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Supply is dead! Long live Supply!

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by math26, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. Sitting here in quiet contemplation it has suddenly occurred to me that I have no job to go back to. Supply as a way of earning a living is no longer a viable option. I have had an epiphany if you will. I have seen year on year reductions in the daily rate, if you can even find out what that is. The uncertainty of will I even get paid after I have completed a day has become a real concern. No pension or holiday pay offered. Charges for CRB checks and GTC registration. Umbrella companies charging you just to get paid. No National Insurance contributions paid on my behalf. One days work offered every two weeks or a long distance travelled for half a days pay. Sometimes working longer hours than permanent members of staff who have been too "busy" during the day to help you. TA's observing you for the delectation of the Head teacher. Uneducated Cover Supervisors looking down their noses at me. The stress of not knowing each day if I will be working and then the stress of rushing to a school 20 miles away during peak rush hour with a guaranteed "And what time do you call this!" from the school when I get there. Abuse from staff and pupils alike. Being disposable at a moments notice if a situation develops even if you are "in the right" or even if someone takes a dislike to you. With colleges still churning out NQT's with no jobs for them and many unemployed teachers the situation will only become more dire. No longer will I work to enable those employed by the Agency to earn a living while I do not. Suddenly the realisation that I have no job is no longer a frightening one but a relief. Supply may be dead but I will survive.

  2. jj80

    jj80 New commenter

    my thoughts exactly!!!!
  3. I echo these sentiments exactly! In 2010 to 2011, working through agencies, I was paid £450. For work for which I have yet to be paid, I am owed about the same amount. At least a dozen times, I was called out by an agency, only to find the job had been cancelled, either on my way or once I had arrived: at least £8 wasted on fares for each such day. Then there are the days when I was told that I was going to do a day as a teacher, only to have it 'downgraded' to CS rates as work had been set. I must have shelled out at least £800 on CRB checks.
    The lessons drawn from my experience of agencies? The chance of working for a day and getting paid for it, about 60%. I have spent nearly £2 for every £1 I have earned. At the moment, I have no prospect of any work, no pension, no JSA, no income at all. Even if some agency supply work did come my way next month, I am not sure I would be happy about it as, going on previous experience, I would end up out of pocket!
  4. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    I'm sure I read in a previous post that you had taken your pension, Albertdog.
  5. I applied for it nearly a year ago and, for one, sweet month, I thought that the Teachers' Pensions people had, at last, got it all sorted. Now payments have been stopped as the problem of my years with ILEA has reared its head again. As I have mentioned elsewhere, when ILEA was disbanded not all its records ended up with the TP people; in my case, 17 years worth of contributions. I could accept a pension based on my service outside ILEA but this would only leave with about half of it.
  6. Actually, I'd like to make a film or a doc -called 'The Supply'. Sure, It'd be a box hit -could borrow That Simon & Garfunkel song 'Don't you know Mrs Robinson.....'(from The Graduate) ...hay hay hay.. as the theme tune.Must twitter Ken Loach on with the idea.[​IMG]
  7. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I'm reminded of that scene from 'Band of Brothers' where the mentalist Lieutenant tells the wavering soldier that his only hope of functioning in battle is to accept the fact that he's already dead.

    The way I see it is that teachers are always going to get ill, stressed, or pregnant. Especially the latter given that the profession is largely female. Whilst the demand for supply (if you pardon the economics pun) is diminishing and the market is getting more competitive, the trick is to be the one who schools choose for as long as you possibly can. When it all gets too silly you stop doing it and do something else for a living. I expect supply teaching to get tougher in the coming years but I have no plans to bail out just yet.
  8. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    Fantastic Idea
    I would cast Arnie Schwarzenegger as the cyborg "Supply" complete with black leather, dark glasses and big motorbike.[​IMG]
    Picture the scene as he tells the troublesome year 9 class " I'll be back"

  9. Agency work in general encapsulates all the worst aspects of capitalism. Agency teaching is worse still, because it hides behind a guise of middle class respectability, which is wafer thin. You always know the moment when it cracks. That's when you feel the knives in your back. Sympathy over the pension issue? Not so likely, it might even be an earner if some of them jack it!
    Have worked constantly since February of this year and have work lined up for monday up until December.
    My advice is to sign with agencies that have been recommended to you by other supply teachers and say yes to everything that your agents offer you.
    My other piece of advice is to ring the agencies you are signed upto every morning as demand some work before the illusive 'if anything comes in I will ring you back' I've found after a couple of weeks of doing that I had regular schools and advice bookings (sometimes even having to turn work down!)
    Do not brandish all agencies with the same brush their are some brilliant ones out there
  11. So you think having work lined up to December equates to actually having work to December? What a very naive person you must be. I speak through long experience, do you?
  12. historygrump

    historygrump Senior commenter Forum guide

    The original post sums up the position for most supply teachers and thats includes myself, we are constantly in limbo, hoping for the odd days work, if we get 1 day a week, it feels like an achievement, we have worries over paying bills and indeed some some CS and it must be added some TA's look down on us either through bitterness that we are qualified, or the fact that their HT thinks they are wonderful, talented and the school cannot survive without them and this translates into arrogance that must mean that us qualiifed supply teachers are useless.
    I admit that at times i feel like calling it a day and just get any job that will meet my living costs, but the problem I have and this applies to many other supply teachers. is that we allow our heart and love of teaching to overrule our heads, which say get out now for your sanity and your bank balance.
    So the original post could define the supply teacher in 2011.

