Labour plans state-funded supply teacher service

Rayner says Labour will examine state supply agency to compete within the market and set up a national substitute teacher register

Martin George

Supply teacher

Labour is to look at setting up a state supply agency as part of plans to help save schools £500 million a year from their supply teacher bill.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner also outlined plans to set up a national substitute teacher register.

During her speech at the Labour Party conference, Ms Rayner said: "Led by our shadow schools minister Mike Kane, we’ll set out plans for a state-funded teacher supply service, fixing the failure of the free market, cutting out the waste and stopping the exploitation of agency workers."

Following her speech, the party said it would examine the feasibility of setting up a state supply agency to compete within the market

Labour said its separate plan for a substitute teacher register would be similar to a system already used in Northern Ireland, which allows schools to book the teachers they need at short notice from a government-held register of accredited teachers in the local area.

Ms Rayner said: “At a time when our schools have to ask parents to give extra money for books and classroom essentials, it’s crazy we’re spending half a billion pounds a year just on agency fees. That money should be spent on teachers and the badly needed resources our children need to get a world-class education, and under a Labour government, it would.

“Our straightforward, simple and proven policy will save hundreds of millions of pounds a year and help schools find the talented teachers they need.  While the Tories obsess over damaging and unnecessary changes to the education system, Labour will keep on producing sensible policies that will save our schools money and give our kids a better education.”

Schools in England spent £1.3 billion on supply teachers in 2015-16, according to government figures.

Earlier this year, the government announced plans to reduce the cost of supply teachers by creating a list of supply agencies that do not charge fees when making supply staff permanent.

Education secretary Damian Hinds also announced that the government’s free website to advertise teacher vacancies would be launched in Cambridgeshire and the North East.

During her speech at the Labour Party conference, Ms Rayner revealed more details of Labour’s planned National Education Service, telling delegates the party would “use our time in government to bring all publicly funded schools back into the mainstream public sector, with a common rulebook and under local democratic control”.

Following her speech, delegates also overwhelmingly passed a motion calling for the abolition of multi-academy trusts.

* Tes is part of Tes Global, whose businesses include three teacher supply agencies: Smart Teachers, Vision for Education and ABC Teacher.

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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