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"Disgraceful exploitation of thousands of temporary staff in the UK"

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on May 7, 2014 at 12:25 PM Comments comments (93)

"The UK’s excellent academic reputation has, unfortunately, been built upon the disgraceful exploitation of thousands of temporary staff, with universities and colleges using the fierce competition for permanent jobs to create a no-rights culture for teachers and researchers.

Employers often hide behind the defence of flexibility in justifying the use of casual contracts, but that flexibility is very much a one-way street. It might be good for employers but it leaves employees unable to make financial plans on a year-to-year, or even month-to-month and week-to-week basis.

Students also suffer under a culture of casualisation as they miss out on continuity and often receive reduced access to staff employed on minimal hours."

"Warning of supply teacher crisis in schools"

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on March 22, 2014 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (1)

"Scottish school pupils face the prospect of being sent home because of a “supply crisis” leaving classrooms without anyone to look after them, according to a senior teachers’ representative."


Members of EIS backed a new deal on pay and conditions

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on March 5, 2014 at 2:35 AM Comments comments (3)

"Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) voted to back the deal by a 9-1 margin."

"A raw deal for supply teachers"

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on February 7, 2014 at 4:25 AM Comments comments (26)

A letter written by a Supply Teacher.


"A raw deal for supply teachers

Thursday 6 February 2014

IF the purpose of the latest offer on pay for Scottish supply teachers is to entice more of them back into the classroom then disappointment may lie ahead ("Pay row teachers to vote on new offer", The Herald, February 4).


The offer is that full pay be awarded after two days of work in any one school or class instead of the existing term of after five days or three days which was part of a deal rejected in the last EIS ballot.


I am on the supply lists in both the primary and secondary sector with a number of local authorities and have found that much of the work on offer involves one or two days. And in terms of the reality of what supply teaching is like in the classroom there is no logic or fairness in being paid less at the beginning of an assignment and more later on. It is hard work getting to grips with each new situation.


Along with many other supply teachers I am experienced and well qualified. We have not taken kindly to a cut in daily pay based on an annual salary of at least £34,200 down to one based on a salary of £17,100 if the additional cut in hours paid per day from seven to five is taken into account.


Supply teachers are expected to be on call, receive no sick pay or travel expenses. And for those paying into the teachers' final salary pension scheme further disadvantage is suffered, as a lower salary rate is taken into account in pension calculations.


Kay Smith"

"School forced to send pupils home due to shortage of teachers"

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on November 23, 2013 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (10)

"The difficulties also mean staff across the region are regularly working extra hours and non-specialist supply teachers are taking subjects such as physics and biology.


As a result education chiefs launched an urgent appeal for supply teachers in primary and secondary schools and in Gaelic medium units. They are appealing for teachers to contact them even if they are only available for one day a week or at certain times of the year.


A Highland Council spokeswoman, who said it was a national problem, said: "It is very serious, it is urgent. If we cannot get the necessary health and safety cover to teach them, we have to send pupils home.


"Head teachers are increasingly spending more of their time trying to source supply teachers and failing to secure them. This clearly takes them away from their roles of managing their schools and adds greatly to the pressures which they are under. We would urge anyone interested in becoming or returning to supply teaching to contact the council."


Gavin MacLean, chairman of the Highland Secondary Heads’ Association, said to say there was a shortage of supply teachers in the area was the "the understatement of the year”.


He said: "It’s incredibly difficult getting cover in both primary and secondary schools at the moment and a lot of heads are having to step in and teach classes.


"It means that sometimes staff are having to work over their statutory hours and we are getting non-specialist supply teachers coming in to teach specialist classes. There’s no use having a physics class taught by a teacher who doesn’t know physics.


"As the chairman of the head teacher’s association I can tell you that this is a problem day in, day out for my colleagues."


Mr MacLean puts difficulties down to a combination of reasons."


"He said: "People have retired and literally don’t want to do it anymore. Another factor is that in the national agreement for teachers’ pay and conditions and remuneration for short-term supply teaching is not as good as it once was."


Councillor Christie added that the geography of the Highlands made it difficult for supply teachers to commute.


He said: "If we cannot recruit more supply teachers, the pressure falls upon head teachers and the goodwill of staff to cover and deliver the curriculum. It is not an ideal situation and that is why Highland Council is doing all it can to recruit and target supply teachers."

"Supply teacher shortage impacts on curriculum"

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on November 22, 2013 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (1)

Some messages from supply teachers
"I am a supply teacher also. By the time I have paid travel expenses and child care I work for about £30 a day, I work 7 hours a day despite being paid for 5 and travel up to an hour to get to the supply school."

