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When agencies don't pay

I HAVE watched the growth of teacher agencies with dismay - five-and-a-half pages of adverts in The TES of November 24.

I was not surprised to read Carol Maughan's letter in the same edition about Cornwall abandoning supply lists. Some local education authorities had done this some time ago. This is yet another cost-cutting exercise.

Presumably agencies will now carry out the police checks

currently done by the local education authorities? Do teachers and parents want this confidential service carried out by amateurs?

Teachers have fought long and hard to be recognised as a profession. Accepting less than the going rate for a day's work undermines professionaism.

I would urge all young teachers who are contemplating working for an agency to remember that, and to bear in mind that any teaching they do through them

is not recognised for pension

entitlement.

There is a teacher recruitment crisis in schools and never has there been a better time to sell yourself. Have the courage to write your curriculum vitae and approach schools personally.

The growth of agencies and their poor pay and conditions of service is an uncomfortable nettle that the General Teaching Council, the unions, teachers who do supply and schools must urgently grasp.

Jean Webster

25 Lemon Hill

Mylor Bridge, Falmouth

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