Thanks to your News Focus on teacher supply agencies (TES, March 17) I have had more than a score of letters and some half dozen phone calls from supply teachers.
They have related their experiences with much criticism of agencies for not paying the full rate and for not allowing pension payments and it has also emerged that local education authorities' rates for a supply teacher at the top of the salary scale range from Pounds 84 to Pounds 110, with some agencies paying as little as Pounds 75 and offering no support.
The consensus seems to be that supplies need much more in-service training, preferably paid, to keep up to date, more support from schools and unions and greater recognition as professionals.
Another generally held view is that supply quality ranges from poor child-minders to dedicated professionals and that the system should weed out the former.
On balance, it would seem that much could be achieved by special sectors in the unions and perhaps supply advisers and advisory teachers, as well as dedicated supply training. Only two of the supplies who responded were happy with the situation.
Congratulations on the article, and keep up the good work, supply teachers need help!
13 Blackmoor Road