10 or even 15 years ago supply teaching was in it’s prime, schools had healthy budgets which made supply teaching an excellent choice for teachers that were returning from extended maternity leave, retirees looking to supplement pensions and overseas trained teachers looking for travel and work opportunities.

Now, as 2019 comes to a close, schools are facing on-going challenges with budget cuts, i.e. children with special education needs being introduced into mainstream classrooms without additional or minimal financial aid, restructuring with reduced staff thus plunging mainstream schools into deficit. This has a huge impact on supply teaching and the supply agencies trying to juggle pay and work availability amongst their candidates.

We all know that the need for supply teachers has changed over the past 2-3 years and that the daily pay rate has not changed substantially for probably 10 years, however, is this the agency’s fault?  In the majority of supply teaching surveys conducted (I’m an avid reader of these) being underpaid or not being paid to scale is a big issue. The situation is stark for both supply teachers and supply agencies, the schools do not have the funding in order to book supply teachers and if have they no choice but to book a supply teacher they often opt for half days in order to save money.

In most survey’s conducted the blame for low pay is firmly directed at the agency.  Yes, I agree, there are unscrupulous Agencies in the marketplace, but there are also some excellent Agencies and that is why RMTA is so useful for potential candidates seeking a good agency.  Survey’s also tend to ‘knock’ Agencies using umbrella companies, interestingly, using an umbrella company can actually help agencies offer more money to its candidates, surprised?

So, in order for agencies to survive they MUST be competitive with pay, offer work and support. Sadly, right now it seems the offer of better pay and supply work is becoming scarce, schools just don’t have the budget for either, so let’s hope this improves and the days where schools and agencies aren’t continuously fighting for survival ends soon.

Posted by Lizzie Daniels

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