"I work in……… and have worked one year on supply this is my second I used to work almost anywhere within a 60 mile radius of my home now tho I will only travel as far as 15 miles"

"I live in a very rural area where there is one large secondary school in the town and another 3 smaller ones within 45 miles. I cannot consider going to any of them on a day to day basis as my travelling expenses have such an impact on my daily pay"

"Lack of supply teachers is an issue across Scotland"

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on September 19, 2013 at 12:30 PM Comments comments (1)

Several councils have told BBC Scotland there has been a drop in the number of supply teachers registered locally.


Scotland's biggest teaching union, the EIS, claimed the situation is at crisis point.


It argued the main reason is a cut to the amount some supply teachers are paid."



"Restoring supply teachers' pay will reassure all"

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on September 5, 2013 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (51)
Another good letter from Donald Macdonald in Herald.

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.

Donald Macdonald,"

Supply teachers, get ready for schools only calling you for 3 days instead of 5 in future.

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on September 3, 2013 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (21)

"The new agreement will see “short-term supply” redefined, meaning teachers will be paid the full rate after three days, rather than the previous five. Teachers receiving the lower rate will also be paid 10 per cent extra for preparation and correction."

"Lack of teachers cancels Edinburgh school classes"

also in Heralds.

"Pay zero-hours workers equally"

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on August 25, 2013 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (1)
A very good letter written by Donald Macdonald in Herald Scotland.

"It is heartening to see that the Scottish Government has suggested that it could bar companies from lucrative public procurement contracts if they have staff employed on zero-hours contracts ("5000 post staff have contracts with zero hours", The Herald August 22).


Unions have also railed against staff being uncertain of when they will be offered work, and then being paid less than the staff they work beside. Perhaps we can now expect the Scottish Government to look closely at the decision taken by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities along with the Educational Institute of Scotland to slash the pay of daily supply teachers who are on zero-hour contracts.


Supply teachers are the perfect example of the benefits to both sides when flexibility allows for fluctua­tions in staffing due to continuing professional development (CPD) or sickness. Young teachers look at supply teaching as a way of building experience and their CV. But cuts to the rate of pay now mean young teachers trying to start their adult lives are restricted in earnings and the ability to secure mortgages. Business Secretary Vince Cable has ruled out banning these iniquitous contracts. I suggest that the first reform is that zero-hours staff never work at a pay rate any less than that being paid to the staff they work beside or replace.


Donald Macdonald"

"Supply Crisis- Cosla is the barrier to a resolution"

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on June 15, 2013 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)


"Minister weighs into supply pay row"


"Scotland’s largest teaching union, the EIS, wants supply teachers’ pay, which was reduced for periods of five days or less in 2011, to be restored. But Cosla - which represents Scottish councils - claims the move would be unaffordable.


TESS understands that Cosla is also sceptical that pay cuts, rather than workforce planning, are behind Scotland’s supply crisis, which has resulted in schools extending assemblies and students being left in canteens because cover was not available.


Now the education secretary has entered the fray, stating at the EIS conference on Saturday that the Scottish government and the EIS are “on the same side”, implying that Cosla - the only other party at the table - is the barrier to a resolution.


Mr Russell made his comments during a question and answer session after he became the first education secretary to address the union’s annual conference.


EIS president Susan Quinn revealed that a seven-week absence in her own school had resulted in just two days’ cover. She asked if the education secretary was aware of the supply crisis and what he was going to do to tackle it.


Mr Russell admitted that there was a crisis and said action needs to be taken. The issue has to be “tackled and resolved” through the SNCT, he said, adding that the EIS and the Scottish government are “on the same side”.


Billy Hendry, a spokesman for Cosla, described Mr Russell’s comments as “disappointing and populist”.

Scottish teacher job prospects continue to improve(Only if you are a newly qualified).

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on June 14, 2013 at 3:10 AM Comments comments (0)
So what about all of those who have been waiting for years to find a job? I guess experienced unemployed teachers are more expensive than newly qualified. 

Almost half of newly qualified teachers have found full-time permanent jobs since August, according to research.


The General Teaching Council for SCotland (GTCS) poll of probationer teachers said 45.1% had found permanent posts, compared with 24.9% a year ago.


Those with temporary full-time contracts fell from 34.2% to 24.5%.


The figures suggested employment rates were the best since 2006-07. However, GTC admitted the latest data was based on a poor response rate of 16.4%.


Only 306 teachers out of a possible 1,863 responded to the Spring 2013 survey."

"Pupils left in the canteen due to the difficulty in finding supply teachers" Larry Flanagan

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on June 7, 2013 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (14)

By Andrew Denholm


"COUNCILS have been blamed for failing to address the crisis in supply teaching in Scottish schools which, it has been claimed, has left pupils sitting in canteens or assembly halls rather than being taught."



"SCHOOL assemblies are being extended and pupils left in the canteen due to the difficulty in finding supply teachers, the head of the Education Institute of Scotland has warned.


