Exclusive: 1/4 supply teachers forced to skimp on food

'We're treated like we don't matter.' Survey reveals despair of supply teachers in pandemic as work dries up
3rd November 2020, 5:00am

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Exclusive: 1/4 supply teachers forced to skimp on food

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/exclusive-14-supply-teachers-forced-skimp-food
Coronavirus: The Hardships Endured By Supply Teachers In The Crisis Have Been Revealed By New Research

The plight of supply teachers during the coronavirus pandemic has been laid bare by new research, which reveals that almost a quarter (24 per cent) have been forced to cut back on spending on food.

The research, carried out by the NASUWT teaching union, also reveals that 23 per cent have been forced to take other jobs outside of teaching, mostly on lower pay, since the pandemic struck.

While 80 per cent were not able to secure any supply teaching work between March and the end of previous school year, the survey also confirmed the NASUWT's estimates back in June that around 30 per cent of supply teachers had not been furloughed by their agency or employer. 


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One teacher told the survey that there was "constant worry about money and future assignments."

She said: "[We're] treated like we don't matter even though just before lockdown in many schools it was supply teachers that kept them going during the last week, as so many staff went off with symptoms."

Coronavirus: Supply teachers 'suffering hardship'

Another teacher said they were in the vulnerable health category with regards to Covid, adding: "I'm concerned that I will be at risk if I go into schools, will not be given adequate safety instruction [and] not be offered jobs as I require consideration which may cost the school, etc, and will not be paid as much as before the pandemic with the excuse that they need to save money."

A total of 794 supply teachers in England responded to the survey carried out between 24 August and 21 September this year. It revealed that 49 per cent had experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic and, of those, 49 per cent had cut back on food spending. 

Last month Tes revealed how schools were less inclined to employ supply teachers amid safety concerns during the pandemic, and that factory work was currently paying more than supply teaching.

Another teacher told the survey: "Since the beginning of September there has been no work offered by any of the three agencies that I am now registered with and I will need to claim benefits and look elsewhere for a job after teaching for 25 years."

NASUWT general secretary Patrick Roach said supply teachers were facing "even greater hardship and vulnerability" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: "They have a vital role to play in ensuring children and young people can maintain their education over the uncertainty and inevitable disruption of the next few months and beyond, but this must be within a system which provides them with a secure and equitable pay and conditions framework and which recognises them as skilled professionals."

The Department for Education has been contacted for comment.

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