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. Is it dying out?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by pauline18, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. Having done supply for 9 years i have always had a steady couple of days a week which has suited me fine. However a lot of my schools are ringing up infrequently or not at all. Are others feeling the same. I am in the south west.
  2. Having done supply for 9 years i have always had a steady couple of days a week which has suited me fine. However a lot of my schools are ringing up infrequently or not at all. Are others feeling the same. I am in the south west.
  3. Used to do Brixham-St Austell.

    Lots of work in 06-07. Thin, but ok in 08-09 (beginning of) 09-10 (struggling like hell). 10 got out. I've got a few mates down in Cornwall and it's the same picture. Plenty of hopefuls and hangers on though.
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I've been in supply for 16 years & year on year it's harder to get regular work- especially trying to get noticed again, after long-term posts. But I now really do believe with the advent of CSs using HLTAs & budget restraints the writing is now on the wall.
  5. It's so obvious! Most schools now employ armies of unqualified people e.g. TAs, CSs etc ALL SALARIED and all the cover work goes to that lot!
    Totally unacceptable for a bunch of unqualified people ACTING as cover "teachers"!
    Undermines everyone...[​IMG]

  6. thanks everyone for your prompt replies. I really do think the writing is on the wall although i think a lot of the schools are shooting themselves in the foot as there might be times in the future for longer cover and we won't be there.

  7. Hi Pauline18

    I'm in South East and I've also done it for around 10 years and 5 years ago took up home tutoring with the LEA as I could see the writing on the wall then (not enough work in this though so returned to supply and got a permanent job in an EBD school as I worried about the future with the selling out by the government and the unions of us as supply.

    The EBD school which closed due to underlying plans to do so by the LEA which of course were never passed onto us until it was too late) made redundant so back to supply.

    Then, a full time years temp contract with a school which due to budget cuts 2 years ago was dissolved. No issue with the school its a place i hold dear and they were straight with me throughout and gave me a stunning reference, i've even been back to the prom last year to see off my then year 10's.
    I have a desirable subject, 10 years of positive feedback with one of the agencies and good relations with one local school, I have a good reputation as a supply teacher and have never had trouble getting work. I tried to take medium to long term posts where I could as I say because I could see it tailing off.
    I only used to have 1 agency and then did extend to 2.

    This was fine until this year, I'd had a succession of med term contracts and I hadn't done daily for about 3 years now.

    What a shock, lwas very ucky in September got from start until half term in a lovely schoolwith lovely staff/students (such a difference to the maternity cover i took last year which i nearly walked out on after 3 weeks!)

    Since October, only7 had 2 and a half days a week to 3, this has been my best week as I have 2 weeks sickness cover since october half term. Any long term jobs passed my way have fizzled away to the ether, I've never known it like this and even when I met people who had little work i was always busy.

    I'm now with 4 aqencies for the first time, and at least one only takes CRB fee out of your pay, all the others want it up front though to be fair 2 have transferred mine across according to DCSF guidance,

    i think this should be part of their costs, at least they wouldn't take so many on then making more chance of getting work for most on books.
    Well, I've been offered the occasional day as a CS or LSA?! ...turned down even though need the money as it's a pittance but most of my savings have gone.
    I lined up 2 days a week in a private school till the summer, at least i'd have 2 days a week on MPS till August i thought,

    2 days they said all the way through, an interview followed by a
    days pay lost of course to do an observed lesson mid morning, followed by another talk with the Head, the Bursar,the HR manager who all agreed 2 days.....till it came to cross the t's and dot the i's......oh we only have 1 and a half days to give you....hmmphh...OK at MPS similar to 2 days supply, not as good as hoped but i'll have a half day off..............................................we'll let you know in 24 hours....
    48 hours ..nothing...72 hours......ermm..................... we can pay you only for the lessons you actually teach??!! it would upset out other part timers if we paid you differently....... i told them to go away and not to waste my time anymore....what a nerve......

