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Worst Agencies...and Worst Agency Experiences...

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by les25paul, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. Another one this evening (this has actually had me in tears) - following on from my polite refusal to do free-trial half-days, the same consultant rings me today with a tenative booking for tomorrow - but it's a full-day and they need to win the business so can only offer me a half day's pay. Now I'm not sure which part of "I'm sorry, for the sake of all supply teachers I'm not prepared to set the precedent that I work for free" is presenting the comprehension issue for this bunch of clowns but it's feeling very much like bullying now.
    Thing is - I know if they DO win the repeat business by virtue of me going in there for free and my sheer power of awesomeness - they'd just throw the paid bookings at their pets anyway.
    Other agency I work for has also had me in tears this week with the disgustingly rude way one of their central office staff yelled at me down the phone too (both have been previously named and shamed so it won't be rocket science for anyone wanting to find them out).
  2. its getting worse...working for free is a slippery slope and then you will asked to pay to work in a school next!!!!
    another really annoying aspect is the bombardment of compliance supply have to endure. Yes, its something we cant get around by way of the rules but for balls-ox sake when someone like myself is registered with X number of agencies and the after a short while each comes knocking for updated references etc etc blah blah...it becomes a ral bind
    wyonamason likes this.
  3. ...oh, I forgot to mention and its already been touched upon by another poster. Some of the non-consultant staff can at times be quite rude and downright obnoxious with an IQ level just above an ameoba!
  4. emmadrg

