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    The REAL effects of penny pinching policy .

    The following are quotes received from supply teachers:


    "I took 7 years off, had 10 years experience behind me, in fact I was actually in an Acting PT role when I resigned.  Little did I know that my experience would be so devalued in the future.
    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, so I am the mercy of one school.  There are few supply teachers in my area, many on the list are retired and unwilling to do single days, unfortunately I don't have a choice.  I have been working on supply for 2 years now and find the experience more and more demoralising. 

    In the past year a typical week here has seen me working 3 or 4 days a week, in different subjects each day/period - very much the definition of general supply, and of course at the lower rate.  I had no work between April and September this year, and of course therefore no pay.  Fortunately I secured a 3 month long term contract last winter, which boosted my annual salary to just over £16,000.  This year is taking a similar vein, I am currently on a long term contract but it could end at any time.  All my teacher colleagues look forward to holidays but for me, these months are the worst - I worked 4 (short-term) days in October, my take home pay in November was miniscule.
    I am struggling to pay my bills.  My husband is a self employed builder so his work is very weather dependant.  We cannot renew our mortgage as I do not have a 'contract'.  Our house is on the market but of course in the current climate, we have little chance of selling it, so no hope of gaining employment in another council area.  We are quite literally between and rock and a hard place.  We have 3 children and there is simply no money for extras - I am now at the stage where I am having to consider cancelling my children's council operated music/swimming lessons simply because we cannot afford them (Direct debits of £16 or less each month).    
    The pay cut is an insult.  I don't sit and read my paper in the classes I cover.  I have to get to know the kids, build a rapport, deal with discipline - often higher level because I am the 'cover' teacher.  I have to think on my feet, often have to come prepared for classes with no work.  A day's supply is no picnic.  I have to use every moment of my 10 years experience as a class teacher.  And then at the end of it I am paid for 5 hours at the bottom of the scale.  I'm in the building for 7+ hours, not sure what else I can so for those 2 hours each day they choose not to pay me for.  I can't go home, so here I sit, seething quietly at the inequality.
    I have written to my MSP, he sent me back a reply from Mike Russell which took me 3 attempts to read, such was my rage.  Even now I cannot read it without wanting to scream - the usual blurb about protecting jobs, saving money, SNCT ratification , blah blah blah.
    I tell full time teachers all the time about the injustice of it all, but generally they don't care or understand."


    "I have moved out of Scotland as I couldn't secure appropriate work. I am now back in Scotland and the situation has not got better. I am considering moving away again."


    "I sought alternative employment."



    "I have had only one period of work paid at my full rate for 6 days covering a vacant post till teacher was able to start in post."


    "Over 30 days work but only 5 paid to scale."



    "Only got contract this month for 1 day a week for a year. A bit tying but took it because being paid at scale."



    "I have not taken any supply work since this new pay deal went through as although I need the money I feel undervalued after 20yrs working on supply."


    "My experience in Scottish teaching has been poor, I have been working on supply since 2007/08, to date I have applied for just over 100 posts, interviewed for 28 and of this secured only 2 temp contracts. I have informed my LA that I am available only for work in excess of six days from onset." 


    "I would just like to point out one aspect that has not been mentioned and that is the fact we are only paid for five hours a day under the SOD - what professional teacher can arrive at 9 and leave at 3? This is impossible and the powers that be are playing on the professionalism of teachers and therefore not even paying us for the hours that we are there." 


    "I have refused to work for this downgraded pay. It is now worth my while, taking into account traveling costs. I am an extremely able and competent teacher who taught maths for 25 years and through circumstances have given up a permanent post and relied on supply."


    "After coming off a maternity cover at the start of November I have continued to work at the same school on general supply on the lower rate. The school ensures that I do not cover the same teacher for more than the five days ( often I cover someone else for one day a week ) therfore always paid at the lower rate."

