Tag Archives: supply teaching

Well done to our Blackburn Team

I just wanted to share this letter from one of our Headteachers:

“I am writing to express my heartfelt thanks for the fantastic response from the Blackburn team when we rang to book a school full of supply when we got our Ofsted Inspection phone call in the first week of this term. How Claire and the team managed to find us so many teachers at such short notice was nothing short of a miracle and greatly appreciated by my staff who wanted time to sort themselves out for the inspection. I have phoned to thank Claire but wanted to say thank you as it was such a fantastic response in our afternoon of need. As always I can rely on the excellent service that Key Stage provide but this far exceeded expectation and was so appreciated. Well done and thank you to all involved.”

Mrs Bickerton – Headteacher St Pauls Hoddlesden

I would also like to say ‘Thank you’ to all our supply teachers and teaching assistants that really do go the extra mile to help us out when we receive urgent and very last minute calls for supply from our schools. I know some of you have rearranged appointments and even gone without your lunch.

All your commitment and support really adds to the service that Key Stage Teacher Supply offers to its schools.

The proof is in the letter.

To find out more about an agency that cares about its supply team then visit us at www.keystagesupply.co.uk

Jane Scott
Managing Director Dip RP

There is no greater feeling than being wanted!

Being a supply teacher is a rewarding job however the expectations are high, as is the competition. So to keep yourself in work and to be the one that the school calls for  their next booking, just read below:

Smile – it’s free

An easy way to stand out is to smile. Headteachers, notice and say they like the fact that some supply teachers smile and look like they are enjoying being in their school teaching their children.

Be Positive

Headteachers and their dedicated team do not like to hear from their supply teacher that it is a tough and over challenging school and that it is the worse school they have every been in.  They like to hear positive comments from their supply teacher and if you have not got anything positive to say then do not say anything.

Arriving in good time

Supply teachers who are late will not be asked back. A surprisingly high number of teachers set off without an A-Z or clear directions of where they’re going and before they know it they are arriving as the children are just going into the class.
Being early gives you the opportunity to find out how the school operates and what you need to know about your class.

Volunteer for playground duty

Check whether it’s appropriate first, as some schools have a rota of teachers. It’s an especially good way of getting known and is popular at primary schools where children readily tell parents and teachers about the nice new supply teacher. If you have a free period, don’t leave the school premises but ask if there’s anything you can do: it’ll go down well.

Mark the work

A cardinal sin is not marking the work. If you are unsure just ask.

Leave a note

It’s a really small thing but can make a big difference to the returning teacher, who may find the break in continuity unsettling. Leave a note at the end of the day, detailing the work done, where you are up to in set work, any incidents, whether books were marked, and if so, where they’ve been put. For secondary school teachers, this will mean more notes, one at the end of each lesson. Even a brief sign-off saying either that a lesson went smoothly or naming the miscreant pupil(s), is useful information to a returning teacher.
Do not rush off .Yes the children may be keen to get their coats on and to get out, but it is a cardinal sin for the supply teacher to be practically following behind them.

Say goodbye

…and thank whoever’s been looking out for you during the day. Some larger schools have a dedicated supply supervisor who does this, or it may be a parallel classroom teacher who sits next door and is on hand for your queries. If you’ve had a good day, tell them – schools enjoy getting positive feedback, too – and say you’d love to go back.

Do not forget you are always being observed for future long and short term bookings. First and lasting impressions count, so be the one that the school asks back.

Come and join our busy team of very friendly, very efficient and very professional Supply Teachers at Key Stage Teacher Supply.

Teaching and Chilly Winter Mornings!

Brrrrrr… What a chilly morning it was this morning. The talk in the Key Stage Teacher Supply Lancaster office this morning (as we all huddled round steaming cups of tea) was of our shock when we got out the door and realised that our cars were frosted up!! The thoughts running through my mind were, “I’d better get a shift” on” “Where’s the De-Icer” and more importantly “Where are my Gloves!”.

Fighting the Winter Weather…

Naturally our thoughts turned to our teachers and teaching assistants getting to primary and secondary schools across the region, fighting their way through country lanes and city centres to ensure that school children are still getting the best education that we can provide. At Key Stage Teacher Supply we appreciate the efforts that all our teachers and teaching assistants go to to uphold the reputation and standards of our agency and we thought it was a good time to be giving some useful wintery morning advice to you all.

Teachers – Be Prepared in Winter!

The best advice we can give you, whether you are going to primary or secondary school or even a nursery or childrens centre is BE PREPARED. Plan your routes in advance so you know where you are going and give yourself a little extra time in a morning. Driving conditions over the winter months can be treacherous, so set off early so you can ensure that you can drive safely and arrive with plenty of time to spare to allow for delays and poor conditions.

Always be aware of your plans for the next day. Whether you are pre booked into a school or are awaiting an early morning call, ensure you have everything you might need. We appreciate that are teachers have lessons and resources available but in the coming months be thinking about what else you might need. What will you do if your car is frozen and you get a last minute call? How much longer will it take to get out and read?  Have you considered a handy can of de-icer or a scraper? Plan your outfit accordingly, have hat, gloves and scarf to hand ready (I know I am always losing my gloves, they are worse than socks for going missing).

Keep in Touch

The final thing to think about is keeping in touch. If you are having problems, running late due to increased traffic or poor conditions or even if you think it might take you a little longer to get in than usual let your Key Stage Teacher Supply contact know and we will do everything we can to sort things.

The run up to Christmas can be a busy time, with sickness and bugs on the increase and transport issues, schools both secondary and primary will have increased needs for long term and more importantly last minute cover. So be prepared, and don’t miss out.