  13. guinnesspuss

    guinnesspuss Star commenter

    I wouldn't mind doing just that if only I could find one. There aren't that many which employ the skills gained in 30 years teaching primary and I'm not really sure skills tranfserence is a realistic thing when employers look at what you have to offer
  14. No supply agency will take me, I have had interviews cancelled and been told 'alleged' jobs have gone as soon as they appear. Not impressed!
  15. WOW what a rude post!
    I have never had any work cancelled on me so far so I have every belief I will be working until December. I work for a decent agency and have a decent agent.
    Yes there are some terrible agencies out there (usually the ones without a quality mark)
    Some supply teachers I find are too bitter to see anything further then the situation they are in now. I love supply and would happily do it for the foreseeable future.
  16. elephantfeet

    elephantfeet New commenter

    I too love supply teaching and have been doing it now since my children started full time school. Am kept really busy with various schools and usually teach 2 or 3 days a week which is as much as I want. However up here in Scotland things changed drastically this year for day to day supply teachers and now the actual hours we can claim for has been cut.and we are all now paid on the same level as a NQT regardless of experience - I've been teaching for over 20 years and now I'm being paid the same as a 22 year old straight out of university. If you do more than 5 days in the same class then your rate returns to what it should be. In my case I teach 2 days a week in a P2 class (so am paid to scale for those days as it's long term) but if I do another day in the school covering another class I am paid on the much lower scale. Let's hope this doesn't happen to you as it makes me so angry to be valued differently from one day to the next.
    So glad to hear from a happy supply teacher though and long may it last for you.
  17. First let me apologise if my post inadvertently caused you offence. This was not my intention nor should you take it this way. However my point is a valid one and you offer no evidence to refute it. If a school finds fault with your work, wrongly or rightly, do you think your wonderful agency will back you or just replace you? If a permanent member of staff returns to a school early do you think the school would not just turn you away on that very day just saying we no longer need your services? If a colleague offered to do your job at CS rates do you think you would still be first choice? If a higher level TA offered to do the job internally do you still think you would be doing it? If a friend of the Head teacher wanted to do the job, again would you still be first choice? if an overseas teacher came in on the guaranteed work scheme would they be behind you in the pecking order? Do you think a school would pay you over the holidays? A friend of mine worked very hard for a school for most of the year then was told to leave one day before the summer holidays to save the school from paying holiday pay. My point is we have NO work security. I have learnt through 11 years bitter experience of supply teaching and have friends who are supply teachers with long service. If you can find fault with my argument and offer evidence to support it please feel free to put me right on these matters.
  18. I am not disagreeing with any of the comments you make being a supply teacher can be frustrating at times but as a supply teaching I except all of those things. I accept the fact i have no job security, or get paid in the holidays or could be replaced at anytime. BUT when I entered the supply teaching world I took all that on board and in all honesty it didn't deter me AT ALL.
    Having a CS, HLTA, TA or SMT cover an absent teacher is not the best situation for supply teachers, the children or the school but if there is nothing stopping SMT doing it then of course they will. I guess there is a much larger arguement there then needs be discussed on a supply teachers forum.
    My main point is that there are GOOD agencies and GOOD agents who do care about their workers and will protect them as much as possible in a 'business' where everyone is working on commisions and uncertain salaries.
    I like supply and will stick at it for the foreseeable future and in my area and keystage supply is definitly not dead.
  19. I agree entirely, math26, as regards schools and agencies. What I think is even more shameful is schools using any excuse not even to pay you for the work you have done!
  20. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    BORNJULY1987: I agree with pretty much everything you say there, although for people such as myself (bornJuly1959) there is the added issue of payment to scale versus flat rate. A good agency will treat you as an asset and deploy you in a way to make maximum gain for themselves, and to ensure you stay on their books so you earn them more. Poor agencies will treat you like cattle.

    It seems to me that supply staff as represented by posts on this forum fall into distinct categories:

    1. Those who for one reason or another (including luck and/or geography) are getting sufficient regular work to earn enough for their own purposes, who probably stay quiet about the fact so they don't appear to be smug, and who take the current market as they find it (regardless of what went before) and who are ready to be flexible.

    2. Those who've been doing it for a few years, who have been used to regular well-paid employment in supply, who've noticed a number of unwelcome changes in the supply market in the last couple of years as it's become more competitive, and who are justifiably frustrated that what was once a secure, professional and fairly lucrative occupation is no longer so.

    3. Those who are struggling though no fault of their own to make ends meet from what they had hoped would have been a more predictable and lucrative income source. The reasons may range from youth/inexperience to age/cost, or location, or agency policies, or LEA spending cuts, or Headteachers bending the cover rules, but whatever they are, they are largely beyond the control of the individual.

    4. Those who've already given up on supply or are about to do so in the near future.

    We live in difficult times, and are functioning in a somewhat merciless set of market conditions, but that's what we've volunteered for and we're free to opt out at any time, as scary as that might sound.

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