Interview with... Emily, Director of Supply Teaching Solutions

Emily Dornan - Supply Teaching Solutions

We really enjoyed our chat with Emily Dornan, she is obviously passionate about her work.  Emily is Director of Supply Teaching Solutions, a new teaching agency based in Brighton.  
Have you ever worked as a supply teacher?

Yes, twice. My first ever day as an NQT was in a SEN school for children with BESD. I was so nervous beforehand, I even rang the school to double check they knew I was a NQT ! I loved it and stayed there for three years. The second time was on my return to the UK from teaching in Bangkok. Both times I was doing supply whilst looking for a permanent post. We realise that teachers work on supply for a variety of personal reasons, those who are hoping to secure permanent positions will be pleased to know we don't charge schools introduction fees. We don't feel they are in the best interests of teachers, pupils or schools.

What service do you provide to supply teachers?

We are a teacher and a deputy head who run a local, independent agency and we pride ourselves on offering a personal service. We are available 24/7 to provide support and helpful advice as we have experience of both working on supply and booking supply teachers. We understand that supply teachers are an integral part of the education system and if they are not recognised, supported and rewarded as such the whole system suffers. This drives everything we do. We pay our teachers the highest viable rate and make no payroll charges. We provide relevant and up to date CPD which is tailored to the needs of supply teachers. Furthermore we match teachers carefully to roles and whether it be day to day supply, longer term assignments, PPG, SEN or inclusion support we strive to ensure that teachers add value to their career during their time with Supply Teaching Solutions.  Based in the South East, we cover Brighton and Hove as well as the wider area of East Sussex.

Supply Teaching Solutions is a relatively new agency. What advantages does this bring?

Being a new agency we bring fresh eyes to supply in our area. I believe that we are the only agency locally to have a deputy head as a director which ensures we have a unique understanding of education provision in this area. We are building our team day by day and encourage supply teachers to come and grow with us.

Can you tell me a little about the recruitment process for potential supply teachers?

An initial phone call will determine if, potentially we are the right teacher and agency for each other. After we have received a teachers CV we will meet up to get to know each other better, it's important that we understand exactly the type of work they want. We will discuss the teachers experience and teaching style. Our vetting procedure is thorough as we are, of course, fully committed to safeguarding. The necessary documentation will be evidenced and a series of checks will be carried out after interview.

How do you welcome a new supply teacher into your organisation?

I take every new teacher out for a coffee and a good chat. Working relationships function best when there is a personal connection. Our teachers are part of our team and it's important that they know that we care about them and their career. I would hope all our teachers find me approachable and feel comfortable lifting the phone and discussing anything with me.

What are your expectations of a supply teacher in terms of providing work, marking work, playground duties etc.?

We are building a reputation locally for working with high quality teachers. Our expectations are clearly defined during the registration process through discussion, our code of conduct and handbook. Our teachers have been chosen because they have demonstrated through their previous roles, teaching practices and interview that they are excellent practitioners. We treat them as fellow professionals and trust that whatever the assignment our teachers will fulfil all the duties of the class teacher that are required in the time available.

What personal qualities does your agency look for in a supply teacher?

We look for enthusiastic teachers with great communication skills who can quickly develop relationships with both children and staff. Confidence is key, supply teaching is not an easy job. Teaching lots of different children in a variety of year groups and schools requires someone who is, or can appear to be, calm and in control. We as an agency have a role to play here also in ensuring teachers are comfortable and fully supported in their placements. Reliability is also so important in ensuring the system works smoothly.

How do you support supply teachers throughout their time with your agency?

In any way we can ! Want to chat ? Call us. Want help with your CV or interview technique ? Ask us. Want to observe in key stage or year group you want to feel more confident in ? We can arrange it. We encourage our NQT teachers in particular to talk with us about anything they want to know more about and have recently created a blog on our website dedicated to sharing current knowledge and thinking. Whatever we can do to help we will do it.

And finally! Who would be the ultimate supply teacher?

I think David Walliams would be fantastic. He has that rare quality of really being able to see the world through the eyes of a child, just like Roald Dahl did. The children would love him and he would make lessons so much fun !

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