Interview with... Chris, Education Consultant with Education Network Ltd

Interview with... Chris Tarbit, The Education NetworkChris Tarbit, Education Consultant with Education Network Ltd, talks to us about their services and expectations of supply teachers.


What service do you provide to supply teachers?

For Teachers, Teaching Staff, Nursery Nurses, SEN Specialists and other Education Staff. Our expert consultants have the knowledge and experience to find you your perfect teaching job.


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

•Registration Interview

•Take Photograph for Booking Verification Form

•While clearing files to DfE standards, details are added to Job Matching system

•References are sent off

•TRN Check

•CRB Check

•List 99 Cleared

•Payroll updated with Teacher details and Pay rate

•Teacher is then either then placed into an Exclusive Role or speculatively placed through proactive business development.


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

Our education recruitment consultants are experienced in all areas of the education recruitment sector so understand the education job skills that are required when placing you into your desired teaching job.

•Our experienced and friendly education recruitment consultants will give you a thorough and honest assessment and evaluation of the teaching job opportunities open to you

•We will try to find you an education job that matches your personal profile and education career plan as well as your teaching skills and abilities

•Our education recruitment service is free and confidential

•When a suitable teaching job has been found, you will be comprehensively briefed about the teaching job, school/college, working location and benefits.


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

The Education Network values Teachers who provide thought provoking, interesting lessons that have been well prepared and must always remain structured, focused, controlled and enthusiastic. We expect our Teaching Staff to act as "Visiting Staff" and not supply teachers, which means being equally involved in all areas of responsibility including tidying classrooms, playground duties, marking of work and rewarding pupils. The Education Network also expect our Staff to;

•Teach not supervise

•Always be prepared with teaching material

•Follow lesson plans wherever possible

•Keep notes for handover to returning teacher

•Maintain the Schools ethos and liaise with senior management

•Provide us with feedback on a daily basis to ensure relationships remain strong.


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

We always look for friendly, ethical, trustworthy, reliable Teachers with a passion for their chosen line of work. It's important to get observe these basic traits during the registration process. This is something we monitor on a strict basis.


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

The Education Network recognises that it is often difficult for QTS Supply Teachers to enhance their skills. As a result of this we have formed a partnership with Edge Hill University, the largest provider of Professional Development Courses for Teachers in this Country. This enables our registered QTS Supply Teachers to undertake ongoing Professional Development and can include three modules towards a Masters Degree.


Story Time!

Being fairly new to the industry I am yet to experience any funny or nightmare situations myself. I have heard a few from colleagues one of which involved a Teacher “let’s call her Jenny” taking the wrong postcode for a booking. It turned out that supply contact at the school she turned up at shared the same name as the school Jenny was supposed to be at and having introduced herself at the front desk was shown to "her" class and began her lesson. In the meantime the correct school called to inform us our teacher hadn't turned up and after much deliberation we worked out what had caused this logistical nightmare, made contact with the very embarrassed teacher who explained herself and left during morning break to attend the correct booking. The lesson of this one is to make sure you pay attention when taking details for a booking!


And finally! Who would be the ultimate supply teacher?

It would have to be Jim Carey for me... I think he would be able to engage the class in a way that would make learning fun and his comical antics would diffuse challenging behaviour.

Interview with... Chris Tarbit, The Education Network

Interview with... Duncan from Tradewind Recruitment


Interview with a recruitment consultant - Duncan Wylie, Tradewind RecruitmentDuncan Wylie, Sales Manager for Tradewind Recruitment, talks to us about their service to supply teachers.

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

In no particular order. Reliability, enthusiasm, honesty, flexibility, adaptability, interpersonal skills.
What service does Tradewind Recruitment provide to supply teachers?

We assist teachers in finding work either on a day to day basis, long term positions and eventually permanent posts where possible. We also offer free Continuous Professional Development in relation to the changes in OFSTED, Behaviour Management, Introduction to supply teaching and other relevant areas within teaching.

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

We find a teacher's CV either from direct applications to our website or via CV searches on job boards, we then make contact with them to talk about their qualifications and experience and to make sure we understand what type of work they would be looking for and if we would be able to help them. Once that's been established we would then invite them to come to our office to register with us. Once they've physically come in to our office with all of their required documents we start the registration process making sure we have everything we need to ensure we know that person is safe and suitable to work in schools.

