What should a School know about Supply Agencies?
The nightmare of unfilled September vacancies is becoming a reality for many schools as we draw closer to the end of the academic year. Many schools are looking to agencies to help fill the gaps in their teaching and support staff with supply candidates, whilst they continue to search for the ideal permanent employee. So what should a School know about Supply Agencies?
With many schools new to using agencies, this helpful guide will point you in the right direction of what to look for in agencies who can help you with your recruitment needs.
What do I need to know to fill my September vacancies?
Agencies can help you with permanent recruitment of staff, often having access to candidates who are not applying via county websites. However, schools new to working with agencies may feel slightly overwhelmed with jargon contained within terms of business that come attached with CVs! Below are a few FAQs that may help:
I’ve asked agencies to send me CVs. Two agencies have sent me the same CV and I want to interview the candidate. Do I have to go with the agency that sent me the CV first?
No; this is a myth. You have the right to look at both agencies terms of business alongside the CV’s sent to you and decide which agency you wish to trade with, irrelevant as to who sent you the CV first.
An agency has found me the perfect teacher and I’ve offered them a permanent contract and they have accepted! Will I be charged a transfer fee?
For an agency to charge a school a transfer fee the following conditions must be met to comply with Regulation 10 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003: (Conduct Regulations)
- There must be an express provision in the contract between the agency and the school which allows the agency to charge the school a transfer fee. This will normally be in the terms of business. Make sure you have read these and are aware of what an agency has stated they charge.
- There must be the option in the contract for the school to opt for an extended period of hire instead of paying a transfer fee.
I’ve never heard of an Extended Period of Hire. What is this?
The extended period of hire is simply another way of paying the transfer fee, breaking the fee down into a number of supply days. In order to do this, you must give notice to your agency of your decision to start the Extended Period of Hire. How much notice you need to give will be in the terms of business supplied by the agency. On a standard contract, you will agree with your agency a date that the fee will be ‘paid off’ and the candidate can transfer to the school’s payroll with no additional fee.
Temporary to Permanent Recruitment
I had the teacher on daily / short term supply and I’ve realised they are the ideal teacher for my vacancy. If they apply for the role, I offer and they accept, will I be charged a fee?
Yes, this would be a ‘temp to perm transfer’. However, the transfer of the work-seeker from the agency to the school must take place within the ‘relevant period’ which is defined as either:
• 14 weeks from the beginning of the first assignment with the school, or
• 8 weeks from the end of the last assignment with the school, whichever period is one which ends later in time.
If there is break of more than 42 days between assignments then this will break the continuity for the purpose of calculating the start of the 14-week period and the later assignment will be taken as the first assignment.
Are there any restrictions on the fee that an agency can charge?
There are no restrictions on permanent introduction fees.
Long Term Placements
I’ve decided to hire a teacher on a long-term supply placement rather than a permanent contract. What will I be charged?
This differs from agency to agency, and is something that you will want to have established before interviewing the candidate so you know if you have the budget to proceed with the placement if successful. After 12 weeks worked, the hirer (your school) has joint legal responsibility to ensure the worker receives equal pay and conditions. If your agency charge is very low ensure you know what the pay of the teacher is, and that this is in line with your pay policy, otherwise you could be fined up to £5000, and will need to back pay due to the teacher.
What are the Agency Worker Regulations?
If a supply teacher is employed by a supply teacher agency, the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions document (STPCD) does not apply and the agency can set the rates of pay and conditions of employment.
Under the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR), after 12 weeks in the same role with the same school or local authority (depending on how the local authority, school or academy group are set up) a supply teacher is entitled to the same pay and conditions of employment as a permanent member of staff.
To find out more please see the DfE guide: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/550123/Agency_Workers_Regulations_-_1_Sept_2016.pdf
How will the Agency Worker Regulations affect me?
As the ‘Hirer’, you will need to tell your agency the pay and conditions you would offer the long-term candidate on a permanent contract so that they can replicate this from the start of Week 13 to comply with AWR. Your agency should be able to talk you through all your requirements to ensure you comply with AWR.
Change of Role
If we offer a different role to the teacher other than what we initially requested can I avoid paying a fee?
Contracts do not define a role and therefore you are paying a transfer or introduction fee regardless. This is to cover loss of business and ongoing recruitment costs.
Help! I’m really stuck and can’t find any teachers to work full time! What now?
Have you considered a job-share option? Many teachers are already joined up with their ideal job share and have been moving round schools together as one ‘unit’. They are teams who work together well and are dispelling the myth that job shares don’t work! Speak to your agency about candidates who are already teamed up in job shares to cover full time vacancies.
What else should I be considering when I am approached by agencies?
Look for Accreditation
The leading accreditation in Education Recruitment is the REC Audited in Education Gold Standard in Recruitment which replaced the DfE Quality Mark in April 2013.
Holding the REC Audited in Education Status means that the agency has to uphold the highest standards in vetting and recruitment. Cowboys are not allowed!
To find our more, please click: https://www.rec.uk.com/business-support/audited/audited-education
Look for Reliable and Consistent Staff
Is the agency one with high internal turnover? Or one with integrity and long-standing members of staff who are experts in their local knowledge and knowledge of their teachers?
Finding an agency that is highly respected within your area is crucial, as that agency will be receiving the referrals of the best teachers directly from schools. They will have who you need!
Look at the Vetting Policies
The easiest way to tell if a vetting policy is what you need will be to look to see if the agency holds the REC Audited in Education status. This means the agency is vetting candidates to the highest standards. If they do not hold accreditation, look carefully at the vetting policies to see what checks are being completed on the candidates that will be coming to your school.
Look for Integrity
Are the agency set up to feed shareholders profit, with consultants on commission? Or are the agency set up to do good with their profits, reinvesting in education? If two agencies are offering the same candidate, at the same price, can you help support businesses who reinvest their profits to support teaching and learning?
Can 4myschools help me?
Yes! 4myschools are based on values of transparency, honesty and integrity.
- We believe in Giving Back our profits to support teaching and learning, both locally and overseas.
- Hold the REC Audited in Education Status, maintaining the highest standard of vetting and recruitment.
- We are well respected, gaining most of our candidates through referrals from teachers and schools.
- Have local consultants who have a fantastic knowledge of the areas they service.
- Have teachers looking for full time, part time and permanent vacancies for September.
Please call 01245 353 808 to be put through to your local consultant who will be able to guide you through the entire recruitment process.