    I come across a few supply who have said they've had work but many who haven't, I think it probably is the end of it all finally, I knew it was coming as i say years ago it has just taken longer to come about. I have to say 2 of my agencies have been really good to me but one when I call them after taking a call,

    on and BTW....
    WHY OH WHY do they call you in school hours when it's likely you will be in lessons? worse if it's the same agency that sent you there that day??!!

    no...one of them are particularly smug when I call saying...oh we filled it....meaning being ...it's OK there's plenty of you to choose from we can get someone else easily....not so smug when I say I couldn't do it as I'm booked out anyway...oh where's that? I don't say seeing as they rarely tell me where the job was going to be....................

    I feel we have been sold down the river by Labour (supposedly the education champs of teachers) by the fee to the GTC we have to pay ( i can't believe I have to pay them yet again in April i thought last year was the last time) by the permanent staff who saw "rarely cover" and that PPA was the Holy Grail and by the Unions who did absolutely nothing for us out here, I am with one purely for legal protection in school but can't wait to cancel subs it's a disgrace.

    Pauline I wish you luck,and in reply to you, no , it's never been as bad as this,and seems to be the same actually even to get permanent jobs too.

    i think it's a combination of CS's , HLSA's, budgets and simply the derogation of qualified teachers....we've never been valued in English society, we aren't even valued by permanent staff in our industry who always ask "don't you want a proper job"?

    I'm unfortunate in some ways, I am going to sell my house partly to pay off all my debts accrued over haphazard and erratically paid work and as I had an OP as did my wife in last couple of years and we just have not made enough money each month.....................................

    but i'm also very fortunate as I hopefully with have some equity as a buffer and that my parents are selling everything up and I am moving your direction to live in a large farmhouse with land and run holiday cottages in Devon for a complete change of lifestyle..................

    away from the busy SE, away from having verbal abuse, be told oh you're not a proper teacher, chewing gum, swearing, eating in class, detailing their (ahem..."romantic exploits"...i just don't want to hear that...call me old fashioned).....being told to FO....getting up at 6:30 for calls that never come, rushing to get somewhere i've never been before as the agency think i can get there in 15 minutes when it takes 40 OUT of rush hour, tc. etc. etc...


    i'm tired of it all and can't wait to finish....one of the teachers where I am asked me about ending and doing supply...i had to say absolutely NOT...stay getting paid until the economy improves at least....i can't recommend it anymore where once I could have....when I said I was retiring and going to Devon I could almost see the tears roll down as he thought of doing more years of INSET,meetings/data/pastoral/parents evenings....etc. etc. ad nauseam..........
  8. Thanks lozar for your comprehensive reply. You have had a time of it and i am sorry the private sector treated you so badly. I have worked for them too and although the pay has been less I have been ok.
    I work in the primary sector so I don't get quite the abuse you had although children of whatever age still know you are supply and can look down on you.
    My husband retires in four years so I was hoping to keep this up till then but year on year it gets worse so in reality I can see myself at tescos before long. No disrespect to Tesco's.
    I do hope that your new career takes off and gives you much pleasure. I am one of those who would like to hang on if i possibly can but will have to see what the future holds. Whilst i can see that schools are having difficulty reconciling their budgets and consequently use cheaper options i do think it is sad and the children miss out.

  9. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    Lozar story was sad, but the sad truth is that supply teaching is due to be given the last rites and this is the first step to the long-term aim to replace teachers full stop with the armies of the unqualified. We have seen the Labour and now the coalition government push the idea of academies in which they do not in theory have to employ teachers, but can employ anyone. Michael Gove as also stated that free schools can employ to teach, yet what have the Labour said, nothing. Afterall it was David Milliband who suggested not to many years ago that he could see the day that schools had a few teachers, with the less being unqualified support staff. The plan seems to be destrou supply first and get the unqualified entrenched in schools, getting teaching stage by stage, so schools do not firstly supply teachers. We all know the rest.
  10. I remember thinking that as a "learning facilitator" told by my all knowing HOD to "just do exactly what is in the scheme" that the actual creative and academic part of teaching was in the creation of the lesson, whether it was pre-prepared, or fine tuning, on the hoof. I thought "why not just get someone to hand out materials and press "play" on the interactive whiteboard.

