NASUWT comments on supply teacher spending

Commenting on figures released by the Labour Party showing school spending on supply teachers has risen by more than a quarter in the last two years, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:

“There cannot now be any doubt that schools are in the midst of a serious teacher recruitment and retention crisis, driven by the adverse impact of the Government’s policies on the school workforce.

“Since 2010, there have been relentless attacks on teachers. Year-on-year cuts to teachers’ pay, workload spiralling out of control, deprofessionalisation, demoralisation and denigration.

“The result is that resignations are up and applications to teach are down, leaving schools to increasingly rely on supply teachers to fill the gap.

“As the Labour Party’s figures show, supply teachers are a vital resource for schools and they are the backbone of the school system. Despite this, many face exploitation by supply agencies in their drive to maximise their profits.

“The NASUWT is continuing to press for better regulation of supply agencies to end unscrupulous practices such as forcing supply teachers to sign exploitative contracts with offshore umbrella companies. Many of these companies deny supply teachers their basic legal rights and entitlements and seek to avoid paying tax and National Insurance.

“As well as addressing the root causes of the teacher recruitment and retention crisis, the Government must also make good on promises to end the exploitation of supply teachers by ensuring good employment practices, fair remuneration and decent working conditions.”