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Thinking about supply teaching

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by rebeccahawes23, May 9, 2019.

  1. rebeccahawes23

    rebeccahawes23 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I have just returned from two years in Canada and am thinking about supply teaching for the next six months (well, up until Christmas). Just hoping for a bit of advice really, pros and cons would be great if anyone has time to comment.

    I have some personal things going on during the next few months so was hoping that supply teaching might provide a more flexible approach to teaching. Is this the case with supply?

    I have also read that it is important to select a good agency. I am living in the Dorset area, anyone have any recommendations??

    Many thanks,

    pepper5 likes this.
  2. MissGeorgi

    MissGeorgi Occasional commenter

    Hi. I’ve been doing supply on and off for a few years now. There are several types; short and long term.

    Pros: Overall, i like the flexibility, and far reduced workload. I can take a day off whenever I like. I leave around 3.30. Often the classes are easy to cover. Bad school? I don’t go back. Pay is good, you must negotiate a decent amount. Long term positions will be paid better. Eg MPS 6 rough equivalent is £179.00 a day.

    Cons: Less pay certainty. Agencies can mess you; but be firm and nice and maintain a good working relationship.

    Will also pm you.
  3. agathamorse

    agathamorse Occasional commenter

    Hi Rebecca and welcome to the forum. How much supply work you can get depends on the local area, whether you're secondary or primary and whether you want long term or day to day.

    In many parts of the country day to day has practically dried up with secondary schools using cover supervisors and primaries using HLTAs.

    Long term placements depend on your subjects or age ranges.

    Supply work is generally thin on the ground in the summer term and in Autumn until after half term. Unless you're in a long term post, but there are regional variances.

    We can't name agencies on here but someone might pm you with recommendations if they live in the Dorset area.

    Bear in mind that the dbs can take up to 12 weeks to come through. When you've received a dbs, sign up to the update service for £13 a year to save you having to pay £44 for each DBS as each agent will want one.

    Hope this helps.
    schoolsout4summer and Jesmond12 like this.
  4. agathamorse

    agathamorse Occasional commenter

    Also pay varies widely. I'm M6 secondary MFL trained, former HoD and I've taught every year group from EYFS to year 13 but I get £110 to £120 a day until AWR kicks in at week 13 in a school. There are a lot of mfl teachers in the East Midlands so can't ask for AWR from day one or they'd employ someone cheaper.

    It's all about budgets these days, hence teachers being employed at cover supervisor or HLTA rates and still being expected to teach.
  5. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    BertieBassett2 and agathamorse like this.
  6. FrauRussell

    FrauRussell New commenter

    If you can get bookings that suit, it can be great: easy travel, appreciative school, responsive students, pay and demands that you're ok with. It can be fun teaching other subjects, , and interesting seeing other schools and meeting new people. Or it can be nightmarish, particularly on daily supply. You can of course walk away from a booking, decline to go back etc, and agencies are very thick skinned so long as you maintain professional courtesy, but that impacts on your income and sometimes your well-being. So really you need to suck it and see, and hopefully you will be lucky enough to make it work for you while you need to. I would register with more than one agency if that's viable in your area. Allow half a day for each one. This gives you more reach in a competitive market. Say from the outset that you will only work for teacher rates - even if you can't get your scale point it should be at least on the scale. Try to discuss rates before you spend time signing up, so you don't waste your time only to be told it's £70 a day or nothing. There will be places that pay more, though you may have to hunt them down. Very bottom end for a teacher is about £120 according to pay scales. So over 3 days a week that's £150 more ... so you'd have had to work another 2.5 days approx for that, very probably doing the same job. Also ask in advance about PAYE. Umbrella companies seem to bring a raft of problems and more deductions so avoid them and be paid on PAYE if at all possible. You will need to budget out of your pay for holidays unless you are eligible to apply for universal credit. And of course there is no sick pay. This has the perverse incentive of getting you into work when you shouldn't be there. BUT it can a good life! Good luck.
    BertieBassett2 and agathamorse like this.
  7. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    Paid weekly.
    Can pick where and when you work
    On day to day supply: no planning or marking
    When you get well behaved classes, it can be fun and interesting as post # 6 suggests
    Learn new subjects


    Finding ethical agencies with consultants who do not lie
    If you are doing day to day supply: waiting for the phone to ring
    Negotiating rates/including being paid PAYE
    In this country at least, supply teachers are not treated well in some schools ( Not all schools).

    Finding schools where the behaviour isn't terrible.

    It may depend a lot on your character, but you have to be VERY THICK SKINNED and able to bat away a lot of dilemmas and be the sort of person where it just rolls off you and you can get back up the next day and fight back.

    Ensure you are in a union. You may wish to do some research into what union to join. We can't name organisations or individuals on here but I would definitely not recommend the union I am in at the moment and would avoid them at all costs.

    Don't be in too much of a rush to do supply but take your time and do your research carefully.
    BertieBassett2 and agathamorse like this.

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