    "I've stopped working as a supply teacher and choose to take a contract working in schools as a specialist  - and not as a teacher."
    "The schools are now phoning me at least one week in advance so that they can get the necessary cover.  I work four days a week (Temporary) and I do one day general supply cover.  I have just completed my financial assessment for this year and have found that I am currently only earning approximately £21 000 for this year. My last year earning was approximately £25000 a year and this was made up of temporary contracts and general day cover work.
    I did not take on any general work at the start of the session due to my reluctance to accept such a low pay grade for a highly professional job, but due to financial pressures I  have no choice but to accept work as a general supply teacher.  I am finding it extremely difficult to make ends meet because I am the only wage earner with a dependant.
    I believe that as a professional teacher you are responsible for all pupils the minute you walk into a school. How then can any teacher be defined as having less responsibility than a permanent teacher? When I was a Child-minder I would command at least £5 an hour for one child. As a professional subject teacher with 5 years’ experience working with 20 pupils at a time, a temporary teacher is more than adequate to merit the appropriate pay grade of a permanent teacher.
    If I do not secure a long term teaching position in August, I may need to reassess my career choice as a teacher which, I am passionate about and find other forms of employment that would provide security and a salary appropriate to the job."
    "Like all supply teachers I feel very strongly about the drastic cut in wages.  I am lucky that I have experience from my career before I retrained to become a teacher to fall back on.  I am currently working 3-4 days a week in a non teaching job, and only 1-2 days as a supply teacher.  I recently spoke to someone who relies completely on supply teaching, and whereas he earned £28K last year, he has calculated that the most he can earn per year in future (assuming he works every available day) is £18K.  He will struggle badly to cope, as he has a mortgage and other financial commitments based on his previous earnings.  Considering the fuss that was made recently re the news that those who survive on benefits are to have their money capped at £25K, it is an absolute scandal that people who have gone to to great effort to gain teaching qualifications can have their wages slashed in such a way, with a fraction of the publicity that those who don't work received.
    It is a real double whammy to find that a) it is practically impossible to get a full time, permanent job then b) when you accept that supply teaching will have to do, find your wages reduced to such a low level.  How can it be fair that we are paid less than probationers? 
    I don't want to pack up teaching completely, as it would make all the training and hoops I had to jump through seem like a waste of time.  However unless this scandalous decision is reversed, I may have to".


    “Any other profession would be up in arms if they were treated the way a supply teacher is (huge wage cut), after all we are fully qualified experienced teachers who love teaching. I don't know how much longer I can put up with the negative aspects of teaching. So soul destroying!”


    “I was appalled to get my last payslip and will refuse to do any further supply teaching.”


    “I find that schools are trying to offer the least hours possible and they won't pay you for the time your class is at a specialist even though you are still in the school.”

    “Removed energy and enthusiasm; feeling depressed, angry, insulted & disempowered. Family life is suffering because of my stress.”


    “ . . . . So many members of the public are not aware of our pay cut and are very surprised when I tell them. They can't believe this was allowed to happen and why isn't it headline news.”


    “I would like to say that I would not take any work as that is what my gut is telling me to do. However, I live alone with no back up salary coming in and I have a mortgage, bills and basic food stuffs to buy - I simply cannot afford to be off and that is what the government, cosla and EIS were counting on when coming up with this sell out deal.”


    “Judging by the situation where I am working now, the Sell Out Flu epidemic is raging. Ripped-off labour is nearly impossible to find right now and my phone has not stopped ringing.”

    “I will not work for this rate even if the sky falls in. The SOD can get lost as far as I am concerned. The EIS were aware of the professional status of supply teachers and they sold us down the river - they can get lost as well.”

    "I have just been reading your Facebook page and thought I'd drop you an email about my situation. I certainly don't want to go into details here but I have more than a few problems with the new pay scale. I have been a teacher for twenty five years now. I love teaching and all I have ever wanted is to be allowed to do it to the best of my ability.
    The problem I had was that I have three daughters that I wanted to invest my time and attention on for a few years, thinking that when I was ready it would not be a problem to get back into the job again.
    I now find myself in an unacceptable position, which leaves me doubting my capacity to stay in the job I love.
    I have been trying for five years solidly to get a permanent position- it is not even my choice that I am now a supply teacher- I have no other option. I find the fact that the councils reserve all of the jobs for the probationers and never allow posts to be filled completely unacceptable and a dangerous game to play.
    I have been through a hugely difficult time in my personal life, now finding myself in the position of being a single mother of three teenage daughters who all want to go to university and college themselves. I have also had my house repossessed and am in very deep water with debts that were accrued jointly during my marriage. To find then at a time like this in my life that I am working on a minimum wage is to me very soul destroying after the efforts I have put in and the experience I have gained.
    I was in the fortunate position earlier in the year that I had a long term contract in a local school. I was doing what I considered to be a good job when the promoted position was filled and I was made the casualty of the situation. This was done to me 5 days short of 18 months solid teaching- at which point I should have gained a permanent contract. I now find myself wondering where the next meal is going to come from and how to pay my bills. I think it completely unjustifiable that I am forced into working as a supply teacher in these conditions. I am very disillusioned and wonder why I have previously put my heart and soul into a profession which has completely let me down just when I needed it not to. I'm not any less of a teacher when I do supply work than i was when I worked every day in a class with many social, behavioural and learning difficulties in it.”


