Interview with... Pras Desai

Genie Education - Supporting Supply TeachersOn their launch, we hear from Operations Director Pras Desai on what Genie Education has to offer supply teachers:
 
Many congratulations on the launch of Genie Education. In no more than 20 words, what does your umbrella company do for supply teachers?

Our aspiration is to improve the lives and increase the opportunities available to the temporary teaching profession.

Often supply teachers are unaware of how umbrella companies operate, so now feel free to elaborate! What service does Genie Education provide to supply teachers?

As the employer we are responsible for ensuring our supply teachers benefit from their statutory employment rights including sick pay, holiday pay, maternity and paternity pay, and also we provide employment insurances cover and professional indemnity insurance. We have an administrative team who take care of all the back office matters ensuring the supply teacher can focus on delivering great outcomes. Our expert administrators finalise contract negotiations, invoice the client, account for income and expenditure, set up pension schemes, provide our staff with childcare vouchers, ensure the correct taxes are paid, account for business expenses including travel and subsistence, pay the teacher and deal with any queries from the teacher, the agency or the client.

If a supply teacher is registered with Agency X, do they have to go with Umbrella Company Z, or could they choose Genie Education? How do the logistics work?

Many recruitment agencies have a preferred list of umbrella companies that their teachers can use. This list is created after extensive research from the agency analysing key factors concerning umbrella companies such as compliance, financial stability, and service levels. We have recently seen more agencies permit their teachers to use umbrella companies which are not on their preferred list, where they know that the umbrella company in question is reputable. Genie Education are already on the the preferred list of many of the UK's largest agencies and this number is growing as our existing teachers recommend us to new agencies.

Could you tell me a little about the enrolment process for potential supply teachers?

To enrol as an employee of Genie Education is very easy and can be completed online. We speak to every teacher pre-enrolment as we appreciate that every teachers' experience and knowledge of umbrella companies is different. Every teacher is provided with a pay calculation based on their individual circumstances. Once a teacher is fully employed by Genie Education they receive a call from our employee support team to explain our processes in more detail and to answer any further questions they may have. Our fantastic and knowledgeable staff have great experience with dealing with teachers and are more than happy to support teachers during their employment with us.

How do you support supply teachers professionally throughout their time with Genie Education?

Genie Education appreciate the need to support teachers professionally and we've just added various training resources to our website to begin meeting this need. Training material added onto our website has been based from feedback that teachers have sent us. We're also implementing a new online training system which will offer our teachers with access to bespoke training packages. The first of which will be online safeguarding training.

Supply teaching can be quite an isolating career. How do you help supply teachers feel that they are part of something bigger at Genie Education?

We understand that working as a supply teacher is challenging as well as rewarding. There aren't too many careers where you can be dressed and ready for work at 7am with no guarantee of actually working that day. As those who already work for us know we have an employee support team whose role is to answer your calls personally. So many issues arise because of poor communication that we feel this is the most important touch point in our organisation. Our support team are exceptionally friendly and thrive on sorting out problems, they will provide you with help, guidance and support and sometimes just a sympathetic ear! As we develop and continuously improve the services provided by Genie Education we will be listening to what you need and are prepared to invest in new ideas. The online training is a demonstration of our commitment.

Do you have any anecdotes relating to supply teachers that you could share with us?

Not an anecdote but a poem I first heard quoted in a presentation by Sir Ken Robinson. "The Irish poet W B Yeats wrote this to his love, Maud Gonne, regretting that he couldn't really give her what he thought she wanted from him. And he says, "I've got something else, but it may not be for you." He says this "Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths, Enwrought with gold and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams." And every day, everywhere, our children spread their dreams beneath our feet. And we should tread softly."

And finally! Who would be the ultimate supply teacher?

Albert Einstein as he stated '' "It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."

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