Unloved, undervalued and under pressure

1st September 2000 at 01:00
MOST supply teachers feel undervalued and want more support from staff at schools, a survey reveals.

Only a quarter of supply teachers believe they are highly- regarded by pupils and fellow teachers and just 8 per cent think they are valued by parents. A mere 7 per cent feel inspectors hold them in high esteem.

The bleak findings have emerged from a new survey by specialist recruitment company Quality Teachers, of 500 Midlands-based supply teachers.

Of the 100 who responded, more than a half reported a lack of support from staff as a major problem, while almost as many felt they are inadequately briefed about what is expected of them, and were not given enough information on a school or its policies.

Almost two-thirds said they were hindered by "poor resources" and 84 per cent ha discipline problems in classes.

Lack of holiday pay, poor training and the cost of travelling were also common gripes.

But, despite their perceived lack of status, more than nine out of ten supply teachers believe the work is a worthwhile for its "variety of experience".

The majority also believe there is a good future in supply teaching with only 13 per cent disagreeing. Most anticipate improved opportunities because permanent teachers are increasingly succumbing to stress-related illness.

John Gretton, managing director of Quality Teachers, said: "Supply teachers have traditionally been undervalued. The survey shows that this is still all too often the case. But it also shows that a good agency gives them confidence that they are doing an important, worthwhile job."

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