    emmadrg New commenter

    I'm just disgusted at the way some of you have been treated by the agencies that you are signed up with. What a bunch of ignorant barstewards.
    Thankfully, (I don't think anyway!) the main agency I prefer to work with has been named on here (rhymes with seed). The agent I deal with has been brutally honest about the amount of day to day work in the area he covers, and that he's been getting calls at 8.40am for a school 40 miles away from me. He only had four morning calls last week. He won't insult me by offering me cover supervisor work, but then he said he hasn't really had many calls for that either. Most of the work he gets is long-term placements and he's lined up two potential placements to start after Christmas. He is never rude and I can have a bit of banter with him, he asks how my dog is and I ask how his baby is, etc etc etc. We joke about sending me into schools armed with a vial of vomiting bug to lace the staffroom kettles with.
    The other agency I deal with are much more abrupt and pushy. They've lied to me on at least one occasion (when I was registered with them three years ago). I think they don't like the fact that I don't really want to work in the area where they are, but prefer to work in the area covered by one of their other offices.
    Even the jobcentre advisor has warned me off one or two of the agencies mentioned on here.
  5. ...there are some excellent agencies out there. Like all industry sectors they have their own pressures, deadlines and targets to meet and as a result of the current drought for supply teachers some agencies have become bureaucratic monsters just wanting to make work where there is no need.
    Compliance is a necessary evil, but for facks sake can't we keep it to a minimum or at least where supply teachers arent repetively doing the complaince tasks when we havent worked with said agency for a period of 3 months...its balls-ox man...
    Secondly, and again this is the compliance issue, cant agencies not accept refs for more than a period of 3 months - seems silly that we are constantly asked to chase up refs and resultant delays means we cant work
    Thirdly, schools are just as much to blame - they want to squeeze the supply teacher until they have no choice (if they want work) to accept derisory rates which in some case can be as low as £90 per day for a qualified specialist.....specialist my ****....all schools want is a baby sitter and you get one of those for £5 an hour!!
    You know, I once felt I did the right thing being a teacher - what with the instrinsic rewards it offers and the holidays!! - but now we are treated like donkeys having to accept poor and low paid bookings with a future which at best looks bleak and at worst a sodding nightmare
  6. one agency cut my rates after i'd completed a weeks supply because i opted not to sign up with umbrella company for payment. I accepted this cut in pay as i had agreed to verbally the week before, without having adequate knowledge of the umbrella machine. The reason given was that the agency werent in line to make enough money from me via PAYE so I had to settle for less. So, during that week, I'd made an excellent impression with school with a supposed challenging class. They asked the agency for me back, and I said sorry- but you exploited me last week so I'm not taking the assignment. The agency then had the gall to say, well that leaves us with rather a bad taste in the mouth- cant you just do it for this week? I have pride so I said no- you've got some cheek telling me you can taste something rotten. I contacted the school personally, apologising for being unable to come back. 2 weeks later got a permanent teaching job Jan start, working temporary until Xmas at mo. Never will I sign up with, or contact an agency again. The arrogant agency type most likely tried to reason that I was cutting nose off etc, whereas I simply didnt want to be a cash cow for a ***. Instead, my professional skills will be engaged in a far more appropriate way as of Jan and it's a shame the agency are most likely treating many unemployed professionals in a similar way still.
  7. ...good for you indeed...seems like a positive outcome as opposed to dealing with crass agencies on a regular basis, which lets face it can become extremely irksome....
    ...as supply we all knew we are simply a numbered resource for agencies to get into schools so that they can earn their money, but I wont be bullied into this and will continue only to work where I am valued and not treated as some kind of cart horse
  8. Fings I don't like
    Being asked to negotiate pay rates down in the morning. My choice and my risk, Respect my choice but don't get shirty and start making threats, bullying is not negotiation.
    References, becoming a complete pain. Our agency is our employer not the school. Agencies should get themselves together, and develop a better policy across the board. I accept an agency needs a school reference on initial regestration. However after that, and you may have only done a bit of here and there stuff, then it becomes difficult to get a school ref for just the odd day. The fact you have been active with another agency says a lot. Our performence is regularly monitored in school, and if we are no good then the telephone call goes in. IE a ref from another agency should be acceptable. Not a big professional ref just Yes such and such a supply has been active and their performence is satisfactory and we would use them again.
    Yes as a supply when doing a long term I can get a reference from that school, However constantly being harassed for references is no good at all, and some schools feel they do not have to give a supply a reference as indeed they are not our employer.
    A bad example which happened to me. Worked in school long term, school closed down. I even visited one of the SMT in the new school and asked for her to do a reference. She did but did not fill in the dates I had worked for almost a year in the closed down school. Agency muppitt asks her manager, manager says no must be filled in. Muppitt says can I contact her again, or find another one, They wanted three! I said no I have pestered enough. I also thought this agency is so bad I am not going to bother pestering the school as I may need to use the school for a better agency.
    Quality Mark for agencies- I won't even go there.
    Crb's I won't go there either
    Moans about supply teachers moaning, half the country were on the streets wednesday, moaning it ain't just supply teachers!
    Suggesting a supply should go into school because it gives us something to do when we are on benefits! Well I can't believe the cheek!
    Volunteering for a school is fine but should be nothing to do with an agency. If you want to go volunteering then offer your services direct to the school.
    I do volunteer, in the adventure training sector, upstanding member of the community and all that. I would also add that in the adventure training sector the standards of instructor are far higher than the standads which schools seem to be ok with for their unqualified teachers, which schools are flooding with these days.
    Moans about supply not taking on CS work. The supplies choice, however if we are in school CS'n we are not available for proper teaching work. When I have gone in CS'n it has been last call in the morning. I have done the day, handled the classes, but don't get noticed other than as cheaper labour. I would only be noticed if I messed up. Arrived at school as a CS and noticed three other supplies in. My god did the supplies glare daggers at me! Don't blame them either!
    Yep I am a moaning supply teacher. Have worked for the first time over the last three weeks this term. Asked back by name. However if I am not getting any day to day I am not getting in school for ask backs. New agency regs, I am on M5 I accept less of course these days and next year I think I will be out of the game unemployed.
    Yes the destiny of supply teaching is not good, however the destiny of a few agencies is probably not to good either.
    I think agencies will develop by consentrating less on the teaching thing and more on the provision of school staff in the TA/HLTA/CS area.
    IF as a supply you are ok with being a TA/HLTA/CS good luck to you (said with respect not sarcasm) at least after 12 weeks on new agency regs you will get a few benefits. However watch out,
    Last play of the dice for me is trying direct to school, However a bit of a catch 22 (in this I am not moaning as agencies act as recruiters, it is fair that they get their cut on a finders fee) I feel I can't really approach schools I have worked in for an agency. So I feel I can only approach schools to who I am an unknown. Catch 22

