In her letter "Agencies are an aid, not a threat", (TES, July 14), Christine Little has left out an important category of teachers who have been forced by redundancy to use agencies in order to "earn an honest crust".
These people, sometimes the sole breadwinner, are not looking for part-time work to fit in with family commitments, but need the chance to keep their heads above water, to hang on to their redundancy payments like "grim death", and compete with often 105-plus candidates in order to try to get back into "the swim".
The alternative to working with agencies is unemployment benefit, which is insufficient and a national disgrace. Many agencies pay a low fixed daily rate, which is unfair to experienced teachers. A teacher near the top of even the standard national scale is paid about Pounds 30 a day less than they should be by most agencies, but often schools are charged just Pounds 2 short of the "official" rate. Profit does not have to be a bad thing, but surely this sort of thing is excessive? No wonder experienced teachers who have to use agencies are aggrieved. Surely this sort of injustice needs to be rectified . . . legally?
TES july 28 1995