Becoming a cover supervisor

You need to be a strong character for this role, and that’s not just to manage the classroom behaviour but also teacher sniping. Cover supervisors were originally introduced as a way of maintaining teachers’ non contact periods but have become a permanent fixture in schools - and some teachers resent this. If you can handle the controversy that comes with the role, it can be a rewarding job and a useful way of getting experience in the classroom for those with teaching ambitions.


As a rule of thumb, pay will be around a half or a third of an experienced teacher’s salary. Local authorities have quoted scale 4 on the pay scale but won’t pay holidays. Think in the  salary range of £12,500 – £16,000

As a temporary role agencies generally pay less than for a supply teacher. Many agencies quote £65 a day for cover supervisor work, but may pay more if it is a qualified teacher performing the role.


This post is being more frequently advertised as a permanent role, and given that cover supervisors are not meant to mark work, should not exceed a 35 hour week.

Cover supervisor duties  

The cover supervisor’s main job is to manage a classroom, ensuring that students remain on task with the work they have been set. Curiously, cover supervisors are often defined by what they don’t do and this is in response to teachers defending their QTS roles. So officially, cover supervisors:

  • Don’t plan
  • Don’t have the subject knowledge
  • Don’t mark work
  • Don’t set homework
  • Don’t differentiate
  • Don’t set targets

However, in the TES Forums many cover supervisors report undertaking the following duties:

  • Teaching grammar
  • Managing behaviour
  • Discussing and debating texts with pupils and answering questions
  • Differentiating and allocating extension exercises.

Qualifications needed to become a cover supervisor

Cover supervisors are often highly qualified and may even have QTS. Many schools specify an honours degree as a minimum educational requirement and like their CSs to have experience of working with young people.

Skills and knowledge

The following are desirable:

  • Highly adaptable as there is no a regular timetable
  • Have a thick skin
  • Behaviour management skills
  • Be diplomatic

The upsides

Cover supervisors on the TES forums say “Every day is different. I also work with behaviour when I’m not covering so it’s always a busy, diverse day for me. A CS is respected in my school and teachers need those people that can step in when they are away.” 

The downsides

The way that cover supervisors are perceived and treated, often by their teaching colleagues.