Supply teaching: why Robert subscribes to Edapt
Robert Pokorny is an Edapt subscriber and founder of Scheme Support, a directory of schemes of work for the English National Curriculum. He has been a primary school teacher in London for 8 years. In the following blog post he writes about his experience of supply teaching and why his subscription to Edapt is indispensable.
Working as a supply teacher is a very different job from that of being based full-time in the classroom – I took the leap three years ago and have never looked back. Supply teaching works particularly well for me as, like many others on the ‘supply circuit’, I have my own business. Supply teaching is flexible, free of internal school politics and without many of the constraints of full-time teaching such as marking books after hours and long parent evenings (we’ve all been there!).
Whilst supply teaching has benefits, the very nature of the up and down demand for supply teachers means that you’re in a much more insecure position in terms of employment. You might find that the beginning of each term can be quiet and this may also be the case at the end of the Christmas and summer terms.
Not only that, but pay confusion and wage discrepancies often occur. This is especially so if supply teaching agencies quote different daily rates to different schools for your services. Pay-slips from umbrella companies can also be puzzling and your rights as an employee may not be as straightforward as when working as a regular full-time teacher.
Supply teachers save piece of mind with Edapt
Dealing with these complexities, I’ve found that keeping my subscription with Edapt from my time as a full-time teacher has given me a huge amount of freedom from worry. In my view, there are a couple of important reasons why it pays to ensure you keep your subscription with Edapt even when no longer working full-time in the classroom.
As I mentioned above, pay and supply teaching can be complicated. Some teachers are paid directly through the supply agency, whilst others opt for payment via an ‘umbrella company’. Reading your pay slip from either of these can be confusing, as you’ll need to understand where you stand with sick pay, holiday pay, National Insurance and pension contributions. This is where it really is worthwhile to have somebody to talk to if you need clarification on any of these, and of course to take things further in the event of payment discrepancies.
The second reason relates to every teacher’s nightmare, i.e. allegations of inappropriate behaviour. These are thankfully very rare but if it does happen, you don’t want to be without some form of immediate legal support. As a supply teacher you’ll be visiting a huge variety of schools; and experiencing a huge range in your teaching environment. Due to the last minute nature of supply teaching, you’ll often be asked to cover situations at short notice where you may not have been briefed on the classroom issues. Sometimes the best intentions can go wrong, but knowing that there is edu-legal backup available in the event of problems can at least help you sleep more easily at night.
Today when times are tough, we’re all keen to cut out unnecessary expenses – that extra cappuccino or that take-away delivery. Those savings are probably a good idea, but do keep some form of edu-legal support going when you’re a supply teacher, no matter how few days you choose to work. Unlike that additional coffee, you may need it when you least expect to!
Support for supply teachers
If you are already a subscriber you can contact us for further advice and support about supply teaching.
We have also published the following support article on the main issues you need to consider when supply teaching.