Supply pay rates vary by pound;45 a day

1st September 2000 at 01:00
TES survey finds big differences in wages - and in fees charged by recruitment agencies. Gideon Burrows and Warwick Mansell report

PAY rates for supply teachers vary by up to pound;45 a day, a TES survey has revealed.

It found that in London, they differ by more than pound;25 daily. Outside the capital the differences are even greater.

Supply staff working in London earn between pound;95 and more than pound;121 a day. Pay rates for the rest of country range from pound;80 daily to up to pound;125, for teachers in the same pay bracket.

Rates for three agencies, Teaching Personnel, Capita and Select, start at pound;80 a day, which is only just above the national minimum.

Supply Desk, based in Sheffield, pays a minimum pound;85 a day and although Steve Petherbridge, managing director, agreed the rate was low, he said the agency was one of the best-paying in the area.

Supply Desk would prefer to pay staff according to the teachers' pay scale, but Mr Petherbridge said the vast majority of schools would not fund that and paid flat rates instead.

Many agencies were tight-lipped about what they make from each teacher's day of work. But Helen Mylroie, operations director at Select Education, quoted a figure of 33 per cent, or a charge of pound;125 to a school, with pound;80 going to the teacher, adding that this was "fairly typical". Supply Desk's maximum fee is pound;26 a day.

A source in Reading borough council has said agencies commonly charge pound;130 a day, and pay only pound;80 to teachers. And a former London supply teacher said while she was paid pound;90 pe day, her agency, Capstan, charged pound;120.

Newly-qualified teachers with a good honours degree can expect a salary of pound;16,050, or pound;82 a day.

The teachers' pay and conditions document says that teachers employed by governing bodies should earn at least pound;15,141 a year,the equivalent of pound;77.66 a day.

A Department for Education and Employment spokesman said the document covered supply teachers if they were employed by education authorities, but not if they worked for an agency.

Recruitment expert John Howson, of Education Data Surveys, said: "It's recognition that where someone is doing a qualified teacher's job, they should be paid the rate for the job."

The survey also revealed experienced or specialist staff could earn more - up to pound;150 a day.

Despite the desperate shortage of staff, the survey showed this had yet to result in any rise in rates for teachers. Ms Mylroie of Select Education, said:

"I don't think the answer will be just to throw money at the problem. Agencies are striving to retain teachers for longer, and that's down to more than just money.

"What teachers want is the ability to work where they want, when they want. Agencies that can offer that kind of quality service will be the ones that succeed."

Supply and recruitment agencies had a turnover of pound;210 million last year, according to a report released last year by market analysts Capital Strategies.

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