How do supply agencies work?
What is a supply teacher agency?
Supply teaching agencies find temporary and permanent jobs for teachers, teaching assistants, and tutors in schools. Most supply teaching agencies will work with the full range of schools, while others may specialise in finding jobs for teachers in primary, secondary or special needs schools and units.
The work on offer varies from supply teaching to long-term and even permanent jobs. When considering signing up for a teaching agency, it is worth thinking about the type of work you want to do and in which schools.
What is supply teaching?
Supply teaching is a generic term that means working as a temporary teacher in school. A supply teacher's work might range from a single day in a school to covering an absent member of staff for a term or a year.
What do supply teachers do?
Supply teachers have the same responsibilities as their full-time colleagues. They must plan lessons, differentiate work, manage their classroom, mark work and assess pupils. Even if a supply teacher is only in a school for a day, the responsibilities are the same, but the expectations around planning and assessment are reduced. Supply teachers should take a full part in the school day's successful running and are not glorified babysitters.
How do supply agencies work?
Supply teaching agencies have several vital roles to perform. They need to have a good range of teachers and teaching assistants available for schools. This means recruiting and clearing people for work. Safeguarding checks are essential for schools, and most supply teaching agencies take checking and vetting their candidates very seriously.
A supply teaching agency's main job is to help schools find the staff they need. Schools are in regular contact with their preferred supply teaching agency, discussing their current and upcoming staffing needs. Sometimes schools will need a teacher that day and will call in during a morning booking session. The school's consultant will find the best match for the school based on skills, experience, locality and availability. For a daily supply teacher, flexibility is important. The more subjects, age groups and geographical areas you can cover, the more job opportunities will be presented to you.
Consultants fill the booking with the best available candidate; inform the school and brief the teacher on the day and details of the school.
For longer-term and permanent jobs, the process takes a little longer. Schools identify the jobs they need to fill, and the agency provides details of suitable candidates. This could be via a CV, a written profile or a video profile (or all three). When the school find people they are interested in, the agency sets up interviews or trial lessons, and the school meet the teachers and appoint their favoured candidate.
How to choose a good supply teaching agency?
There are several things to look for when choosing an agency. Here is our list of the most important:
Jobs - Ultimately, the reason teachers register with an agency is to find work. A good agency should have plenty of teaching jobs for you to apply to.
Reputation - Does the agency have a good reputation with other teachers and schools? Nobody is perfect, but an agency will form a reputation, either positive or negative, over time. Agencies that are happy to publish reviews generally have little to hide.
Established - Established agencies will have better relationships with local schools. They tend to focus less on gimmicks and more on the things that schools want.
Local - Locality is important. Even if it is a national agency, do they have a local team with an understanding of the needs of schools in your area?
Supportive - What does the agency offer in terms of CPD, support and career enhancements? Do they make the essentials easy, such as getting paid. updating your diary and taking a booking? Are you given a single point of contact who will guide you through work options? These things are the mark of a good supply agency.
Put a tick against all of these, and you have found a good supply teaching agency. We are pleased to say that at Protocol Education, we tick all these boxes and more. If you are looking for a good supply teaching agency, you have found one.