Supply staff and demand for cash

1st September 2000 at 01:00
YOUR report on supply teachers was a bit melodramatic ("Search for supply staff takes the Circle line", TES, August 18). Your own figures (that there are about 16,000 supply teachers in primary and secondary schools) tell us this is surely a very small fraction of the total teaching workforce (well over 400,000 qualified teachers).

Even the normally cool and measured David Hart has gone over the top with his comment that supply teachers working in London are "worth their weight in gold".

If this is the case, then presumably supply teachers should now be paid a premium for their valuable work. The reality, of course, is that they won't be.

Given their alleged elevated status, it occurs to me that perhaps our supplyteachers should follow the example of the enterprising agencies and set up their own shows.

TimePlan chairman, Ian Penman claims dramatically that the shortage of supply teachers is now "unbelievable". Frankly, I take that with a large pinch of salt.

I offered my exceptional services to this agency last October and I am still waiting to hear from them. And there's nothing wrong with me.

If there is a critical shortfall of supply teachers (which I doubt very much) I would suggest that now is the obvious time for supply teachers to set themselves up as self-employed traders.

They can then charge the schools directly. And goodbye agencies!

Bill Bonnen

Haynes Park Court

Hornchurch, Essex

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