Whether you are registered with Key Stage Teacher Supply in Blackburn, Chorley, Lancaster or Warrington keep us up to date with your availability, stay warm and most importantly stay safe.

Umbrella Payroll Schemes for Supply Teachers

At Key Stage we are increasingly concerned for our teachers being enrolled in “Umberella” payroll schemes by some supply teacher agencies.

We have looked into these schemes over the past couple of years and decided early on that the benefit to our teachers and schools is far outweighed by the potential exposure to tax implications in the future. A recent broadcast by BBC radio 5 Live has brought this issue to the attention of a broader audience, and may well result in action by the HMRC.

A transcript of the broadcast is published below. The full broadcast may still be available on a podcast at the BBC Education website.

5 Live Investigation

Thousands of supply teachers are employed by Sark-based company ISS Ltd An offshore company employing thousands of teachers is avoiding the payment of millions of pounds in employer’s National Insurance contributions.

ISS Ltd, based in the Channel Islands, employs more than 24,000 temporary agency workers across the UK, most of them working as supply teachers.

ISS says it is “meticulous in complying with HMRC codes on taxes and expenses”.

HM Revenue & Customs says schools, councils or employment agencies could be liable for the shortfall.

The BBC’s 5 live Investigates programme has discovered that thousands of supply teachers working in the UK are paid by Sark-based International Subcontracting Solutions Ltd (ISS).

ISS is a payroll company – sometimes known as an “umbrella” company – which pays the salaries and expenses of workers who find jobs through recruitment agencies in the UK.

The arrangement means that temporary workers, such as supply teachers, are the employees of ISS.

Because ISS is based offshore it does not pay employer’s National Insurance contributions – but neither do the UK-based recruitment agencies that find the jobs for staff paid by ISS.

This could add up to many millions of pounds in unpaid tax. For example, for a supply teacher on a daily rate of £160, around £90 per week is not being paid to HMRC in employer’s National Insurance contributions.

HMRC says that the UK-based employment agency through which the workers are supplied, or alternatively the end-user company, such as the school or local education authority, could be treated as the employer and therefore be liable for the unpaid National Insurance contributions.

‘Effective enforcement’

This raises the prospect of HMRC having to pursue other public sector bodies and employees for the lost revenue.

ISS told the BBC that HMRC had no grounds to challenge its employees or business partners.

But the consultancy firm Professional Passport, which advises the recruitment industry on tax issues, says a lack of enforcement has encouraged the growth of offshore umbrella companies.

“We don’t need more rules, or different rules, just effective enforcement of the existing rules,” Professional Passport director Crawford Temple told 5 live Investigates.

“If these are proving too difficult to enforce then they should be reviewed and amended as a priority,” he added.

Director of Tax Research UK Richard Murphy says the growth of umbrella companies is “the next big UK tax scandal”.

Mr Murphy told the BBC: “The UK can’t afford this tax loss and it can’t afford so many households being put at tax risk. This is a scandal waiting to break.”

The government also stands accused of having ignored the problem despite warnings.

Professional Passport wrote to Treasury minister David Gauke in July 2011 to point out the “potentially embarrassing” issue of public sector agency workers being employed by offshore umbrella companies.

Mr Temple says he is yet to receive a response.

“Mr Cameron was quick to use moral arguments when celebrities were utilising tax avoidance strategies, yet his own ministers failed to take any action, or even respond, when we highlighted serious tax avoidance issues directly to them on a number of occasions.”

HMRC told the BBC that employers had a legal responsibility to operate PAYE and should question very closely anyone offering quick-fix tax and National Insurance arrangements.

“We are actively pursuing a growing number of investigations against these types of arrangements.

“The HMRC has already successfully pursued a number of companies for tax, National Insurance and interest where they were not playing by the rules.”

Do you have a Letter Box?

You may be wondering why this question is relevant to our industry blog? Well please do not leave the page and read on.

I regularly meet with my Headteachers and one topic that is always discussed (and boy do I hear some amusing and yet concerning accounts of their experiences) is the quality and variety of prospective candidates that come to view their school.

By this I mean the very first time that the Headteacher has the opportunity to engage with and meet with their possible future recruit.

The reason why I am writing this blog is to give anyone applying for a teaching job just 2 valuable tips of what you should be thinking about when you go to tour a school.

The first thing to remember is that a tour of the school is the first stage of the recruitment process. You are being observed by the Headteacher and the staff. All eyes are on you and I am afraid to say that ‘First impressions’ really count at this point.

Tip 1 – Present yourself in a professional way. The below list are all genuine experiences my Headteachers have had.

Headteachers expect business style dress. What impression does it give them of you if you arrive in;

  • Ugg boots
  • Flip flops
  • 4 inch heals that you have difficulty walking in
  • Leggings
  • Geggings
  • Low cut tops (I am speaking about both females and males here )
  • Jeans
  • Shorts
  • Unshaven
  • Unwashed
  • Hair unbrushed
  • Hair multi- coloured
  • Excessive jewellery
  • Excessive make-up


The list is endless and I hope you get the point  but believe me whatever age you are and whatever fashion trends are out there, please take the time to dress and present yourself in a more conservative way.  I am afraid to say that what you regard as appropriate dress may have cost you an interview.

Tip 2  – Ask appropriate and relevant questions. Think about what you need to ask and even practice what you are going to say. You do not need to feel that you need to ask a million and one questions. Being over the top and too enthusiastic can be very off putting to a Headteacher.

Without a word of a lie a prospective candidate asked the question:

‘Do you have a letter box?’

I shall let you ponder of this one and make your own decision.

Can you think of a time when any of the above applied and you possibly did not get called for an interview? Competition is high ladies and gentleman and if you just have a reflection on the above it may make a difference.