|Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on September 5, 2013 at 8:00 PM|
Supply teachers must work for five consecutive days in order to be paid the same rate as the teacher they are replacing. If they teach a class for a single day, their pay drops by almost 50%.
Zero-hour contracts for professionals are quite common - but they rarely mean you get paid less for being available on stand-by, paid less for the uncertainty of what you'll be earning week to week or paid less for the challenge of adapting to a different classroom of different children every day.
It was no surprise that supply teachers voted with their feet and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities was eventually brought back to the negotiating table by the shortages of supply staff that resulted from such a savage wage cut. These shortages impacted on teachers' ability to undertake continuous professional development and according to the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association, some schools which had not been able to find cover for sick staff had to resort to supervising pupils in their assembly halls instead of teaching them.
The irony of this situation is that the General Teaching Council Scotland has just revealed the new professional standards expected from teachers. Scotland needs to decide whether it really values teachers as professionals, otherwise wage cuts for teachers' supply colleagues will just be the thin edge of the wedge. Restoring supply teachers' pay rates to what they deserve and schools require will go a long way towards reassuring teachers that they are all valued professionals.
And that's not after three days, but from the minute the school bell rings at 9am.