Supply teachers and agencies
At NUT National Conference, Supply Teacher Network members argued successfully that the union should pressure parliament and the political parties within it to do more to stop abusive agency practices. Agencies are frequently ignoring Agency Workers Regulations and deliberately confusing supply teachers over issues of tax and pay.
The NUT supply teacher network is continuing to highlight the large cost of agencies to schools' budgets. In Leicester alone, for 2015-16, £6,689,275 was spent on agency supply costs. Upward of 25-30% of that could be the agencies' fees to the schools, on top of supply teacher pay. The amount of money spent varies across the city; a large secondary spent £130 per pupil on supply costs, a primary £348 per pupil and one infant school, £627 per pupil. Local authorities, Multi Academy Trusts and government urgently need to find an alternative solution to agencies.
At last year's conference, it was agreed that NUT would investigate the serious issue of NQTs being directly recruited into their first teaching job by an agency. This has a calamitous effect on their future career, pay and training opportunities. The NUT are more often being denied access to training establishments to speak to student teachers and advise them on agency issues.
I would like to conduct a quick survey of NQT members in Leicester to get a snap shot of the situation regarding agencies. If you are an NQT member and you have worked or are working for an agency, it would be useful to hear from you (simonleicesternut.org.uk).
Dates for your diary:
• Supply Teacher Network meeting on Saturday 6 th May in Birmingham at the NUT Regional Office. Starts at 1pm. Contact me for more details.
• NUT Supply Teacher Network Conference. The 2017 conference for Supply Teacher members of the NUT will take place at NUT Headquarters, Hamilton House, on Saturday 24 June 2017. Apply for a place here.