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To get up or to stay in bed? & when are "peak periods" for supply?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by helenemdee, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. helenemdee

    helenemdee New commenter

    I have recently returned to day-to-day supply after a long-term, full-time placement. I'm primary trained and I have only had 2 days' work out of the last 8, which seems strange as when I was last on day to day supply (Jan/Feb this year) I had work almost every day. I know it's early days because I'm only just back on day-to-day though. Can anyone give me any information about when the "busy" supply periods are and when it tends to be quieter - if there is a pattern? All responses welcomed but those from primary teachers especially.
    Also, just a random question - if you are on day-to-day supply, do you get up early in the morning in case of potential work or do you stay in bed and get up when the phone rings? Personally I don't like getting up early if I don't have to so I let the phone wake me up if it rings but I nearly missed out on some work because of that yesterday so I don't know if I should perhaps change my habits. Just wondered what others do.
  2. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Up, breakfasted, dressed and ready by the phone at 7:30am every weekday when I'm on daily supply. I only usually 'stand down' after 9:30am, and even then I sometimes get last minute calls for afternoon work.

    It'll slacken off as the summer holiday approaches - July can be a bit sparse under normal conditions. Also in my experience September can be as dead as a doornail unless you've bagged a maternity or short term sickness cover. If it's going to pick up at all it should normally begin around October.

    Trouble is, circumstances are very far from normal in many places at present.
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Generally schools cope in Primaries this late in the summer, because as you know there are lots of extra events and schools don't need extra teachers because 'normal timetable' doesn't really function.
    As other poster said Sept is sparse too, but this might all change next year & supply may not even exist in our LA next year!
  4. Getting up before a call seemed a bit pointless to me! If it takes ages to get ready fair enough but the task that takes the longest is the drive to the school, so leaving ten minutes earlier makes little difference! I would not enjoy getting all up and ready just to hang around for a few hours or even not get any work at all. Have a mobile near your bed and pretend to be wide awake when they call is my advice!

    Oh and September is awful, after the six week you have already had off!
  5. The only 'peak' that i noticed in the year 2010-11 was February when, unusually, I had two days work in a month, something unheralded, as my overal average was one day every eleven weeks.
  6. I normally mentally write off September, first week or so of October (unless there's a pandemic or volcanic ash doing the rounds) and then June from mid-June onwards.
    Having said that - I've got three days next week - and I'm primary!
  7. helenemdee

    helenemdee New commenter

    Thanks for your replies! Nearly got a day's work this morning until the school decided they didn't want NQTs (apparently it was a really challenging school behaviour-wise and they didn't feel an NQT would be suitable) Grrr, really could have done with that day's work (and actually I would have appreciated the challenge!
    Due to the lack of work I'm registering with another agency who say a lot of their primary teachers have got into long-term positions and maternity covers and so on so they're getting more primary school bookings than they have available staff for at the moment! And this is June! Sounds promising, I hope they can get me more than one day a week once I'm cleared!
  8. "Peak periods"?
    What with the despicable, totally unacceptable and utterly contemptible use of UNQUALIFIED STAFF AS COVER "TEACHERS"?
    You must be joking or living in denial! Wake up and protest!

  9. helenemdee

    helenemdee New commenter

    I am neither joking nor attempting to live in denial. Sorry if I offended you. I'm aware that supply availability for seconday teachers can be very sparse at all times. However, I am a Primary teacher and was led to believe (and indeed, have seen) that there is much more Primary supply work available, at least in my area. OK I am not getting much work at the moment, but I was working almost every day earlier in the year.
  10. I have spent over 30 years in teaching and I am extremely depressed at what is happening in education. I would love to be able to finish my working life by continuing as a supply teacher in Primary schools but I am unable to do so because of the lack of work; I have had 4 days work in the last year and 3 of those days were in Secondary which I hated because the school was so badly organised.
    Why is there this lack of work? The reason is that schools are allowed to use TAs for so much teaching of whole classes. Do not get me wrong; TAs do a very valuable job and I appreciate their efforts very much especially for the extra help that they can give to the small groups of pupils who need the extra individualised help that a class teacher cannot give. But when these TAs have to teach whole classes to cover for teacher absence the children are the losers.
    All children should have the right to be taught by qualified teachers for all of their time in school but with the extra help that can be given in lessons by TAs when necessary. This right has been written into regulations which are then contradicted by guidelines. When teachers have their PPA time surely another qualified teacher should be appointed in the school as a "floating teacher" to take responsibility for all PPA provision. Instead schools are using TAs for this and to me that means teachers are being replaced by TAs. Numerous references in official documents and letters state that this should not be happening.
    Who is really to blame for this? The incompetent politicians and civil servants who plan and write the many documents which contain so many badly worded and contradictory statements even within the same paragraph - "support staff and teachers are not interchangeable" but "HLTAs who take whole classes are not substitutes for teachers"
    The recent White Paper on Education which formed the basis of the Education Bill was entitled "The importance of teaching" I was informed by an Education Minister via my MP that the role of TAs was to be considered but has anybody seen anything about that in the Bill. When challenged my MP admitted that he voted in favour of the Bill even though he did not know what was in the Bill because it was "government policy" He could not answer most of the questions I asked him.
    Sorry for this rant but I am angry at the way in which education has been treated as a political football for so long and for the way in which tens of thousands of teachers are being made unemployable and hundreds of thousands of children are being denied access to qualified teachers for all of their time in school.
  11. vou


    Dear helenemdee,
    for a lot of us - supply work is scarce. I'm talking about all areas of education including primary. I managed to get 3 and half days work last week but before that I had only had 4 days work since the start of this term and that is in primary. If you can stay in bed until that phone ring - good for you. I mean that honestly. For me - I have to be up and ready by 7 am. Because if I get called I have to be off on public transport- I have no car and even if I had I would get stuck in traffic. I would love to have some long term work. But reality for me is there is hardly any work and I'm crossing my fingers - hoping for some long term work in the autumn. Clutching at straws really.
  12. Hello Bronco,
    You have spoken wisely and perceptively on this important issue.
    Thanks for all the hard lobbying work you have done eg. raising awareness on this and other forums, contacting MPs etc. I too have wept over thsi issue and like you and others have been depressed about the appalling and unacceptable use of ALL MANNER OF UNQUALIFIED STAFF AS "TEACHERS"!
    However we and many others have to keep punching and dry our tears!
    This issue must be continually raised until we all have employment justice for the sake of this country's children. It is their education that has been and still is being so adversely AFFECTED through the use of now armies of unqualified staff masquerading as teachers in our schools.
    Totally unacceptable, unsustainable and disrespectful to all.
    All the best.

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