreme distress, you should.

    It's a case of behaving in a manner that will do least harm to both the school and you. And courtesy and consideration will mean that neither that agency nor that school will have reservations about giving you more work in the future. When you move house to live just down the road for example.

    You never know what the future may hold. Leave all doors open.

    Best wishes

    (P.S. @sirspamalotless - we tend to go for courteous replies on these professional advice forums. Not only is it more professional, it also is not contrary to the TES Forums overall Terms & Conditions).


    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  9. old_dobbin

    old_dobbin Occasional commenter

    Describing someone who gives contractual notice and leaves as "walking out" is dramatising and exaggerating the issue.
    The school or the agency could easily prevent someone from giving one day's notice by offering a different contract. They choose not to do so.
    As has been pointed out, if the school wish to end the employment of a supply teacher, concepts of "professionalism" and "courtesy and consideration" won't apply. Supply teaching has few benefits: there is no pension contribution, no holiday pay, no sick pay-and the only appealing aspect of it is that the teacher can leave at short notice, if he or she wishes to. The contract doesn't say that the teacher can leave only in an "emergency".
    badger_girl likes this.
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Theo has made a good point in that you never know what the future holds and it is best to keep the door open. The OP may need to use the agency again, or one day be closer to said school - you just never know. Just because some schools treat supply staff badly not all do. I work in one school that on a couple of occasions I have gone for whole days, then it works out they only need me for half a dy; but they don't quibble a out money and pay me for the whole day and tell me I can leave early. It is not reasonable to lump all supply agencies and schools together, but I do understand why some people may feel inclined to do so, as I have been on the receiving end of being treated badly. However, being treated kindly by one school in particular has helped me realise not all schools are the same.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  11. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter


    The OP has every legal right to give a day's notice and then not reappear.

    In practice people who go a little bit above and beyond will get the best gigs from the agency. You scratch my back. A few people stick to the letter of the law. That is their right. They tend to be the ones for whom nobody at the agency will go out of their way.

    As you sow? So shall you reap.
  12. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    HI GDW

    Your post brings to mind the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You expressed better what I was trying to get at. Also: Don't annoy the Crocodile until you've crossed the river springs to mind and even then don't annoy the crocodile unless you absolutely have to.

    Thanks for posting...
    grumpydogwoman and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    That's exactly what I had in mind @pepper5

    And also: what goes around comes around

    The OP is clearly enjoying the job per se. Which is exactly what you'd want! Why would s/he want to do the bare minimum when s/he likes the place? It's not as if s/he hates it or has been badly done to.

    It's a question of how long to soldier on and preserve a balance between doing what is thought to be right and what is needed on your own behalf. No need to get all confrontational and 'high horse' about it.
  14. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


  15. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    You have a contract. The Supply Agency made you agree to it because it is in their interests to. As has already been said, if they needed to be shot of you, you would be removed with a day's notice, and noone would care one bit at the agency or school.

    There are a lot of seriously strange Drama Queens on these forums, wringing their hands and tearfully crying, 'Woe is me', and, 'The end of the world is here', and all because you followed your contract. If you want to leave. give notice and leave giving the notice in your contract. If you want to be extra nice, simply tell the agency the truth, it is too far to travel and you will be leaving at the end of the week. Do not ask them when it would be convenient as they will no doubt try it on with every emotional blackmail trick in the book - the more they can get you to work for the pittance you are on, the more money they make and the bigger their bonuses.

    Contracts exist for a reason. It is not, 'Walking out'

    PS It is nice to see courteous people on here, talking about advice being stupid rather than the person being stupid. What is sad to see IMHO are pompous individuals who go running to teacher everytime someone says their advice is stupid. I for one am very happy to see their balloons pricked. @sirspamalotless = well done and well said. Agree with you 100%.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
  16. splinters

    splinters Established commenter

    I think deep down the OP knew there wasn't much notice needed but probably wanted reassurance of what would constitute a professional and courteous period of notice.
    I did a full terms cover standing in for the 2nd in Department paid to scale but only MPS not UPS. I could sit at home earning nothing mumbling about my pride etc. or work. The agency made that possible. I know they are a business and charging the school more than I earnt but I met the team at the school, clarified my history (they already knew me anyway) and said to treat me as a permanent member of staff but that I would be leaving at the end of the day unless they specifically asked or offered overtime.
    15 weeks later I was sent off with thank you cards and presents, a thank you speech from the Head in briefing, a few new friends and a glowing reference.
    They could have asked me to leave at any time and I had the same option. A professional attitude made the job better, rewarded the students and meant that I will be remembered positively for future roles. Had I used the one day notice option without a genuine reason i.e. a permanent job offer it could have turned out very differently.
    It boils down to how professional you are as an educator. If the school agree they are unlikely to ask you to leave.
    les25paul and grumpydogwoman like this.
  17. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    As other posters have pointed out, you have every eight to leave at a day's notice. As somebody who has in the past advised sticking to your contract, I can see nothing wrong in doing this. The reason why it may not be a good idea is that it may cause a problem for the agency, who may then move you down the list when it comes to future bookings. Whether agencies talk to each other about this sort of thing I cannot say - if they do, it could make finding more work even harder. @TheoGriff 's advice seems good to me, but I would not stay for very long once the school and agency have had a chance to sort out a replacement. If you say you will stay as long as they want, they may not try very hard!
    grumpydogwoman and pepper5 like this.
  18. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Splinters your analysis is probably correct- the OP probably just wanted to know what a courteous and professional notice might be.

    Of course the OP had a contract and of course could leave within the contractual terms, but it would seem reasonable to keep the door open for future work with the agency to try and work until a replacement could be found which probably wouldmbemwithin a few days and probably less than a week. I maintain that all agencies are not the heartless mobs they are portrayed to be since I work for one agency that are OK. They are not perfect, but who is?
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    My supply agency was excellent. I wouldn't have a word said against them. Very helpful. Nor would I hesitate to recommend them.
  20. splinters

    splinters Established commenter

    I have to say that all my work so far has been from one agency who didn't have the greatest rep (word of mouth) but have turned out to be the only ones to get me regular and decent paid work. All the others have lured me in with non existent jobs or simply not found me suitable roles.
    My only gripe is that my agent would offer me work when he had already sent me on assignment. It happened on too many occasions to just be forgetful.

Share This Page