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

During the registration process and once someone is cleared to work we do our best to keep constant communication with all of our teachers so they know we have their best interests at heart and that they aren't just a number to fill a quota. We make sure they are kept up to date with all of our available CPD courses during the term and we also have termly candidate parties where we offer food and drink and a chance to meet all of our team and also to meet other professionals. Sometimes people have just moved to the area so it's nice for them to get to know other teachers and network.

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

My expectations of a supply teacher are that they should have high expectations of themselves. Once they are in a school they should respect the schools values and beliefs and make sure they have done everything that's expected of them in relation to taking lessons, marking work and anything else asked of them while at the school within reason.

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

As mentioned previously, we keep in touch with our teachers even if work is quiet at certain times of the year or if we haven't managed to find a long term in their specialism. If they are already in a long term booking for us we keep in touch with them a minimum of every two weeks to make sure things are going well. In my experience when you've been working with teachers for a couple of years you establish strong professional relationships and you can also end up being a shoulder to cry on or offer moral support outside of work situations as well.

And finally! Who would be the ultimate supply teacher?

Usain Bolt. Dedicated, motivated, charismatic, good sense of humour and he'd never be late.


Interview with... Duncan Wylie, Tradewind Recruitment


Interview with... Adam, Education Consultant with Aspire People Ltd


Adam Cox, a Nottingham-based Education Consultant with Aspire People Ltd, talks to us about how his company works with supply teachers.
Interview with... Adam Cox, Aspire People recruitment consultantHave you ever worked as a supply teacher?

No, but I had always wanted to be a teacher all through school. There is something inspirational about being able to pass on your knowledge to help others better themselves.

What service do you provide to supply teachers?

I help supply teachers find short and long-term opportunities that are suitable to their needs. I work specifically with Secondary Schools and Academies across Nottinghamshire. I work with lots of different types of teachers, some new to teaching who need lots of support, guidance and mentoring to teachers that used to be in the senior leadership team and want to wind down and get back in the classroom to actually enjoy teaching again.

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

Our recruitment process is strict but fair due to the environments supply teachers are working in. We need to make sure safeguarding children is taken very seriously and that our after recruitment process is followed correctly from start to finish. The first step is a friendly telephone interview, an in-depth conversation with them about their current situation, needs, why they’re looking for supply teaching, schools they have previously worked at and how I can help them. I will then talk them through my role and what I can offer them in terms of opportunities. From this conversation I can determine whether they are right for Aspire People but most importantly whether Aspire People are right for them. If so, they are invited in for an interview, a face-to-face meeting. This would mean the potential supply teacher would need to bring along all relevant documents to make sure they are fully compliant with Aspire People’s vetting procedures. I spend around 30 minutes getting to know who they are, determining their strengths and areas for improvement and what type of schools they would be most suited to. I would also ask scenario based questions to help determine how they would cope in challenging situations. Afterwards I spend around 30 minutes to talk them through the Aspire People handbook to make sure they are aware of the way we work and the expectations that are expected not only from them but also from me as their consultant. I would then pass their file on to my compliance team to carry out all relevant checks required to make them a fully compliant teacher, including reference checks and up to date DBS check.

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

Aspire People is a very welcoming supply teaching agency. We keep in contact with the supply teacher whilst they are being vetted, upon completion of the process they are sent an introduction pack with further information on working for us. All supply teachers are treated fairly and with respect right from the very start. We are not just looking to place a supply teacher in any school, we listen to their needs and what schools are most suitable to them and work with them to make this happen. Communication is the main key. We also offer a 24 hour service to our supply teacher, which means no matter what time of the day/night it is or whether on a weekend I will always be there for them to speak to.

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

A supply teacher with Aspire People is paid to scale and as a result is expected to carry out all the duties a permanent teacher would, if the school they work for requires them for playground duty, parents evening etc. then the supply teacher would be expected to carry out these duties. In terms of day-to-day supply our teachers would help out where possible, if they were needed to mark work or cover duties they would. The way we explain this to our teachers is “the more you put in to your assignment, the more you will get out of it. Supply teaching is about building a reputation so that when schools need cover they think to ask for you first”

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

I always look for Supply Teachers who have extremely good classroom management skills but above all are flexible, open, honest and of course hard-working. It’s really important that I have a partnership with my supply teachers, I work very hard for them, building a good reputation for the agency and the teacher and in return my teachers work hard for me. The schools are then happy with the teacher and Aspire People, a successful cycle.

