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Thinking about supply

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by nowhereman1, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. nowhereman1

    nowhereman1 New commenter

    Hi guys,

    I am in my third year of teaching and to be honest had enough. I was thinking of going on supply, to develop more of a work life balance, hopefully.
    How much is there?
    How easy do people find it?
    How much do you make annually?
    I appreciate some of these things change depending where you are located.But it would be good to an accurate impression.

    I am thinking of leaving at Christmas.
  2. elvispenhaligon

    elvispenhaligon Occasional commenter

    Give it some serious thought. I would consider every step you can take not to quit. Councelling, etc. This has the potential to really mess your life up.

    In many areas, supply work is over subscribed and under required. This is true of SW Devon and Cornwall. Every college is chucking out another 40 of you a term (whatever subject you are) and if you were lucky enough to get supply, despite the pool of incredible talent kicking around, you'd be amazed at the husbands/wives/children/neighbours who get hired. You have a job, you are in a holy grail position, you should either accept that the other side of the fence is terrible and make the jump, or stick at where you are.

    I've had an inglorious journey which has been hell in it's own way. I still look back at my teaching job with fondness. The money is good and the conditions aren't bad. (despite having a bully for an HOD). I was LUCKY to get a minimum wage job doing something half interesting. Despite what George says about the economy, not much has changed since 08.

    Good luck and tell us how you got on.
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    As you say a lot depends on where you live and the subjects you teach. It is doable if you have a partner who has an income coming somthere is money during the slow times. If you are on your own, it would be much more difficult. It could be a way for you tomearn money while you look for something else.

    I earned just over 14,000 last year but this year I am aiming for 16,000. I am quite experienced, but a maths and science teacher with good behaviour management could earn more. I do only day to day. You could also do private tutoring which would top up your earnings.
  4. nowhereman1

    nowhereman1 New commenter

    I am a primary teacher from the North West if that changes anything?

    I would be doing some tutoring to supplement my income too. Is anyone doing both?
  5. emmalcm1

    emmalcm1 Established commenter

    I think it totally depends on your circumstances. I live in the Northwest and I earned a little over 13000 last tax year. I definitely wouldn't be able to support myself if I was on my own and doing supply alone, particularly over the Summer holidays. It is more doable if you have a partner who has a decent income/ you have another stream of income.

    However, my subject is secondary music which I think makes things a bit more difficult. I'm often asked to work for cover supervisor rate when I'm not teaching my own subject, which is more often than not the case since it's not a subject that's in high demand supply wise. I imagine things are probably a bit better in primary in that it's not subject specific.

    Personally I really dislike supply despite the far smaller workload but it depends on your priorities. Since I am in my 20s and married, my priority is having a solid salary to enable us to get on the housing ladder and start a family, which makes supply a nightmare, but for you it might be preferable. I'm in the process of trying to escape teaching altogether just over four years after I qualified. Personally I don't see supply as a long term solution, but it might be good temporarily if you decided on a change of direction?

    Good luck whatever you decide to do!
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Although supply has a lot of disadvantages, it is always something to fall back on. My husband and I would have been in a lot of difficulties if I had not been able to supply work. There is still a shortage of jobs and I am thankful for every day I go out.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  7. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Also I forgot to say that I might have been able to earn more if I had been willing to travel further and to go to the more challenging schools.
  8. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    As people say so much depends where you live, subject, age range etc. The incomes most people are quoting on here would be a very good year in my particular area. I never earnt anything like that per year.
  9. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    I do secondary science in NW London and last year I earned less than £1000, gross!
  10. charlen

    charlen New commenter

    I am a primary supply teacher in the northwest. When I first started out on supply, back in 2007, I was getting work almost everyday and earned approximately £14,000 for about 3-4 years. Then each year after that the work went less and less. Last year my income was £4000, the year before that, £6000. I supplement by doing some private tutoring, odd jobs for people like decorating and gardening.
  11. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    Thanks for posting since your experience does give the original poster some idea of what to expect. I am wondering if this year my income will drop also.

    On the other hand, many teachers are leaving and I live in a good sized town with quite a few schools, so maybe I will be able to keep going.

