- Written by Sharon Wood
National Supply Teacher Week – Supporting and celebrating supply teachers
Aims of the Week Series
Aim 4: To support supply teachers with their professional development
CPD isn't restricted to going to a twilight session provided by an agency. It can take a variety of forms, and quite often, supply teachers are undertaking CPD without realising it!
Schools don't always (think to?) offer an invitation to their supply teachers to join their INSET sessions. Agencies can't always afford to offer the range of CPD courses that their supply teachers wish for, especially when uptake is low. Supply teachers are often unaware of what is freely available to them in terms of CPD.
Someone must take responsibility. That someone could be the supply teacher themselves. It could be the Government, the local council, the local schools, the agencies or umbrella companies. When teachers are employed through a school, the school has some responsibility, but the teacher must act too. Schools want supply teachers who have up-to-date knowledge, but seldom invite them to INSET days. Supply teachers want more work, but some want their agency to provide all the CPD for them. They can be reluctant to pay for it too, especially as if they had a contract, they'd be paid to attend INSET days. Some agencies / umbrella companies don't provide CPD as it can be seen as too expensive, and their investment can walk away to another agency / into a permanent position, at any time. Money, time, effort. That's what it usually boils down to, from everyone's perspective!
In September 2014, I published a CPD Log template for supply teachers. Not only does this provide the template, but also gives an idea of what constitutes CPD other than the twilight sessions. Also that month, I spoke at a REC Education Sector meeting to agencies about how we can improve provision of CPD for supply teachers. In August 2013 I published CPD for Supply Teachers, the most recent review of which can be found here. From October 2014, I aim to include one link each bi-monthly issue of my newsletter to a freely available online CPD course.