    I remember going to do a supply stint at a school with a very creative, dynamic, blue skies thinking, HOD who exclaimed "I don't want anything in the rooms which is distracting, I don't want teachers who think, I just want them to follow the schemes. Blah, blah, learning facilitator, blah blah, they do it like this in the Navy" I thought "I am more than a learning facilitator".

    This "learning facilitator" nonsense and the associated "****" spouted by training colleges doesn't require any talent or understanding to administer. You might as well just have a bouncer, I thought

    I think the thin end of the wedge was a while ago

    Parallel to this, you have the churning of low pay-grade staff and temporary contracts. I consider it the fault of whoever put the power in the hands of the heads.

    Why would you need to pay a proper teacher when an unqualified one can be a pretty effective "learning facilitator"?

    Milliband is a toxic ***!
  11. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    I think supply is pretty much dead for us all. I'm in Lincs and considered myself lucky (ish) last term because I got a lot of work in one school who knew me as I was prepared to cover anything and everything at secondary level. They were a lovely school with a strong emphasis (I thought) on giving their kids the best possible education. Unfortunately the second week of Jan they appointed 3 Cover Supervisors and now they don't want any supply at all. Last term I did around 3 days a week, sometimes more, every week. The kids knew me, the staff knew me and everyone was really friendly - kept telling me how fantastic I was. I felt like part of the community. This term I've had one day so far - and that was the week before their CS started. I'm really sad, both for myself and for the school. How can you say you are giving pupils the best you can when lots of their lessons are covered by unqualified staff with no idea?
  12. I take it OFSTED praise schools for the "prudent" use of their budgets but avoid these cover supervisor and ta lessons, often pulled off the wall, which most likely would be deemed unsatisfactory if delivered by a qualified teacher.
  13. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    Ofsted........... observing cover supervisors? It would be interesting to see the criteria from which they would be assessing a cover supervisors performance should they do so .....BUT DO THEY or are TAs and HLTAs and last minute supply teachers bussed in to do the cover.
    Anyone know the Ofsted criteria for a cover supervisor observation???
  14. That's OK Pauline, hope it helped a little. Yeah now I stop and think of it I have really had a rough time of it.

    Now once again, I was booked for this week fine, agency called and confirmed I was booked further till half term....great I thought, 2 full weeks just before half term......excellent, at last i've turned a corner...the teacher they were convinced wouldn't be back so they booked me to make sure they were covered......i'm settled in got a little routine, lovely room to work from..................................................

    Till this morning, oh sorry to mess you about he'll now be back next week on a half timetable....we were waiting for OH reports...this is after i told all the classes that I would be with them until half -term....now how stupid do i look in front of the students to start with.......................
    so they booked me to make sure I didn't go anywhere else.......and now they don't need me after all..."Oh sorry to mess you around, I know I booked you but that's how it goes, you've had a good run"....A GOOD RUN!!!
    no i took over classes with little notice, I've stepped in and picked up the work as i went on and done my best for the students...a good run? well if you call 8 days a good run.........i, needless to say don't call that a good run.........

    .I've got work with them on Monday and first call on any other general cover next week......but make yourself available in case anything comes up elsewhere.....oh in the week before half term? some chance of that........

    the problem is i could have had work in another nice school 10 minutes from me for the past 2 weeks also instead of 40 minutes at least away, saving me fuel and time travelling to a town that's a total pain to get into............................
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------but when they couldn't make their mind up i took this one...and at the time I wasn't expecting the pre half term week but it was more likely than the other job to get a few more days. as a bonus....that's absolutely fine...........................................................
    BUT IF THEY WEREN'T SURE IF HE WOULD BE BACK AS WAITING ON REPORTS THEN DON'T BOOK ME JUST IN CASE!!!!!!!.................................................................................................................................................................................................Don't raise my expectations, if they'd simply said they were unsure it would have been fine, and after this week could have taken each day as it came.....no they book me ahead and then change their minds....it's a lovely school and the cover lady is very nice and has been great to me but once again it shows how supply is valued..............
    actually do you know i've been there 8 days and not one of the teachers from the department come and seen me----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- not to discuss the SOW, to see if the cover is OK (it sometimes hasn't been as they have set generic work at times instead of actually liaising with me to see where the classes are up to, to discuss students i've highlighted in notes in pigeonholes as being a pain,even just to see if i'm basically OK...nothing....i had to find one of them today to say the unit they set them as today's work they'd long finished and we'd been continuing the work they had been doing.....

