What children think?

On my twitter feed I have a search for 'supply teacher' and this image is tweeted almost hourly, if not more during school hours, by secondary students when they find out they have a supply teacher...


Supply teacher - you have no power here!


Will a change of name to 'visiting teacher' or the like change this attitude?
Is this really how supply teachers are perceived by the children?  Or is there a lot of bravado here?
From whom do they learn this attitude, and at what age?
What can be done about it?!

DBS for Supply Teachers - A Guide

Featured article submitted by Due Diligence Checking Ltd for our The Legal Lowdown series


What is the DBS Update Service? 

The Disclosure and Barring Service launched their 'Update Service' on the 17th June 2013 with the aim of making it easier for individuals to take their Disclosure Certificate(s) with them between jobs. This service costs £13 per year for a paid role, or is free for a role which meets the DBS's definition of a volunteer.  For Supply Teachers moving between schools regularly this could prove to be very beneficial as you may not need to complete a new DBS check for each school. An employer that accepts a Certificate on the Update Service can undertake a process to verify if anything has been added to a Certificate since it was issued. If anything has been added you will need to apply for a new Certificate.

Those schools using the Update Service will most likely follow best practice by ensuring: 

1.       The Certificate belongs to you -  you may be asked to present ID documents confirming that the Certificate belongs to you, such as Passport Driving Licence and recent Utility Bill.

2.       The Certificate is genuine - you should keep your original Certificate safe so it can be presented when needed.

3.       You have given consent for an Update Service Check - you may be asked to complete a form to confirm this.

4.       Your Certificate matches what the school would normally apply for - to enable the re-use of a Certificate it must match the workforce details, Vetting and Barring Lists and the volunteer status. 

There is no guarantee that the new school will accept a Certificate on the Update Service so it is well worth enquiring with the Local Authority where you work, before signing up. 

When should I apply for the Update Service? 

You can join the Update Service when you next apply for a Disclosure. There are some time limitations as you need to join within 14 days of the issue date of your Certificate, using the Certificate Number as a reference. Alternatively you can join 28 days before the DBS Form is submitted using the Form Reference Number (F number) found in the top right hand side of your application form (it is worth recording this when filling out the form). For any teacher completing an online application the eForm Reference Number (E number) is not provided until the DBS confirm receipt of the form electronically. In this instance the Registered Body that submitted the application can provide these details to you, or you can contact the DBS directly. 

How do I join the Update Service? 

To apply to join the Update Service you will need visit the DBS website www.gov.uk/dbs and enter some details to include:

·         Your surname

·         Your Gender

·         Your Date of Birth

·         Email address

·         Your Form Reference number or Certificate number

·         Payment carddetails to cover the £13 per year fee

Once you have joined the Update Service you can log-in to:

·         Add/Remove DBS Certificates

·         View the organisations who have run and Update Service Check

·         Amend your contact and payment card details

For the teaching industry this does seem like a simple solution to portability and hopefully a majority of organisations in the education sector will accept Disclosures that are registered on the Update Service.

For more information about criminal record checks in general please visit www.ddc.uk.net




DBS - A guide for supply teachers by Due Diligence Checking Ltd

Is anybody out there?

Supply Teacher Talkby Sharon Wood

I work from home. It's a great life, but it can be a lonely life. Like supply teaching.

I get to speak to people online.  I don't like the phone, so rarely will I make / take a phone call, but it's there for me if I need it. Like my dog.

I do feel like a voice in the wilderness sometimes.  I tweet, I post on Facebook, I email, etc., and it is sometimes hours before I get a response. Like talking to some children.

Lack of adult conversation is a problem I still have in common with some supply teachers. It struck me most the other day while on the phone to a recruitment consultant. The call was just a few minutes long, but inspired and able to bounce ideas around, I came up with 3 new (and fairly obvious to be fair) ideas for The Supply Teacher e-zine. If I'd not had that conversation, it would have taken me another year I'm sure, to come up with those!

I need to communicate with people. I'm a bit of a recluse, but still a social animal. I get my best ideas, and am happiest, when I'm with other people, talking. 

Supply teachers need to communicate with other people too. To grow, to befriend, to engage, to learn, to teach, to focus, to enjoy, to inspire, to be inspired. 

Supply teachers: be brave! Walk that long walk into the staffroom and engage in a conversation!
Consultants: phone your supply teachers! Ask how their day was. You might be the only person to have asked!

And all of you: get in touch with me. I need to grow, to befriend, to engage, to learn, to teach, to focus, to enjoy, to inspire and to be inspired!

Financial Planning for Supply Teachers

Featured article submitted by Teachers Assurance for our Financial Planning series


What benefits do I get as a supply teacher, and how should I be planning my finances for the future?

With financial education part of the National Curriculum from 2014, it’s more important than ever that teachers equip themselves with a sound financial knowledge. For supply teachers, it can often be difficult to understand what benefits you will receive, and how you can be planning today for the future you’d like later in life.

Teachers Assurance - Financial Information for Supply Teachers

The following Q&A tackles a few questions that we at Teachers Assurance hear a lot from supply teachers thinking about their future finances.

