NEU Supply Teachers Survey

The National Education Union’s latest survey of supply teachers shows that, despite a teacher shortage and regardless of the Government’s efforts to regulate the supply teacher market, the majority of supply teachers are reporting lower levels of pay compared with previous years. They are also finding it harder than ever before to obtain work. The NEU reports.

The annual survey was conducted between 8 May – 17 June 2019 and received 1,450 responses, a larger uptake than in previous years. Its publication coincides with this weekend’s NEU Supply Teachers Conference.

Daily pay rates continue to remain low with 40% of supply teacher members saying they are paid between £100-£124 per day, which is down from 41% in 2018. In the same period, the proportion of respondents who are paid less than £100 has gone from 11% to 14%. To put this in perspective, a daily rate of £100 would result in a supply teacher earning £4,000 less than a newly qualified teacher in a full-time post. In the same survey, the percentage paid £150 or more per day remained at almost 9% as in 2018. However, even a daily rate of £150 pays an experienced supply teacher around 10% less than a teacher with five years’ experience paid at Main Pay Range maximum. (Question 1)

Low pay and low incomes from supply teachers had compelled 56% of all respondents to take on other work. 17% said that they claimed benefits and 2% said they used food banks. Many others are reliant on savings, or in debt. (Q4)

A significant trend in recent years has been the rise of agencies, with 82% of respondents dependent on them for work – a 32% increase since an equivalent survey in 2010. In the same period, direct arrangements between supply teachers and schools has collapsed, from 39% in 2010 to just 13% today. Local-authority-run “supply pools” continue to diminish, with 3% of respondents saying it was their main source of work, a drop from 11% in 2010. (Q6)

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“The situation for supply teachers is becoming ever more invidious, with experienced teachers not only underpaid but undervalued. With so many reporting that they need to claim benefits, or even turning to food banks, it seems incredible that such a situation can have grown amidst a retention and recruitment crisis across the profession as a whole. Funding pressures currently faced by head teachers are making experienced teachers less affordable, and those who do get to work as supply teachers are increasingly underpaid.”

Read more findings NEU Supply Teachers Survey 

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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