Connor Acton, Cover Manager at Beaumont Leys School, Leicester, talks to us about the use of supply staff in his secondary school.
How often does your school use supply teachers?
It can vary, like all schools we have periods where the amount of supply staff we have in is ridiculous and then have absolutely none at all the next week.
Does your school use supply teachers known to them, supply teachers from a pool, or from an agency?
All of the supply teachers we use are from agencies.
Does your school have a policy regarding what should be left for a visiting teacher?
We try to provide as much as is humanly possible, that includes a cover slip, registers and photo registers and all of the information visiting staff need in a key information booklet. Our teachers are generally very good at setting appropriate and detailed cover work.
How do you welcome supply teachers into your school?
It's usually time dependant, those supply teachers who haven't been to us before and arrive early tend to get the works (a tour, introductions etc.). The ones who arrive later get shown to their lessons and the chance to ask any questions on the way.
What does your school look for in a good supply teacher?
Enthusiasm and the ability to relate to students are key and obviously effective behaviour management (including knowing when to ask for help). Good timekeeping is another major thing we look out for, especially in the mornings.
What are your expectations of a supply teacher in terms of providing work, marking work, playground duties and use of the staffroom etc.?
Being a secondary school we only require teachers on long term placements to provide and mark work. As for the use of the staffroom, every facility in the school is available for use by supply staff and we hope they feel comfortable doing so.
Story time! Good or bad…
As a student I do remember having a particularly depressed English supply teacher who climbed onto a window ledge and told us he would jump out if we didn't be quiet!
And finally! Who would be the ultimate supply teacher?
Steve Jobs, a man who lost everything and then clawed his way back to the top (plus I think free iPhones would make any class take notice).