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Why supply teachers don't like working for agencies

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by nearmiss, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Just so that folks are aware, supply teachers are lobbying agencies during the half term break.
    https://www.teachers.org.uk/supply
    This is of interest to all teachers because any teacher is a term away from becoming supply themselves, one bad performance review, one discontinued fixed term contract and you could be looking for interim work. Also in the event that you were unable to attend work, you would want a replacement who is competent.
    Supply teachers are often required to cover long-term absence and unfilled vacancies as schools have cover supervisors for the first four days of cover. However, in the majority of cases they are paid considerably less than their full time colleagues and about the same as a cover supervisor, even when they are working as a full time teacher, planning, marking and all other duties. You would be surprised how many staff in your school are not directly employed, so they have no holiday pay, no sick pay, no maternity pay, dismissal without notice, no access to Teachers Pension Fund (agencies are not statutory service providers and so can't pay employers' contribution). Legislation exists to protect agency workers but it is so full of loopholes that schools and agencies have ways to sidestep it and continue to pay cover supervisor rates to qualified teachers. The stereotype of the bungling old codger with a post-it note stuck to his back has gone.
    What many teachers who enroll with agencies are not aware of is the very slim likelihood of schools hiring agency teachers, even those who have proven their worth on a long term placement. Introduction fees charged by agencies are prohibitively high. Very few agencies are prepare to waive or even negotiate these fees even though legislation allows for this.
    A school, on average will pay the best part of £1000 per week for a qualified teacher, giving rise to the myth that supply teachers get paid more for doing less. However, anything up to half of that fee will go to the agency itself. Defecting to the school from the agency in order to cut out the middleman is a breach of contract, so supply teachers are trapped.
    I'm sure some contributors will defend their own agency who might well pay to scale and place them in well-run schools. Some might even work for the last few counties who still have a supply pool. Again, this is a dying breed. 90% of London supply teachers are hired through agencies. Schools have no choice. Continued surveys have revealed that LEA pools and agencies who pay to scale are not the norm and that a massive 50% of supply teachers are earning about £110 per day or less. With a maximum of 194 teaching days and troubled schools who struggle to retain staff creating the most demand, this is not an attractive offer. I understand the NASUWT is conducting some research on the lack of support and physical protection for supply teachers. Perhaps someone here knows more about that.
    As more and more agencies pile into the land grab, undercutting each other to get deals with schools, any ethical agencies who might indeed pay a living wage are being edged out. Not surprisingly, turnover of supply teachers is really brisk.
    Now, the money is clearly there to pay a decent wage, as one agency alone turned over £63.7 million last year, £15.4 million of which was profit. But it's ending up in the wrong hands. Certainly some of the multinational recruitment agencies are not even domiciled in the UK.
    The increasing casualisation of key workers in the public sector on top of unrealistic demands is adding to the diaspora of teachers, doctors, firefighters and social workers. Please find time to inform yourself about the agency rip-off.
    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-agency-rip-off-in-education
     
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    .

    A helpful post, thank you. @nearmiss

    I tell'em this time and time again!

    Come over to the Jobseekers Forum for advice on applications and interviews.

    Best wishes

    .
     

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