Choosing to work in supply is often suitable for teachers who want more flexible hours. Being tied down to a full-time teacher’s contract means having a rigid schedule during term-time, with no capability of even taking a day off.
Supply teachers can pick when they work, so it’s perfect for people with young families, or who have other responsibilities they need to take care of. It’s an ideal position to work part-time in teaching.
Increasingly, we’ve seen a supply teacher shortage after the covid-19 pandemic, and schools have been relying on their supply pool more than before. In this blog, we’ll examine why that is, and help you find a supply teaching job.
Absence is Having a Big Impact on Staffing Levels
Ongoing covid-19 related absence is massively affecting teaching staffing levels in schools across the UK. Which means they’re having to rely on their supply pool a lot more than before.
It’s no secret that covid-19 travels through classrooms, so when a school gets affected it can be many both pupils and staff who end up having to take an absence. Even with social isolation rules being lesser, when someone gets ill they are still expected to stay at home. So schools are finding themselves having to contact recruitment agencies and supply agencies at short notice to find replacements.
Shortage of Teachers Means Schools Rely More on Long-Term Supply Roles
In the UK, there needs to be a certain teacher-to-student ratio to supervise students safely, so supply teachers are a necessary part of the chain. However, the shortage of teachers means schools are more reliant on calling supply teachers in to take on the work.
In 2021, 44,000 teachers entered the education sector which is less than pre-pandemic levels. If fewer people are qualifying and graduating from teacher training courses, then the teacher levels are going to fall. That makes supply teachers more in-demand and valuable to help cover the shortage.
More commonly, we are seeing long-term supply teaching positions open up in school, offering supply teachers a bit more stability without taking on a permanent teaching contract.
More Covid-19 Effects
During covid because of the uncertainty surrounding teaching roles, lots of supply teachers moved on to other jobs and careers. Not everyone came back when the pandemic was over.
Also, some teachers who were vulnerable and with serious health conditions couldn’t risk exposing themselves to covid-19 and could not rejoin the workforce after the lockdowns, leaving an even bigger gap in the ongoing teacher shortage.
Plenty of people feared bringing covid-19 home to their vulnerable or elderly family members too, and didn’t feel they could take the risk by going back to work.
Cost of Living Crisis is Seeing Teachers Move To Other Jobs
Teacher’s salaries have been a point of contention for a long time. Over the years, there have been plenty of campaigns to increase teacher’s pay and with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis in the UK, lots of teachers and supply teachers are moving on to better-paying careers.
There have been talks of a teacher strike, which includes supply teachers, after pay negotiations haven’t matched up to the current rate of inflation, meaning teacher’s are living worse off than they were before.
Salaries in teaching are at their lowest level in 40 years, and many people can’t take the strain when they have their own families to support. It makes sense to move on and find something better, creating a more significant staff shortage that ends up in schools relying more on their supply pool.
You Can Use Recruitment Agencies To Find Supply Teaching Roles
On the plus side, this situation means that supply teachers are in-demand, and more valuable to a school than ever before. It’s the perfect time to get into supply teaching. The best way to do it, is to get attached to a teaching recruitment agency and put on their supply pool. They’ll hand the calls from schools and come to you with potential jobs for you to do.
If you’re a teacher and you’re looking to work on a supply contract, you can use a recruitment agency that specialises in teacher’s jobs. Recruitment agencies are excellent sources for vacancies as they work with schools and might even know about supply jobs that haven’t been advertised online yet.
A reputable recruitment agency can also advise and support through the job searching process, to help you get more success when you interview for a role.