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Supply teachers are in demand because of the teacher shortage

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    More than £730 million has been spent on supply agencies. Supply teachers are in demand to help schools plug the gaps because of the teacher shortage.


    How many supply teachers work in your school? Are you a supply teacher? Have you noticed an increase in work because of the teacher shortage? Do you prefer working as a supply teacher?
  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    If schools didn't manage teachers out of their jobs then there would be less of a shortage.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  3. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    My soon-to-be-ex school doesn't use supply when teachers are off sick; they use unqualified TAs instead to cover. What they will do when I leave at Christmas I don't know; they haven't been able to recruit a replacement yet (as far as I know) and there are 3 other teachers planning to leave.

    They'll probably carry on with the unqualified option. The HLTA that works with me in my class is actually a qualified teacher but she left classroom teaching to become a HLTA because of the workload horror story that we are all familiar with now. She is terrified that she will be told she has to cover my departure - she simply does not want to teach anymore. And when they advertised for a HLTA at the start of the year, all the applicants they had were actually qualified teachers that also simply did not want to teach anymore. Before long schools could be faced with a dearth of class room teachers and so have to use the HLTAs that quit teaching to cover - running the risk of losing them as well. It's a mess.
    Dragonlady30 and petenewton like this.
  4. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Are HLTAs in the same position as cover supervisors in that they cannot be required to do all the tasks that a teacher does?
  5. teachingking123

    teachingking123 Established commenter

    Just rubbish! I can't believe that! My friend is a supply and is worrying about the work.
  6. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    I'm not sure but I know my HLTA will simply leave if she's asked to cover more than just the odd days here and there.

    It's true I'm afraid. Last year there was a never ending troop of supply teachers to cover sickness; this year there is apparently no money to pay for it all so TAs cover instead.
    lanokia likes this.
  7. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    I do supply just in one school but the phone hasn't rung, so far. Either the 4 cover supervisors are enough, they have cheap NQTs on supply or they just don't want me any more...
  8. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    Whenever someone mentions a teacher shortage a flock of pigs roosts on my neighbour's roof.
    Dragonlady30 and Vince_Ulam like this.
  9. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Over on the supply forum there is currently a thread titled 'when does supply pick up'?' For a !of of people it has been a slow start, but it does tend to be slow this time of year. I have had exactly the same number of days as I had this time !ast year. After Christmas I worked every day up until the end of the summer term and because of so many teachers leaving, I am expecting it to pick up again next week.

    As people have said many times it depends on where you are in the country. I work in secondary and even of schools wanted to use TAs and cover supervisors they still need supply staff since those people go off sick too.
  10. blueskies31

    blueskies31 Occasional commenter

    In my previous school, we had 2 HLTAs employed who were timetabled to cover PPA, when teachers were out training and sickness cover when needed and available. Very few times did we have supply teachers due to the cost
  11. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    'Cover' is all that they can provide, following the plans prepared by a qualified teacher. Many primary schools do employ dedicated PPA teachers, who don't 'cover' lessons but actually take responsibility for all aspects of the timetabled lessons. I have rarely come across the use of cover supervisors in the many primary schools I have worked in, but know they are commonly used in secondary schools.

    Of course, free schools and academies can employ anyone they wish to deliver lessons: there was outrage two years ago when an academy in special measures advertised for unqualified teachers educated to GCSE level to teach on a full-time temporary contract, subject to the STPCD. The adverts were quickly withdrawn.
  12. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    We have just taken on yet another Computer Science supply teacher this week after our last one gave us a week's notice - our utterly-stupid-beyond-belief deputy head (my line manager) decided without consulting me that the supply teacher needed to have some limited targets, be given a performance review, should contribute to developing schemes of work and writing action plans for students falling behind. The teacher was doing a great job planning, teaching and marking, kept me fully informed of all progress and issues and kept the tracking sheets up to date. The Deputy Head is such a ****. We are now going to pay an agency £260 a day compared to the £230 for the last one because of the shortage and I will have to spend yet more time getting this person up to speed, assuming they are up to the job. Thank Christ I am leaving this madness at Christmas and joining the ranks of supply. Goodbye stupid non-teaching tasks and hello teaching and having a life.
    drek likes this.
  13. drek

    drek Star commenter

    i hear some schools have such a bad reputation for not looking after their staff, that they are forced to employ EAL or non specialist supply staff,.
    The burden of all admin work e.g. writing out 4000 word references for 6th formers, and inputting tracking data and comments every few weeks, then falls on those qualified members left in the department, who can speak and write English, and understand what is expected to be inputted 'data' wise, thus increasing their unreasonable hours after work, to an even more impossible amount.
    Add to that, an outstanding nqt could be promoted to lead, and since they are too young to have families or even houses of their own, home life seems unnecessary to them just yet.
    They are still in uni mode, and 'expect' everyone else to live and work at that level too.
  14. drek

    drek Star commenter

    in teacher speak it is called having 'high expectations'.
    teachingking123 likes this.
  15. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    Are teachers responsible to plan for their PPA to give to the HLTAs?
  16. scattykatty

    scattykatty New commenter

    Could this be how workload issues finally get tackled - by more people just walking off when unrealistic demands are put on them? I think it's wishful thinking but if we all did this!?!
  17. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    "Thank Christ I am leaving this madness at Christmas and joining the ranks of supply. Goodbye stupid non-teaching tasks and hello teaching and having a life".

    I wouldn't be so hasty if I were you. Despite what you may read on these forums the amount of day-to-day supply at least is well down from recent years. So you may have more life than you bargained for. It may well pick up, but many schools are "making do and mend" with Cover Supervisors (we have 4) and HLTAs.

    Everyone has their own opinion about this but IMHO day-to-day supply is deeply unsatisfying if you've been a regular teacher for any length of time. In many schools supply teachers are treated very indifferently and I was relieved when I got a longer term post.

    Incidentally no supply teacher is under any obligation to do the things that you outlined were planned above. No wonder you get through so many of them.

    Supply is not a panacea - some people love it, lots of others don't.
  18. Wonderwoman1

    Wonderwoman1 New commenter

    The HLTA's at my school are expected to plan, assess and mark for any lessons they take.
  19. Wonderwoman1

    Wonderwoman1 New commenter

    Not at our school. HLTA's have been told that they are expected to plan and mark for lessons they take. They are not given any planning time to do this.
  20. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    @Wonderwoman1 Do you work in an academy or free school, where anything goes?

    Maintained schools in England can only employ teachers with QTS to plan and teach lessons - as these duties are part of the Teachers' Standards. HLTAs can work under the direction of a qualified teacher.

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