Children are real agency losers

12th January 2001 at 00:00
I WAS interested to read the anonymous letter "Crucial to find the right agency" (TES, December 22) replying to my earlier letter (TES, December 8). I accept that there must be good and bad agencies. However, there are agencies charging more for a supply teacher than schools would pay for a similarly qualified "freelance" supply teacher paid directly through the education authority.

This is one of the issues forcing some schools into implementing a four-day week.

One of the advantages of supply teaching used to be that it could lea to a permanent job. This no longer happens because supply teachers and schools tie themselves into contracts with agencies involving finders' fees if any work leads to formal employment by the school. This is a cost schools can well do without.

But the saddest thing of all is that money is being creamed off teaching budgets to go to business. It's our children who lose out.

When is the Department for Education and Employment going to address this problem?

Jean Webster 25 Lemon Hill Mylor Bridge Falmouth, Cornwall.

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