Exploitation of supply teachers must be tackled

The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, is calling for an end to the exploitation of supply teachers, who are being denied their rights and entitlements on pay and working conditions by some unscrupulous supply agencies and umbrella companies.

Supply teachers attending an NASUWT supply teachers seminar today (Saturday) told how they were being denied the pay, working conditions and support to which they are entitled, with many being forced to sign exploitative contracts with umbrella companies which deny teachers their basic legal rights and entitlements.

Ahead of the General Election, supply teachers demanded that a future government introduce effective regulation of umbrella companies, which some supply agencies are using to exploit supply teachers and avoid paying tax and National Insurance, and also to act to prevent abuses of low pay and zero hours contracts.

A real-time electronic poll of supply teachers attending the conference found that:
Nearly two-thirds (65%) say they have seriously considered leaving the teaching profession in the last 12 months;
Nearly two-thirds (63%) say their work has impacted negatively on their health and wellbeing in the last 12 months;
More than four in ten (42%) say their job satisfaction has declined in the last 12 months;
95% do not think the government understands the needs of supply teachers and 82% do not think that the government values and respects supply teachers;
Over half (53%) have had no access to CPD in the last year;
Nearly a quarter (23%) say they often or usually have problems getting supply work or can’t get any at all.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Today’s poll shows that supply teacher members are routinely being denied the training and support to which they are entitled.

“Supply teaching is, by its very nature, often an isolating job but these figures show a worrying rise in stress and drop in morale.

“Supply teachers provide a vital resource to schools but all too often they are being exploited, often by unscrupulous supply agencies.

“Supply teachers are often unable to speak out about their treatment by some of these unscrupulous supply agencies due to threats of ‘blacklisting’.

“The next government must make good on promises to commit to tackling the exploitation of supply teachers and other agency workers to ensure that good employment practices, fair pay and decent working conditions are secured for all workers across the public education service.”

Lena Davies
Press & Media Officer
0121 457 6250/07867 392746