    I am like you though, I do supplement my income with a network marketing business and private tutoring.
  12. charlen

    charlen New commenter

    I have to admit though that up until the last few years I was getting a lot of work locally through the council supply service which subsequently closed. Now I have to rely on agencies and I am unwilling to travel for more than one hour to a school, which rules out the cities, nor will I work as a TA.
    I think it depends on whereabouts you are located in the northwest and how far you are willing to travel.
  13. oxtonnikki

    oxtonnikki New commenter

    I have watched this thread with great interest as I have only just started supply teaching. Last term went well - I had quite a lot of day to day work and was pleased with how things were going. This half term is a different matter, as up to now I have only worked one afternoon. I am Primary and in the Northwest. I know it is still early days, but after reading many of the posts on this forum, I now realise that supply teaching seems to be incredibly hit or miss and financially it is turning into a nightmare. I really didn't realise that the situation for supply teachers is so dire and I am now becoming very disheartened.
    I desperately hope that things start to pick up soon!
  14. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    It depends on subject, location, and willingness to teach in all schools including the sink ones. Many schools have done their sums and realised it's cheaper to use cover supervisors, or employ one or two full time. Our current supply earns £230 a day in secondary Maths / computer science but doesn't use supply agencies, she just contacts schools directly when in the mood to work, although she is very good and works like a normal teacher, except no meetings, inset, duties, data analysis etc. I hope it stays that good as I've just set up a limited company to ***** myself out to schools, after getting very fed up with the workload and resigning last week aged 51 :) a very happy bunny and at one with the world.
  15. nowhereman1

    nowhereman1 New commenter

    Thanks for your responses.

    It's a tough decision, I guess I could only try it and see. If it didn't work out then re-evaluate things then.

    Just out of curiosity Charlen, how much do you earn combining supply and tutoring?
  16. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I have also followed this thread with interest.

    This country appears atom still be in a recession and if people are wise whatever their current job they should consider having multiple income streams. My husband and I have a network marketing business which we are building up slowly bit by bit and the money supplements my supply wage and my husbands other business which he does from him. Network marketing is not a pyramid scheme nor is it get quick rich. It provides a way to supplement your main job.
  17. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    This is pretty typical. So many teachers see things as very attractive from the other side of the fence. They assume people have a lot of work and seem to be paid well with, as they see it little responsibility. What they don't see, as supply teachers have to be very upbeat and positive when in a school, is the big times when there simply is no work or in very tough schools which can make them feel demoralised and 'bad teacher's when they're not- it's the situation they're placed in.
    pepper5 likes this.
  18. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Lara well said. As a supply teacher I have had to put on a brave face when in reality the world was crashing down around me when I have had to go to very tough schools when we needed my income just to keep going.

    It got to the point where I could not face going to the toughest schools no matter how much I was offered to go and it took me a long time to realise I am not a bad teacher because of it.
  19. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    If you are tempted by glossy adverts making supply teaching seem like a real alternative to employment, listen to what other contributors here are saying. You have to be really pushy to get regular work through agencies. Firstly, it goes without saying that you have to be effective in the classroom and have no qualms about asking schools to commend you to the agency and asking the schools to book you by name next time. Supply teaching is all about sales so you are on sale. You have to market yourself.
    Also you need to know your rights. You are entitled to much more than the agency's first pay offer. You just ask for more. Don't wait 12 weeks on a placement for AWR. Ask for more money from the start. I am earning more than many of the contributors on this thread but it's only because I took a long term placement and qualified for parity pay under Agency Workers Regs. I had also read up on contractual matters. You can get very badly stung by assuming that the promises of payment between assignments and money back for travel and food is nothing more than advertising. When did anyone ever hand out something for nothing?
    Most of the work that agencies can't fill is the longer term placements. If you are going in for these, then you can ask for the going rate i.e. your pay scale salary rate divided by the number of days in a school year (195) but only if you are on a standard, agency contract.
    You must maximise your pay because for a quarter of the year you will not be working. In primary, most of the work seems to be long term or the odd few hours of PPA cover. In secondary schools, work falls off after the GCSE exams so from mid June to October half term, you will only have the odd day or half day. That's four months not earning.
    Factor into that, no sick pay, no holiday pay, no maternity leave, dismissal without notice, no right of appeal, no pension rights. These all have to be compensated for by pushing for a big day rate.
    If you don't ask, you won't get.
    It's really important that an increasing number of agency teachers insist on their rights. Schools will continue to use agencies if teachers roll over and accept pay so low that agencies can drop their charge rates to undercut the competition and still make a profit. It is a very rapid race to the bottom.
    There are those who still seem to be suffering from Stockholm syndrome and have not noticed that agencies are our captor not our liberator. They shouldn't be there in the first place. You can get work under your own steam if you can get schools to talk to you. You can cut out the middleman but it's not easy.
  20. charlen

    charlen New commenter

    I've been tutoring for about four years, and only tutor for about 3 hours per week, £20 per hour. In my area there isn't much demand, but I believe you can get more work in the Manchester and Cheshire areas.

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