Can I join the Teachers’ Pension Scheme?

As a supply teacher paid by a Local Education Authority, you will be able to contribute towards the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. If you are paid through a supply agency, you will have your own payroll systems which may offer a stakeholder pension, but will not be part of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.

What benefits will I get from joining the Teachers’ Pension Scheme?

Joining the Teachers’ Pension Scheme will allow you to contribute in return for a pension at retirement, which is based on your salary and length of service. In addition to your contribution, your employer will also make a substantial contribution towards the cost of your benefits, and the Scheme will provide you with a guaranteed, regular income for the rest of your life. This income is also index-linked which will protect its value against the effects of inflation.

I’m confused about the benefits I get as a supply teacher, how can I find out?

We often find that supply teachers are commonly confused about whether their benefits and options are the same as teachers on regular contracts.

Our unique Financial Education Programme was created specifically for all teachers, including those in supply, who don’t have the time or the knowledge to get to grips with their finances. The Programme includes school talks and financial planning seminars, which can be tailored to meet the needs of supply teachers at all life stages, be that NQT, mid-career or approaching retirement.

I find it hard to balance the books each month, what can I do to relieve this pressure?

Financial pressure is a burden for many teachers, and as a supply teacher it can be even more difficult if you’re not guaranteed a regular income. Preparing for the possible gaps in your income will help you to live comfortably throughout these periods, and cutting back even when you’re feeling flush can help. Think to yourself - do you really need that shop bought lunch every day, or would the £500 you’d save by the end of the year be more beneficial?

How can I make sure that I will live the life I want in the future?

It’s important to remember that throughout the periods you are not employed by a school or Local Education Authority, you won’t be contributing to your pension, and neither will your employer. To help you ensure that you can live the life you desire in the future, consider long term savings and investments as a way of building a nest egg for yourself. These could involve saving small monthly sums over a long period of time, so that you can guarantee a pot of money to live from when you retire or give up work.


Teachers Assurance - Financial Advice for Supply Teachers




Featured article submitted by Teachers Assurance for our Financial Planning series

Top Tips for Supply Teachers

Tips for primary supply teachers from Andrea
1. Always carry a file full of lesson plans for ages Reception-Year 6, so if you are moved classes at a moments notice, or the promised lesson plans are not there, you can teach a really enjoyable day on a theme of your choice, e.g. Nocturnal animals, British wildlife etc.
2. Always volunteer to take assembly or do play time duty, even if it is not the turn of the teacher you are replacing. Explain that you love to see the children at play, in order to learn more about them. The staff will love you, and invite you back.
3. Always offers to pay for any drinks consumed in the staff room, that way no one will be complaining about you behind your back.

Top Tips for Supply Teachers from Heather:
1: Don't assume anything! Take a loaded pencil case with you, well stocked with pencils (for the children to stop that classroom wandering!), rubber and sharpener, a whiteboard pen and a funky little teddy to act as a dry wipe duster - much more interesting than a jay cloth!
2: Take your own cup & tea bags just in case....
3: Carry a favourite (and funny) picture book with you at all times. A decent picture book will fill 5 minutes for ANY year group. Reception to Year 6 love Tanka Tanka Skunk - nice and noisy!

3 Tips for Supply Teaching from Amy-Ruth:
1. Be ready to be flexible and calm!  You may be in a new environment, with children you have never met and with a lesson plan you see 5 minutes before you teach. So keep calm!
2. Be firm but also understanding!  They will need to know your boundaries and that you do not accept misbehaviour, however, be patient as the children may not be used to having a new teacher or being out of their usual routine so they may be feeling as disjointed as you!
3. Keep smiling! It's not a crime to smile! Not only does it relaxes those around you but also relaxes you too.

Supply teaching top tips from Gemma:
Ooh just 3 things is tricky but my top 3 would be...
1.have high expectations of the quality of work the children should produce (check previous pages in their books).
2.Familiarise yourself with the schools behaviour policy and use it.
3.Have a bank of stand alone lessons and games that can be whipped out when needed from that Mary Poppins bag that we all carry when we work as supply!

3 Top tips for supply teachers from Jo via Twitter:
A notepad for all messages, explain why you're there, be fun!

3 Top tips for supply teachers from Paula via Twitter:

Dress smart, be adaptable, do the marking.

CPD for supply teachers

Free! The Five Ds

The Five Ds - Five little words supply teachers need!

Supply For Lunch

#SupplyChat Tuesdays 8.30-9pm

Supply Teacher Top Tip of the Week

Home of #NSTW

Supporting and Celebrating Supply Teachers

Supply Teacher Room 101

Have Bag, Will Travel

Have Bag, Will Travel: The trials and tribulations of a career supply teacher


Free! Otis Stickers

Free stickers for supply teachers

King / Twin En-Suite in family home, Penny Bridge

Cumbria, United Kingdom
We have a lovely guest room with en-suite bathroom. The room can be made as a double (extra king size) or as a twin (full size single beds). The bathroom has separate bath and shower. We are in So...

Takeover Thursday - Supply Teacher Network