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Teachers: Moving away from supply contracts

06 October 2020

By Executives Team

Teachers: Moving away from supply contracts

‘Would you like to work at this incredible School on a temporary contract?’

‘Sure! When did they say I can start?’

‘If you can get there tomorrow morning, as soon as possible.’

The above conversation is something that many supply-teachers can relate to in the last few years. For many years now, supply contracts have been in high demand in the Education sector, with recruiters being handed supply contracts from different schools across the country and in turn, offering the opportunities to those who are looking for short-term work. 

However, as we enter the new school year in under a month’s time, there’s been a shift in the needs of what constitutes a contract in teaching. With additional challenges and requirements that also dictate a different way of performing certain tasks in the classroom, there’s also a need for more applicants for longer periods throughout the school-year.

A ‘new normal’ now needs to move away from supply contracts; full-time contracts now need to be the standard in teaching.

When it comes to supply teaching, it can be similar to someone who is a freelancer; the uncertainty, the work that will bring new challenges, and the inconsistent level of pay every month.

More concerning is the similarity of the anxiety on whether there will be any more work coming in, especially before the summer or even Christmas break.

When the education secretary, Gavin Williamson announced on the 18th March that schools were to close until further notice, it understandably brought a lot of anxiety to those who are supply teachers that work through multiple agencies. It also forced some to claim Universal Credit or look to part-time work to try and pay for the bills in the meantime.

As September has been set as the tentative date for schools to reopen, this also brings new challenges, thanks to safeguards and a changed curriculum to better adapt to COVID-19, especially if a student tests positive with the virus.

Alongside this, if a supply teacher was to come in, there could even be some stress as to whether they have contracted the virus before, regardless of the rigorous tests that would have taken place before they began at the school. It’s at the back of many people’s minds, but it’s important to be rid of any before entering the classroom.  

This all goes back to how the pandemic has affected many industries. Those who had felt a sense of security, are now worried about the future, especially until a vaccine is certain.

This is why we believe that the end of supply contracts should occur. There is an influx of graduates looking for full-time work to start their career and in-turn to get on the property ladder. There’s also another predicted rise in more secondary school students to be attending in the next three years.

With these attributes, it’s only inevitable that more schools and academies will be built and expanded across the country, thereby encouraging jobs with full-time contracts to come in. It’s why at Executives that we believe the supply contracts of teaching should now conclude or at least be reconsidered as to their effectiveness, and we should be encouraging governing bodies to help promote the appeal of full-time contracts, rather than supply teaching to essentially put a bandaid on covering certain classes. Children and teachers alike deserve more.

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