Recipe for the Perfect Supply Teacher by Gemma Hector

Winning entry!

To make the perfect supply teacher you will need:

Good rapport with children-essential indeed!

Just being good with children isn’t all,

A large helping of enthusiasm and flexible.


Good subject knowledge at a range of ages,

Know what’s expected throughout the key stages.

High expectations even if ‘you are just supply’

If work was better yesterday, you want to know why!


A Mary Poppins bag filled with mystery and intrigue,

With meaningful activities-no work sheets please!

Lashing of kindness, energy and oodles of care,

Follow behaviour policy and seen to be fair.


A degree in using photocopiers with a hundred functions,

A tough stomach for large caffeine consumptions.

Litres of cool, calm and collected,

Especially when on route and being re-directed!


Organised and punctual, arrive with a smile,

Dashing of creative and versatile.

There are many ingredients in this recipe,

Not just anyone can do this as you can see!


Gemma is Company Director at Apple A Day Supply

Recipe for the Perfect Supply Teacher by Kate Wright

Take one passionate and educational person. Add a good few years of University and allow to grow and flourish in a classroom for some teaching practice.

Once this has ‘proved’ enough to allow a graduation hat to be thrown high in the air... Failure to do this may require starting at step one, so please follow the first procedure carefully to allow success.

This part of the mixture now needs to meet a supportive school to continue to grow,

Now we need to add some children into the mix(ture) 25 – 30 is a good number, add a colourful classroom that can also continue to grow in colour. Make sure the mixture is supported and guided throughout the induction period, nurturing and assisting as required Mould and shape into place. Once this is done add 500g of passion, a 100ml of kindness, 300ml of sensitivity, a good shake of life experiences then mix and allow to grow further. Chocolate sometimes helps as does a small glass of red wine (but only after 8pm and before 10pm otherwise the mix may struggle to grow)

Once the beautiful mixture turns bubbly, happy, experienced and knowledgeable, we begin to see our teacher grow into something very special. Leave to work for several years and then allow this teacher to move into a different school environment to grow further.

Once fully grown and the passion, knowledge and desire begins to ooze over the top then join (Agency Name) who will add the sprinkles onto the top and there you have the perfect supply teacher!


Kate is Director and Education Consultant at Top Class Education

Recipe for the Perfect Supply Teacher by Marie Linehan

Having worked in compliance administration within education recruitment for the past four years, I've seen my fair share of the ups, downs, ins and outs of the sector! I have the great fortune of seeing the recruitment process from start to finish, from the eyes of the consultant, the supply teacher and of course, our schools.

From the joy of getting our hands on your CV, the excitement of finally meeting you face to face, the anticipation of hearing back from you about your availability for supply roles, to sending you out on your first day... It's a fast moving industry, so buckle up and get ready!

In order to make the perfect supply teacher, a few key ingredients are required. The finished recipe will bring an overwhelming amount of satisfaction... that's a guarantee!

Serves 3 (supply teacher, agency and school)

1. A cup of documents at the ready. These play a major role in the texture...

From my experience, the most common delay in placing a teacher in to a supply role is their incomplete safeguarding.

In June 2013, the Disclosure and Barring Service launched the update service to every Compliance Administrators delight! The service, allows you to re-use your disclosure from employer to employer for a subscription fee of £13 per year. You have 19 days to subscribe to the service from your disclosures issue date.

Although at first, this service was seen to many as a money racket, the bottom line is that it will speed your registration process up drastically and most importantly, it avoids you having to apply for a new DBS. Mix together and chill......

2. Preparing your work station gives a highly driven and respected look to the recipe...

Ensure that you obtain as much detail about the class you will be covering from your consultant. If you are unclear what is expected of you, ask your agency to find out more details from the school. What year group will you be teaching? How will the lesson(s) run? How should you prepare? Do some homework on the school beforehand so that you are as prepared as you possibly can be.

3. A pinch of flexibility adds a twist to the taste...

Supply teaching is about being flexible, however if you have some non-negotiables, it's is best to discuss these with your agency at the earliest opportunity. It can be dis-heartening for a consultant to find you what they think will be the perfect role, only to find out that you never intended to work on Fridays, or you won't travel for more than 30 minutes every day.

Be open an honest about what you are looking for, whilst being as flexible as you possibly you can.

4. An ounce of communication brings out the favourable taste of success...

Keep in touch with your agency on a regular basis. Build a strong connection with your consultant by returning their calls and emails especially during your lunch break as this is the time when many supply roles are filled.

5. A cup full of good impression will go down a treat. The overall outcome would be very bland without it...

There is a strong possibility that you will be requested back to the school if you make the right impression, so it's worth going that extra mile. It takes just a quick glance, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time.

Be prepared and be at least 15 minutes early every day. That way, if you are running late, you will still be on time. Take a map and plan your journey the night before. Your consultant should be very familiar with the schools location, so ask them to advise you on the best route to take.

As the saying goes, "smile and the world smiles too." There's nothing like a smile to create a good first impression. Smiling is a winner!

Introduce yourself to other staff members and leave a note at the end of the day to the returning teacher. Inform her of the work covered and any other details that she should be aware of from the day. IT's a small gesture, but it can make a big difference to the impression that you leave.

Above all, enjoy your time whilst supply teaching and be open to the experience. You never know which doors it could open!

Best of luck!

Marie works for A* Star Teachers in London

Recipe for the Perfect Supply Teacher by Stephanie Boulton

One part being ready at all times

One part always being prepared

One part flexibility

One part adaptability

One part willing to go the extra mile

One part confidence

One (huge) part sense of humour

Mix together with a huge dose of their love of teaching children and an equally large measure of wanting to make a difference!

Remember: It is essential that you tend to your Supply Teacher regularly!

You must remember to talk to them often, nurture them, support them and help and advise them as necessary. It is equally important to your Supply Teacher that they know you are always there for them, no matter what.

If you start with the above ingredients and tend as above, you should create the perfect Supply Teacher and enjoy watching them grow under your care! This way they will be with you forever!

Stephanie is Director and Founder of First Class Supply

Recipe for the Perfect Supply Teacher by Katie Buckle


* 1 x good alarm clock to ensure you are up and ready to take emergency early morning calls

* 1 x smile ready to greet the contact at the school – a smile goes a long way and leaves a great lasting impression

*1 x SAT NAV to help find new schools (alternatively a street atlas or bus timetable if on public transport)

* 1 x large helping of enthusiasm

* 1 x case/tub/car full of ready-to-go activities for multiple age / grade / ability levels

* 1 x folder with DBS and photo ID

* A large portion of flexibility

* 1 x phone – so where possible you can speak to the school to get an idea of what planning is required.

* A tonne of reliability

* 1 x fridge full of ingredients to make your sandwiches ready to dash out the door.

* 1 x box of tea bags – (ensuring you won’t go without if there none around)

* 1 x another BIG smile ready for the end of the day when you leave the school (they will remember you) 

* Lots of honesty – ready to let the agency know which schools you enjoy and which you don’t (this will always help to

learn which schools you are better suited to (or not)

* A great big helping of awareness – ensure you make yourself aware of the schools behaviour policies


* Register with an agency that comes well recommended and will look after you throughout the supply process

* Listen and interact with other supply teachers through great social media sites such as!!

* Keep your training topped up

* Mix all ingredients evenly and over time your recipe will make you the perfect supply teacher!!!

Katie works with Provide Education in Yorkshire



Recipe for a Perfect Supply Teacher - Katie Buckle

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