    I cannot wait to get away from education , i've had enough now, i was so fuming on the way home...i now have to telll all the other agencies I'm free again also, the whole things a waste of time....i hate it here.................
  15. feel really really depressed now. Have been 'lucky' enough to secure a permanent contract but the post is making me miserable. Its a long story but involves scary head and unrealistic expectations. Was thinking of getting out and back into supply. obviously the financial implications at the moment worried me but now i feel even worse. Are you all with agencies or do you organise your own..Is there any one from cumbria who is experiencing the same drought in work?? Need to investigate before doing anything hasty....
  16. OFsted do not now bother with lesson plans!!!!!!!
  17. @lozar
    sorry to hea you've been mucked about.
    Gotta be hard as nails: accept everything -then take your pick.
    Dog eat dog-dont get eaten.
  18. I have to admit, it's a sad state of affairs - and has been for some years now. I can remember being called regularly by agencies (you name 'em, I've probably worked for 'em) from the late 90s - mid noughties but then it just seemed to peter out. Usual excuse - too many schools using 'glorified childminders'. And it always seemed to be me ringing them to find out what the hell was going on and where was the work! But don't get me started on agencies...
    So, what have I, as a qualified and experienced teacher done? Joined the CS pools at a couple of local schools. "If you can't beat them..." as they say! Ironically, though, I can still end up teaching the little dears (esp. if it's my subject) rather than just being the adult in the room. Habit, I guess...
  19. thanks littleguide - much appreciated -

    went to a lovely place today - really friendly and the HoD is passing my name to somewhere he thinks they are looking for a long term post - very nice of them.....

    I am hardened to it now but doesn't make it easier just more determined to get out and off the hamster wheel - as I said, i'm just coasting till I can sell up and move South West to my holiday business.
    Funnily enough, at my daughter's college interview at the weekend I happened to be speaking to the HR manager on taster day duties and as I explained why we were applying in SW when we are so far away and then mentioned my subject she asked me to send my CV over as they may have some part time sessions or courses for me to teach. I did say I was trying to get out but thinking of the quieter times in the holiday biz in winter don't mind doing it for a while as extra income - just not my main income.............so that's one positive..oh she got offered a place on course so the petrol bill was worth it too...
    to the teacher in Cumbria ...i so know what you are going through, my maternity cover was simply the worst ever - i nearly left after 3 weeks, unrealistic expectations of a sad,stressed HoD weak on her subject knowledge and taking it out on me every single day, I knew she couldn't stand me or wanted me there, she wanted her cronie back with her so she could be despicable to everyone else together
    ....i hated every day, maybe I should have walked but my mortgage bill overrode it. and supply situation now means financially i did the right thing

    ...if you can afford to drop it I'd say go- your sanity and health is more important....but if you can't, sorry supply is awful right now so i can't recommend doing it unless you can manage on odd few days here and there......
    sorry can't be more cheery
  20. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    Ha! I've just been in today to 'my' school for one of my 2 hour 1:1 sessions and the new TA/CS was in the office at the end of the day complaining about what a rotten class she'd had. (This is, by the way, the best school I've ever taught in. Polite and well behaved kids in general). Apparently she'd had to take a Maths class and her first instruction was 'Shhhh' and (I quote) 'they couldn't even do this!'. I asked her what year it was and she said, 'Y7'. Hmmmm.....

    After she'd gone (almost in tears) I said casually, 'yes, teaching's not quite as easy as it looks if you're not trained or qualified, I'm afraid'. They know darn well that I did loads of supply last year for them and that they were really happy with my work. Constantly telling me how great it was that I was in, because they knew the kids were being well taught and that my behaviour management skills were great. (They should be after 20 years in rough schools!) Now this term they've appointed 3 'cover supervisors' and don't want any supply at all. How loud can we shout it?? 'YOU PAY PEANUTS YOU GET MONKEYS'.....or something equally rude. Sorry....had a bad day.

Share This Page