The NEU teaching union's annual conference today heard claims that public money was being “syphoned off” by supply agencies and called for a campaign for fair pay and conditions for supply teachers.
Supply teacher Benjamin Guy, from Nottinghamshire, told the gathering in Liverpool that supply teachers were earning between £80 and £110 per day but that some supply agencies were charging schools the same amount on top of this.
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He said: “Heads know they are paying over the odds and most would agree that agencies are not a good system and drive up costs for schools.”
He described the situation as “systematic syphoning of money out of the education system by private companies” and said it must come to an end.
A NEU motion, backed by the conference, calls for a campaign with other unions, including those representing head teachers, on fair pay and conditions for supply teachers, including a minimum pay threshold and access to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
NEU joint-general secretary Mary Bousted said: “Schools now spend well over half-a-billion pounds each year on supply teachers, in part due to the teacher supply crisis and the workload crisis.
“Far too much of this disappears into the pockets of supply teacher agencies which offer supply teachers less pay than ten or even twenty years ago.
“The government’s attempts to seek simply to regulate the market are allowing agencies to continue to flourish.
“We have to stop the agency rip-off. We need an alternative system that puts schools and teachers directly in touch and drives out the agencies.”
The motion calls a campaign to re-introduce public supply pool at local and national level.
*Tes' parent company Tes Global owns three teacher-supply agencies