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

One of the many things Aspire People prides itself on is the amount of time we spend with each of our supply teachers, with a 24 hour service this means I am contactable on my mobile at anytime a teacher requires me. Even when I have placed the supply teacher in their desired role I will keep in regular contact with them to keep them updated on industry news and also to make sure they are still happy in their role. I will make sure if any issues do arise that they are sorted as quickly as possible for them. I will also keep them updated on other opportunities coming up in their area for when their current assignment finishes so I am also thinking ahead. On top of the service I provide, we offer supply teachers in long-term assignments the opportunity to be assessed by an ex-deputy head teacher so they can learn more about their own strengths and weaknesses. This feedback helps them to improve their teacher. Aspire People also offer free training courses to our teachers at our Head Office. Training courses vary on what teachers need but sometimes in response to changes in the sector. For example, with the new curriculum coming in to force in 2014, our teachers will be informed and updated.

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

There are many but I try not to dwell on them and wouldn't want to embarrass anyone. Supply teachers work hard and I will do my utmost to protect that reputation.

And finally! Who would be the ultimate supply teacher?

David Attenborough – He’s full of knowledge, comes across as an honest, hard working guy and I would imagine he could control the class perfectly.

Interview with... Adam Cox, Recruitment Consultant with Aspire People


Interview with... Heather, Teacher Services Consultant at Protocol Education

In our interview with Heather Black, Teacher Services Consultant with Protocol Education, Heather tells us about her agency's commitment to their supply teachers...
Interview with... Heather Black, Protocol EducationHave you ever worked as a supply teacher?

No, but most of my colleagues have. I’m surrounded by experts!

What service do you provide to supply teachers?

Our first priority is always to provide teachers with a great choice of local work and schools, excellent pay and a personal service.

Secondly, we aim to add value to your career. We are privileged to work in such an important, dynamic, fast-changing industry and we recognise that we need to change with the times to ensure our teachers keep their skills up-to-date. We further facilitate this by offering free CPD courses that include; Introduction to SEN, Secondary to Primary Conversion, Communication in SEN and more.

Supply teaching can alter people’s perception of teaching by allowing them to explore different schools and different areas of education. Many people join our agency to work in a particular area of education and leave having found their niche in a completely different area!

Protocol Education have also recently launched a London Volunteer Programme aimed at supporting people who want to start a career in Education but have no classroom based experience. The project was started to provide those without any class-based experience with a route into education as many people with no means to volunteer long-term find it very difficult to make the leap to paid work.

Thirdly, we also take great pride in the fact that we are an online platform for educators to share resources, problems, ideas and best-practice. We facilitate this through active and open social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, regular social events and our very successful Protoblogs written by our very own teachers and support staff.

It’s these “extra’s” that makes our service unique.

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

There are four stages to the registration process:

Stage 1 - Registration Form
The main thing you will need in order to complete the registration process (and Stage 2 for that matter) is an up-to-date CV. Our decision on your suitability to work for Protocol Education at this stage will be based on your CV and location. When you have your CV ready, register on our website at

Stage 2 - Vetting
We will contact you by phone to talk through your CV and other information you supplied us with to assess you suitability for work. You will be asked a number of questions and if everything goes well you will be invited in for an interview.

Stage 3 - Formal Application Form
To complete this form you will need the email address and password you created at Stage 1 (or was created for you if you called us directly) as well as the following information:

• Details of teaching qualifications
• Visa Details (if applicable)
• Contact details of at least 2 professional references

If you do not have access to a computer you can complete this form in our offices on the day of your interview.

Stage 4 - Face-to-face Interview
When you come into interview you will need to bring in the following items to help us complete the process of clearing you for work (you will be reminded of this).
• Proof of the right to work in the UK
• Proof of ID (if not the same as the above)
• Proof of qualification
• 2 Proofs of address
• CRB if you have one

If you do not currently possess a CRB you will be asked to apply for one while at interview. The £44 you pay for your CRB is refundable after 44 days worked through Protocol Education.

Why so many stages?

The simple answer is quality.
We will not supply anyone to work with children who do not meet our strict criteria. That means we look at CRBs and Police Checks, List 99 clearance, references, ID and right to work in the UK exhaustively.

