Just 12% said the level of pay they receive per day has increased in the last 12 months, according to the latest annual survey of hundreds of supply teachers in England and Wales by the teachers’ union NASUWT.

Over two thirds (68%) said the supply agency they most recently worked for operates a ceiling on the level of pay for teachers.

At a time of a national teacher supply crisis, one in five supply teachers said they are frequently offered work as a teaching assistant or cover supervisor with the great majority (83%) highlighting that this is at a lower rate of pay than they would receive if they were employed on the school staff as a qualified teacher.

Nearly one in five (17%) said they have been asked by an agency to undertake a ‘free trial’ at a school prior to undertaking paid supply work.

NASUWT General Secretary (Acting), Chris Keates, said: “The mantra of the majority of supply agencies appears to be to maximise their profits by minimising the pay of supply teachers. Unfortunately, too many schools collude with the poor practices of some of the agencies, which the NASUWT survey shows are rife.”

Nearly half (49%) of those surveyed said that they have been asked to sign a contract or agreement with an umbrella company and 42% of these said they had subsequently found themselves paying both their own and their employers National Insurance contributions (NICs).

The survey also found that 19% of supply teachers they have had to take on a second job in the last year to make ends meet and 11% have had to claim Jobseekers Allowance.

Supply teachers also reported a failure to provide them with essential information about pupils’ needs when starting work at a new school.

Nearly half (44%) said they were not made aware by schools of the children they were teaching who had special needs or behavioural problems and nearly a third (29%) said they were not informed about schools’ behaviour management policies. 43% reported that they are not given clear information on the school’s fire evacuation policy.

Last reviewed 13 December 2019