  9. ...you should get this published buddy!!
    ...agree that, if possible, approach schools directly. I tried this tact the other week, keeping a detailed log of which school and with whom I spoke to...waste of time. Most said they dealt directly with agencies and wouldnt do so with me...BUMMER!!
    ....if the above is the case (I assume this is partly because schools dont want to sepnd loads of admin vetting teachers and such like) then why do schools allow themselves to be placed in vacuum of criticism when taking on cheap labour i.e. CS over experienced teachers. Well we kind of know why...its down to budgets...that said, if a teacher is prepared to contact a school directly offering their sevices then some form of negotiation is possible and generally yhou will find the teacher is happy and so are the school...i.e. if the supply usually gets £100 per day and happens to negotiate UP subject to satisfactory performance then surely this is better than being dictated to by agencies...isnt it??
    ...anyway, does ANYONE recall or know about a recent petition online reference the govt to prevent unqualified staff taking lessons...i.e. CS in a lesson as opposed to that RARE thing of a teacher taking the lesson!!!
    ...surely, its possible to raise the above point to your MP/council?Govt etc....I will and maybe this ridiculous state of affairs means we teachers can get some parity back...
    ....oh yes, if the above state of affairs is allowed to go on for much longer, me thinks many good people will simply not bother to train in the near future
  10. It's the same as estate agents, if you have ever experienced the misfortune of dealing with one as a tenant.
    The landlord/school is the customer and you are the tool.
    Poor workmen, or rushing pennypinchers abuse their tools.
    A supply teacher is like a big flat blade screwdriver. A lever/chisel to be used for anything but slotted screws.
  11. ...good analogy but I have to keep reminding myself that we are profesionally trained practitioners and if someone pays you peanuts all you get is monkeys....and I for one dont like doing anything without giving of my BEST
  12. I just had a perfectly pleasant owner of an agency ask me why I would willingly dob a private practitioner who is baldly interviewing teachers for mentoring posts and asking them to help sort out the policies, curricula...etc. Indeed, they all but insisted that the appointed candidates have QTS. Surely, it is is illegal to do this? You could argue that the staff are entering into a private arrangement, but they are doing so under duress. By the same token, I am fed up with so-called professionals bluntly asking me about my health, when that is supposed to be forbidden by the Equality Act (I should add that I am not at death's door, nor am I a plague carrier). Who polices these rodents???
  13. ...got a call from a friend of mine who has had to travel hundreds of miles each week just to complete his NQT status. Even so, he is teaching a topic that he isnt qualified in!!
    ...the system is in a real mess and its a question of every teacher fo themselves...agencies, schools and teachers...its cut throat out there at the mo
  14. Yep they can ask about my school days if they want. I was caned by the head twice, both times for minor crimes and misdemeaners, (teachers in a bad mood pickin on me), once for laughing at the wrong moment in assembly and once for being in a classroom at breaktime!
    Best entertainment in my secondary comp was, for major crimes and misdemeaners the head would cane a few at assembly. Fantastic entertainment.
    Other than that the all boys school actively promoted bullying it seems.
    However I did get a poem in the school magazine, and dressed up as a women for the school play. I think it may have had a consequence for the type of bars I hang out in these days. (joking)
    Agencies what a laugh
  15. Have a look at the Quality Mark for education site for supply teachers. Quality Mark assures that very high standards are maintained to ensure the supply force is valued.
    Quality Mark checks paperwork to ensure that we are constantly messed about and skint, after being messed about and skint for awhile, Agencies with Quality Mark will ensure that if we have not been in school for three months because we are being messed about and skint we will have to be more skint by paying for another CRB.
    Then after all this we get a days work, we go to a Quality Mark school sent by a Quality Mark Agency being a Quality Mark supply we are messed about at Reception as we dig our CRB and passport (visual ID) out of our supply bag, so they can photocopy it.
    After all this we might go teaching
    However it is good to know that standards are being maintained and there are no supply necrophiliacs in school these days. Before Quality Mark schools were full of em.I suppose.
    We may sit in a staffroom were we are lucky enough to be reminded by the teaching union posters on the wall, how well the teaching unions have looked after us over the last few years.
  16. Anyone know anything about Celsian, particularly in the south?
  17. ...honestly, this is typical of how agencies seem to be working. They take little or no notice of client requirements and the level of unprofesionalism IMO has dropped hugely over the last year or so.
    ...agencies seem desperate to get the teachers into interview but then its all quiet. Admitedly, things are quiet as a whole but schools need to take a long hard look as well on what they are doing. By employing CS & other non-qualified personnel its no wonder both agencies and teachers arent getting a look in. That said, this doesnt excuse the nonsense I have seen and heard over the last few months from agency consultants!!!!!!!!
  18. Dont know much about Celsian - Ive heard of them but on this thread we have chatted at length about QM and how quite honestly they are not worth the paper they are written on.
    ...accreditation means nought these days, if my experience is anything to go by as well as many others, its just another way of saying they have "passed" some quango-based nonsence to make them look good!
  19. I have written to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, Quality Mark and my local authority regarding the conduct of two teaching agencies: one which failed to pay and another which was ill-mannered and aggressive (both of which were on the authority's 'approved' list). All of the organisations (agency, REC, QM and authority) failed to reply to letters (not emails, but written on paper, put in an envelope, stamped, addressed and posted) and the authority even denied receiving them. A rather uninformed individual from the authority eventually telephoned and told me that there were lots of jobs on their website and I should just apply for them instead. After some considerable time, I was eventually summoned to one of the agencies' regional office, which I turned down on the basis that, in my experience, anything can be said or done at a meeting without witnesses. Needless to say, both agencies stopped offering work.

    Having been treated in this way by the agencies, for whom I had worked for seven years, the so-called 'accreditation' organisations and the authority (25 years), I did not know where to turn next.
  20. ...do you know, after speaking to of my agencies a few minutes ago and twice overall today (it wasnt even a chat, told by consultant gotta go ive got another phone call coming thru....well deal with mine first you facking toss-pot, I mean who called first me or the other caller????
    ....I am guessing he doesnt want to chat....sometimes the level of unprofessionalism stuns me and I cant believe that soem agencies actually get a QM

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