Supply teachers' Covid crisis revealed in 10 grim stats

The hardships faced by supply teachers have been revealed, including not being able to pay bills and relying on benefits
3rd November 2020, 5:00am

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Supply teachers' Covid crisis revealed in 10 grim stats

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/supply-teachers-covid-crisis-revealed-10-grim-stats
Coronavirus: Supply Teachers Have Been Left Struggling In The Pandemic, New Research Shows

Almost half of supply teachers say they have experienced financial hardship since the start of the Covid pandemic, and almost a quarter of those say they have had to rely more on credit, while almost a fifth say they have had to delay paying bills.

The findings are revealed in new research by the NASUWT teaching union, which shows that: 

  • 80 per cent of supply teachers were not able to secure any supply teaching work from the start of lockdown in March to the end of the previous school year.

Related: 'It's like we don't matter': Supply teachers forced to skimp on food

Read: Supply teachers fight for equality in pay

Coronavirus: Supply teachers unpaid due to 'cash flow'

Read: 'Supply teachers face greater insecurity'


  • 30 per cent said they were not furloughed by their agency or employer.
  • 23 per cent said they were only furloughed by some of the agencies they work for.
  • 22 per cent of those who were furloughed were not paid during the school summer holiday period.
  • 69 per cent of supply teachers who were directly employed by a local authority on a long-term assignment when the pandemic struck were not reinstated and paid, contrary to Department for Education guidance. This figure was 77 per cent for supply teachers employed directly by local authorities on a casual basis.
  • 66 per cent of supply teachers who were directly employed by schools on a long-term assignment when the pandemic struck were not reinstated and paid, contrary to DfE guidance. This figure was 71 per cent for supply teachers employed directly by schools on a casual basis.
  • 23 per cent of supply teachers have been forced to find work outside of teaching since the pandemic began, and 93 per cent of them said this provided them with less income than they received through teaching.
  • 16 per cent of supply teachers have had to access some form of state benefit such as universal credit since the pandemic began.
  • 49 per cent say they have experienced financial hardship during the pandemic. Of these, 49 per cent have had to cut back on spending on food as a result, 22 per cent have relied more on credit, 18 per cent have delayed the paying of bills and 12 per cent have increased their overdraft.
  • 69 per cent think the opportunities to undertake supply work during this academic year are likely to decrease as a result of the pandemic.

The research, which attracted responses from 794 supply teachers in England, was carried out between 24 August and 21 September.

The DfE has been contacted for comment.

*Tes' parent company owns three supply agencies

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