Jill Friedmann, 1st June 2018

NUT18: Supply teachers' employment

The pay and conditions of service of supply teachers continues to cause outrage. Lack of access to TPS and salary progression, pay rates not to scale, and no access to sickness or holiday pay all remain problematic. Supply agencies continue their exploitation of teachers and schools - teachers paid £80 a day but schools charged £200, teachers employed as cover supervisors but expected to teach, agencies not paying the correct tax leaving teachers to pay up when the HMRC comes knocking and now we see agencies (eg Supply Desk) asking teachers to work a trial day for free.

One delegate spoke of the treatment of supply teachers if allegations are made against them by pupils. Unlike permanent staff who would be sent home on full pay during the investigation, supply staff are left unable to work, for months at a time. The delegate speaking about this was left for 9 months after which it was decided there was no case to answer.

Motion 34 calls for the creation of a a National Supply Teacher Service, a requirement to pay supply staff to scale and access to the pension scheme.

Amendment 34.1 from the Executive was not supported as it weakened the main motion. One delegate described it as 5 days of sympathy for supply staff and nothing the rest of the year.

An estimated three-quarters of a million lessons are taken annually by non teaching staff and rarely cover has become constantly cover in many of our schools. It is imperative that the union recognises the valuable work done by supply teachers and supports their demands for fair pay and treatment. A qualified teacher in every class has long been the motto of the NUT. No job is secure. All teachers are only weeks away from ending up in the hands of these private supply agencies.

On a more optimistic note, the union has been successful in negotiations with some councils, schools and academy trusts ensuring supply staff are correctly paid and given access to TPS.

Motion 34 was carried.


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