uring a lengthy period without work, there are only small fragments of supply-related events, which, at any other time, would not make the blog.
Monday 26th April 2011
I completed the NASUWT member opinion survey, Protecting Pensions, online. Although I indicated that I would be prepared to vote yes in a ballot of members to take industrial action; the survey appears largely irrelevant to supply teachers, as we have had our pension and a large proportion of our pay taken from us by agencies over the last nine-ten years or so. In addition, we are burdened with the expenses of CRB checks and annual GTC membership. Although they are more than willing to take my annual subscription, the union only appears to act when teachers on contracts are affected and mainly for their benefit.
Tuesday 27th April 2011
Following the Easter holiday, I sent letters to local schools offering my services as a supply teacher, as well as detailing my experience, availability and qualifications. This included the statement, 'I have references as well as a recent CRB certificate.' However, this was the reply from one school:
“Thank you for your letter. We have to use agency supply teachers which means we can guarantee all checks etc have been completed.”
After eight years of supply teaching, I am used to strange replies from schools, but this is the most curious to date. I am not sure what they mean as (i) I would be required to provide a CRB to an agency in the same way that I would to a school and (ii) no CRB can offer a cast-iron guarantee in any case. I have tried a Google search to find details of the CRB guarantee, but without much success to date.
Among letters from the small proportion of schools which, at least, had the courtesy to reply:
“Thank you for this. We do have your name on our supply list already. However, with the way we have our staffing arranged, we rarely need to employ external supply teachers. Good luck.”
“We book our supply through an agency.”
“Thank you for your interest in our school. We use a supply agency for all our teacher supply needs [name and website address provided]. Best wishes”
“I will keep your details and be in touch if I need a supply.”
“At our school, we cover absences either internally or occasionally by using a supply agency. Therefore, we do not have a need for any additional supply cover.”
“For your information we mostly use [agency named] for our supply cover if not using our HLTA’s to cover.”
“I am writing on behalf of the head teacher, to thank you for your email of 27th April. We are very well covered for supply as we are the lead school for the SCITT programme and therefore have trainee teaches in school much of the time. However we will keep your information on record for the future.”
These imply a number of issues, such as: covering absences internally; individual teachers not being required as agencies will provide supply; classroom assistants and trainee teachers covering classes; and, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you!”
Friday 6th May 2011
Without full conviction, but to make my presence felt, I telephoned my agency to ask about the job situation, to be told the Easter and bank holidays had an effect. The schools’ Easter holiday was from Saturday 9th to Sunday the 23rd April plus Easter Monday bank holiday on the 25th April. These were swiftly followed by a day’s holiday for the royal wedding on Friday 29th April and the May day bank holiday on Monday 2nd May. To make matters worse, some schools were being used as polling stations for the parish elections and AV referendum on Thursday 5th May. Admitting, I had forgotten the closure for polling day, I said I thought she would say this. Disgruntled, she murmured that, “It has been a nightmare.” Her concluding statement was, “As soon as there is something, I will phone you.”
Originally posted on Monday, 09 May 2011