The good news for you is that when you have been checked to our exacting levels you become an even more desirable asset for schools and nurseries!

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

New teachers always receive a thorough induction with our candidate management team before they start work. They receive a pack containing simple guides on everything they need to know and are told what to expect and what is expected of them. They also get to meet and chat to the consultant responsible for the area in which they live (as we aim to find our teachers work as local to them as possible!).

Protocol Education also hosts regular teacher events to welcome new teachers, help them make friends, chat to their consultants face-to-face and generally feel like part of the Protocol Education team.

I think many teachers, especially those who have never done supply before or who are new to the UK, find that speaking to others in a similar situation or getting advice from those who are further down the track really reassuring. These events include theatre trips, office drinks, an annual pub quiz and even a boat cruise down the Thames!

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

This will depend on the conditions of the assignment and the school. Teachers working long-term at one school may be expected to take on more than a daily supply teacher, for example.

First and foremost, students need to receive the same attention and dedication regardless of whether their teacher is there on supply or not and we expect our teachers to do their utmost to ensure this is the case.

We do ask that daily supply teachers: take pre-prepared work as backup in case there is no work set but advise they follow lesson plans if provided, leave the classroom as they found it, mark work where appropriate and complete a Protocol Education Handover sheet on which they write feedback for the regular class teacher at the end of the lesson/day.

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

Reliability, punctuality, dedication, professionalism and ENTHUSIASM!

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

During the registration and induction process our candidates receive help and advice with everything from CRB checks to helpful resources. They also receive regular calls from their consultants to make sure they are on track and happy.

Candidates coming from Canada, Australia and New Zealand are supported by local consultants in their own countries pre-departure and then are inducted when they arrive in the UK to be assisted with all the nitty gritty things involved with setting themselves up to live and work in UK - accommodation, bank accounts and much more.

We recognise that although supply teaching is a great way to gain experience and learn valuable new skills, it can be, by nature, rather isolating at times. This is why we are as pro-active as possible in creating a community within which our workers can connect with us and with each other through social events, online platforms and regular personal contact.

We are proud of our online community and are very active on social media sites like Facebook and twitter. Candidates can get and give advice, read our “protoblogs” written by other supply teachers, blog themselves, stay up-to-date with events, and even win prizes through our regular online competitions!

We are also aware that many of our overseas teachers wish to make the most of the travel opportunities open to them while in the UK and we work with a number of travel companies to offer them amazing discounts on trips and festivals.

Do you have any funny stories or nightmare stories relating to supply teachers that you could share with us?

Is the sky blue?

Some gems:

One candidate managed to lock herself out of the house while fetching the milk for her morning cereal. Instead of calling the agency or borrowing clothes from a mate she turned up to school in pink PJ’s and large Winnie the Pooh slippers (only to be sent straight back home....). We do admire her dedication though!

Our consultant and former supply teacher, Laura, remembers a day when “A school’s boiler exploded on site while I was teaching there, the whole smoke-filled place was evacuated of course. Which meant that I, 30 children and the class pet, poor shaking Cinnamon, were standing outside in the freezing cold all afternoon. To keep warm we came up with an interpretive dance with Cinnamon and the explosion being our focus points. Three hours later all the children were collected, Cinnamon went home with the head and I could go home and warm up.”

One overseas teacher, still getting used to our public transport system, missed her stop while on an overground train in Surrey because, “the doors didn’t open”. Nobody told it worked differently from the underground in that you have to press the button! Ah bless... she got there in the end.

And finally! Who would be the ultimate supply teacher?

Stephen Fry. Everyone loves Stephen Fry... Classroom QI ?– yes please!

Interview with... Heather Black, Protocol Education

Interview with... Marios, Chairman of Step Teachers

Marios Georgiou, Step Teachers Ltd ChairmanMarios is Chairman of Step Teachers Ltd

Have you ever worked as a supply teacher?

Yes before I accepted a job as a Recruitment Consultant.  I found the whole experience terrifying!  I’d not long qualified as a teacher and I was always getting lost on my way to school; it was before the days of TomTom!

What service do you provide to supply teachers?

Step Teachers provides day-to-day emergency supply work as well as long term and permanent contracts.  We are on hand to help teachers prepare for interviews, write their CVs and opening statements as well as pointing them in the right direction for learning resources, financial advice and any other help they need.

Read more: Interview with... Marios, Chairman of Step Teachers

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