Teachers up and down the country are being put off working on supply and resorting to working out of the education sector to make ends meet due to a downward spiral in pay rates. Despite a desperate shortage of skills in certain subject areas, unregulated agencies are undermining the professionalism of teaching by undercutting regulated agencies to offer teachers on the cheap.

In the past supply teachers were labelled as ineffective and unable to get a "proper job" but that is no longer true. In fact a growing number of highly skilled experienced teachers are opting to work on a supply basis to achieve a sensible balance between work life and home commitments. This means that schools can still benefit from experienced teachers who may otherwise have left the profession altogether. But Randstad Education is warning that the attractive ideal of a work-life balance is having an unforeseen impact, which is that supply teacher pay is constantly put under pressure and effectively forcing experience out of the classroom. 

Recruiters have warned schools about discounted supply staff and the well-being of teaching staff not being taken into consideration. Schools are unaware of the high levels of dissatisfied supply teachers, as qualified teachers are being supplied as unqualified staff to reduce costs.  

A special conference was held at the Houses of Parliament on 12th January 2016, to address the teacher shortage crisis. The event was organised by the education support network, and attended by the chair of the education select committee Neil Carmichael MP, Conservative Member of Parliament for Stroud. 

After attending the event, Randstad Education warned schools not to unwittingly drive down the pay of such a valuable and important resource.

As the teacher shortage crisis takes hold, supply teachers have an important role to play in ensuring that pupils’ education is not impacted adversely . Gaps in the classroom are caused by the absence of permanent teachers due to sickness or unfilled vacancies. 

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