England schools spend £733m a year on supply teachers, NUT claims

The NUT says that agencies make large profits from state funded schools, while many supply teachers earn less than they did three years ago with no entitlement to sick pay, maternity leave or teachers pensions.

Additionally, the NUT says that many agencies charge large sums for schools to take on supply teachers in permanent roles, and these additional costs are wasting money intended for children’s education.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said: “Supply teacher agencies are making millions while supply teachers’ pay continues to plummet. Schools are being charged huge fees by agencies, but this is money which should be used for children’s education, not going towards boosting the profits of private companies. The NUT is calling for new systems for sourcing supply teachers, which would save schools money while paying supply teachers fairly as well.”

Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell, said: “Supply teachers play an important role in our education system. However, we are seeing a teacher shortage crisis in our schools which means that head teachers are turning to agencies in desperation to fill the gap. With the IFS predicting that school budgets will fall per pupil for the first time since the mid-1990s, ministers need to take real action to recruit and retain teachers in sufficient numbers to tackle the crisis in schools which is threatening standards.”

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said: “Supply teachers are a crucial part of our school system – stepping in when needed to ensure that children get the education they deserve. It is, therefore, deeply concerning that the hard work of supply teachers is being undermined by these profiteering agencies charging outrageous fees.

“The schools budget should be spent on improving children’s education and providing all teachers with fair pay and conditions – not lining the pockets of shareholders in these agencies. I support the NUT’s call for a public and efficient system for sourcing supply teachers.”

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