Supply teachers demand respect

6th April 2001 at 01:00
I was very pleased to read Professor Wragg's article expressing appreciation of the work done by supply teachers.

Having been a supply teacher for two years, I have been appalled by the vilification that this branch of the teaching profession has received, particularly at present, when so many schools would be closed were it not for our efforts.

Supply teachers have been accused of poor teaching. I am sure that this occurs at times. However, little is done to remedy this: there is very little support or professional development for supply teachers. Courses that are taken for granted by teachers on a contract are not easily attended by us. Sometimes one meets a sympathetic head who will sponsor a course but otherwise we must pay for it ourselves and if it is during the working day we don't get paid.

One might say (as has been said on numerous occasions to me) supply teachers are highly paid. But we are paid no more per annum than any teacher on our pay scale (with, of course, no possibility of gaining responsibility points). We are paid more per day but this reflects the fact that we receive no holiday or sick pay. Nor are we guaranteed work.

Despite being available for work every day, my income last year, as a teacher on scale 9, was pound;14,300 and, as Professor Wragg pointed out, we do have to pay for our own materials.

I love teaching, and enjoy the variety of supply teaching. I am also respected in most of the schools I go into, but a little more respect from higher up would be appreciated.

Caryl Hughes

25 The Drive

Arden Park, Bredbury

Stockport, Cheshire

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