    “I have been an EIS member for over thirty years and was a union rep during the eighties action. I feel badly let down by a union whose original mandate was to protect the rights and working conditions of those professionals in... a formerly vulnerable position. Who were the 56 percent of full time teachers and school managers who voted for the changes to supply cover conditions but who are always relieved to see the supply teacher arriving at their door?”

    “Pay is inconsistent. Some people in some schools seem to be managing to be paid at the top of the scale for a few days. There have been errors in my pay two months running. I feel the authorities must think supply teaching means you sit and supervise a class silently working. This is far from the truth. Schools are relying on the goodwill of teachers who have worked for them in past years when pay was fair.”

    “Keep up the campaign for as long as people can afford to be without any salary at all but the EIS have to take full responsibility for accepting this sorry situation Shame on any teacher in a permanent post who voted in favour and shame on Ronnie Smith for urging its acceptance. What a way to go. People should lobby the EIS as well as councils.”

    “As other permanent teachers are discovering....the govt is not stopping at supply teachers...and everyone is going to suffer. If a stand isn't made, we will soon be on minimum wage...”

    “Maybe Cosla might realise that they have created this situation?”


    "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 used to be happy to do 2 - 4 days in one place, now I will only do 1 in each place as if on 2 days or more I would expect it would be... much harder to keep to the agreement (we want the best for the children in our class even if we are only covering and that can't be done in 5 hours a day!). But if we still work the same as we did before the changes then they get the same service for a fraction of the cost. My earnings have been non existent this school year having only earned £330 pounds since August! “

    “I now have a part time job with a voluntary organisation which will start in December - it will be so good to have a regular income again! I will still stay on the supply list (My local council only advertise internally so if not on the list I couldn't apply for any of the temp posts which come up occasionally) and work a day or two a week if the opportunity arises so that I don't leave the profession completely. I do hope one day to return fully to teaching. However, I will have to work where there are reasonable earnings.”


    “I took 7 years off to raise my children, think I would go back someday and still receive a decent rate of pay, maybe working a couple of days a week. I have gone from a top of scale salary (with 10 years experience) to almost half, meaning I find it impossible to turn down any work and even working 4 days most weeks (my local school is very careful to break my service before I reach the crucial 5 days), my salary is shockingly low. It has made a big difference to how valued I feel as a teacher and of course to our monthly household budget.”

    “At present, not a great year? Worried about my pension, as at 53, I don't have time to make up shortfall. Pension will now be based on probationer scale..which will half my contributions....unfair at this stage of my teaching career and more unfair for new teachers.”

    “Stressed out trying to find alternative ways to pay my mortgage and bills.”

    “I will probably leave teaching when my contract ends. I do not expect to ever get a permanent job having been a supply teacher since 2008. Going on general supply just would not be worth it any longer.”

    “I have had to sign on.”


     “Living to work, and working to just about live. No extra money after the bills are paid. Overdraft increasing.”

    “Has made me extremely cynical about my employers and the direction education has taken in. I am more inclined to have a work to rule attitude. I feel completely undervalued and betrayed. I am struggling to make enough to meet bills and support my family.”

    “I am a teacher with 25 years experience. I am now at the bottom of the pay scale and I have lost 10 hours per week.”


    “....this situation has played hell with my self esteem, health and mental wellbeing...I have been worn down. I have paid for a good education, have excellent skills and experience and should have the right to earn a basic living.”


    Very bitter- 12 years of studying for degree (OU ) whilst working full time , pgde and probation yr where I was given a glimpse of a job I love- only to be dumped on the scrap heap scrabbling for scraps and wondering how long I can keep this up? Very unfair . . . :-(


    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 have to do supply to get experience and get my foot in the door for a chance of a job in the future. I am no means the worse off, I'm sure there are plenty of teachers out there in worse situations. Teachers should make their voices heard but instead of whinging that it isn't fair, we should try a different tact and highlight the importance of our jobs. Let's face it, if there were no teachers, kids wouldn't go to school and most people in paid employment wouldn't be able to go to work!