Janet works with the primary age range of a special needs school for children with PMLD (Profound Multiple Learning Difficulties) that uses supply teachers on a weekly basis. She talks to us about what special needs schools need from supply teachers.
Does your school use supply teachers known to them (retired staff for instance), supply teachers from a pool, or from an agency?
We use a supply teacher that's known to us, she previously worked in the school. She knows the children, and equally as importantly, the children know her.
Does your school have a policy regarding what should be left for a visiting teacher?
Yes, we all leave full health and safety information regarding the children and setting. We also make sure all planning is available.
How do you welcome supply teachers into your school?
Supply teachers new to our school are given a tour of the school and its facilities before being taken into class and introduced to the staff and pupils in their care for the day.
What does your school look for in a good supply teacher?
We need people with special needs training. This must include moving, handling and feeding training. Supply teachers visiting our school must be able to use different methods of communication, Makaton and communication aids for instance.
What are your expectations of a supply teacher in terms of providing work, marking work, playground duties and use of the staffroom etc.?
The primary part of our school plan as a whole so planning is always provided. We expect this planning to be followed; all teachers playground duty daily, and a good supply teacher will always, and is always welcomed, into our staffroom.
One supply teacher many years ago took the children to the park. One boy could stand and throw bread to ducks, but he didn't let go. He didn't understand that he had to let go of the bread when throwing it... and fell in the lake! I really felt for the teacher in charge that day!
And finally! Who would be the ultimate supply teacher?
Mr Tumble! What a magnificent asset to any school.