Addressing his union’s AGM in Perth yesterday, Larry Flanagan said parents should be concerned by the current “crisis” in finding short-term cover.


Under a deal agreed in 2011, the daily rate paid to supply teachers was halved, leaving many schools unable to find cover.


“The current crisis in supply, short-term supply in particular, is not simply a wages and conditions issue – it is having a direct impact on pupils’ learning,” Mr Flanagan said.


“Parents in particular should be concerned when pupils are having extended assemblies to cover for absent teachers or are being displaced to canteen areas because supply isn’t available.”


Mr Flanagan, who became general secretary of Scotland’s largest teaching union last year, said it was time for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) to “get real” and seek an agreement to bring an end to the situation."

"Exam fears over lack of supply staff"

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on January 28, 2013 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (1)

By Ewan Fergus,


Similar article in the Evening Times too


"Hugh Donnelly, Glasgow Local Association Secretary for the EIS, Scotland's largest teaching union, said: "Our members, including heads and deputes, are making significant efforts to cope with the shortage of supply cover.


Significant time and effort is being spent on trying to secure supply teachers and rearranging timetables in order that pupils are provided with some cover.

There is little doubt there is a link between short-term supply problems and pay and conditions, and the impact of the reduced rates for short-term supply teaching.


The union says teachers are making significant efforts to cope with the situation but says teachers and managers are struggling to meet the needs of young people in Glasgow's schools.

In a statement, the union pointed to an example of a class having been taught by 29 teachers this session because of a subject shortage and says another school was three biology teachers short at one point.

One of the main concerns is the plight of those pupils who will be sitting their Standard Grades and Highers in a few months against a background of significant curricular change. This is putting significant pressure on schools."


"A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The employment of teachers, including supply teachers, is a matter for the local authorities.


The Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers is currently monitoring supply issues and we will play our part in those discussions.


The numbers of teachers trained each year includes an allowance to ensure there is a pool of supply teachers from which schools can draw as necessary."

"Glasgow facing supply teacher crisis"

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on January 28, 2013 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

"A LACK of supply teachers in Scotland’s biggest city is affecting attainment and exam preparation, the country’s largest teaching union has warned.


The Educational Institute of Scotland said it had “serious concerns” about the difficulty finding cover for schools in Glasgow due to controversial changes to pay and conditions.


Under working arrangements introduced in 2011, supply teachers now earn just £78 a day ­before tax, compared to about £150 before. Critics of the deal have warned that Scotland is ­facing a “classroom crisis”. "

"Scots teachers wanted for United Arab Emirates"

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on January 26, 2013 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (1)


By Andrew Denholm.

"THE United Arab Emirates has launched a drive to attract Scottish teachers to work in newly-established state technical schools. The UAE is seeking maths, science, engineering, information technology and English teachers as part of moves to diversify its economy."

"Teachers with a minimum of one year's experience are being recruited to start in August this year on salary packages starting at £3700 a month – equivalent to £60,000 a year here before deductions." 

"The recruitment drive comes at a difficult time for newly qualified staff in Scotland with jobs hard to come by. In recent years, hundreds of newly qualified staff have been unable to find jobs because councils have been cutting overall teacher numbers.

More recently, supply staff have had their pay cut, causing reported shortages across Scotland."


Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on January 4, 2013 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The "sick" season is nearly upon us. January and February are the months when absences are highest and supply staff are in the greatest demand. It’s a great opportunity to make a stand against the unfair pay rates.

This is what we suggest:

If you are asked to come in on supply, check what rate you will be paid at. We suggest you tell DHTs/HR people that you feel you should be paid at your full rate and that you are only prepared to work on that basis. Many supply teachers are now doing this and many schools and LA’s have realised they must pay the full rate to get supply staff.


What all teachers can do:

We need evidence that the supply situation isn't working. Let us and/or your union rep know about:

· days when classes are unable to get subject specialists (or any supply teachers)


· amalgamated classes put into assembly halls or gyms to be supervised by DHTs


· teachers being "asked" to go below their minimum contact time (If anyone does that, they will be depriving other teachers of work. If asked yourself, just tell your DHT: “I’d prefer to stick to the proper rules on non-contact time please, thanks”;)


It is up to all teachers (regardless of union) to raise these concerns, via reps, so that elected members and the general public know what’s going on!

"Pupils losing out because of supply staff shortages"

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on December 24, 2012 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (1)

"Alan McKenzie, acting general secretary of the SSTA, called for the "derisory" pay rate to be ended and proper salary rates restored.


Very few experienced and recently retired teachers are prepared to accept supply posts on the daily rate currently offered. We are also alarmed that many newly qualified teachers are simply leaving the profession when faced with long periods of second-rate payment."

The lost generation of teachers in Scotland

Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on November 7, 2012 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (5)

A very heartfelt letter from a fellow supply teacher.