Supply Teachers and Teaching Assistants are increasingly essential for schools especially during the first few months after the New Year festivities.

As a supply teacher, what time should I expect a call?

As we enter into the busy season for supply teachers, with school sickness becoming more prominent, what should you expect as a supply teacher?

Pre-Booked Supply Work

Sometimes schools are able to call in advance about bookings they know they need to cover. This may be to cover planned teacher absences, CPD training, NQT release time, jury duty, paternity and maternity cover, interventions and tuition just to name a few!

For these requests, we will contact you as far in advance as we can to confirm your availability and see if you want to take the role. If you are free and want to accept the booking, we will book you in and send you an email confirmation to confirm where you are going, who to ask for, and any other important information you need to know.

You are under no obligation to accept the work that has been offered to you. One of the joys of supply is the fact that you are in control of your workload. If you don’t want to work on a particular day, you don’t have to. All you need to do is let your consultant know your availability and they will offer you suitable work on those days.

Quite often, schools call agencies with these bookings the evening before. If you haven’t heard from an agency by 4 pm please do not worry! The bookings come through to consultants late into the evening and consultants will try to get through to you throughout the evening so you know where you are going in the morning. Don’t be alarmed if you receive an offer for work late in the evening, one of our consultants will be working and will be able to confirm if you have been booked in.

What increases my chances of getting pre-booked supply teacher work?

Schools often follow a request for pre-booked work with; “I wonder if so-and-so is free?” These requested teachers and support staff are the ones who have got on well at the school before. The reasons teachers and support staff get requested vary but frequent reasons include:

  • Enthusiasm – can the children tell that you are passionate about what you are teaching? Did they enjoy your lessons?
  • Reliability – did you turn up on time with your DBS and ID ready to work?
  • Marking – did you complete the marking for the day? This is mainly applicable in Primary schools unless specified.
  • Continuation – if you have received positive feedback then the school often requests back the same person to cover a teacher absence as both the students and parents prefer continuity.
  • Feedback from the class teacher – did you leave the classroom neat and tidy with work completed and handover notes for the teacher? Or was it chaotic, with additional work left for the class teacher? Leaving the class how you would wish your classroom to be left promotes all positive feedback and increases your chances of being requested back.

Same Day Supply Cover

If you haven’t heard from your consultant about work the next day and have said you will accept same day cover, then we will contact you from 7am onwards.

Schools often contact agencies through the night and first thing in the morning. This means consultants often arrive to a host of unfilled bookings that we need to find teachers and support staff for. Most likely, this is sickness cover which increases dramatically in the winter months.

You will receive a call that will ask if you are still free for work, and if so, are you free to take this particular assignment? By saying yes, the consultant will presume that you are ready to leave the house and get on your way and will often ask you for an estimated time of arrival if where you are heading to is not one of your regular schools. This is so we can give an accurate arrival time to the school and means they can arrange to cover things until you will get there.

What increases my chances of receiving same-day supply cover?

As simple as it is, being awake increases your chances of receiving same day cover! When the consultants are calling through a list of available teachers, you do need to be up and awake to take the call.

Furthermore, being ready to leave the house, and being consistent in your accurate timings of how long it will take you to get to the school will help. Consultants can share many stories of teachers who say they are available, but then want to have a 30-minute bath before leaving the house!

If you are running late, please make sure that you call the consultant who has confirmed the booking for you. We all occasionally get caught in traffic but would ask that you contact us safely to let us know your updated estimated time of arrival. When we are able to tell the schools that you are running late and can tell them when you will arrive, they can cover this accordingly. We always try to avoid a flustered cover manager calling us to say that you haven’t arrived when they were expecting you!

What time can same day cover calls come through until?

Same day cover calls can come in any time from 6.30 am through until lunchtime, when schools realise they need cover for an afternoon session! However, the busiest period is between 7 am and 9 am in the morning. If you haven’t heard by 9 am please feel free to call your consultant who will note if you are still available for afternoon bookings if they come through.

Short-term supply sounds interesting, how do I sign up?

The easiest way to sign up is to call 01245 353 808 to speak to one of the local consultants who will specialise in your area or register here.