CPD for Supply Teachers – Product Review

CPD for Supply Teachers drew me in immediately and kept me engaged until I'd finished all of the six modules.


The information is clear, straightforward and honest, it promises nothing more than the truth that Supply Teaching and becoming even better at it requires hard work and commitment on the part of the individual.

The activities, and particularly the end of module essays really encouraged me to reflect on what I'd done in the past and what I could do now, and into the future, to develop both as a teacher and as a person.

I really liked the emphasis on the fact that supply teachers are teachers first; that "supply" is the way chosen to do that teaching shouldn't make any difference to the professional outlook of the individual.

This is an excellent course for anyone working with children not just supply teachers and the authors should be commended for approaching the subject in a way that invites participants to engage right from the get go and well beyond the end of Module 6.

Sarah Cruickshank
Freelance Writer & Teacher

CPD Course for Supply Teachers

The 6 modules are as follows: 
1. Presenting Yourself as a Professional
2. Building Self-Confidence
3. Improvisation Skills
4. Behaviour Management
5. Building Long-Term Professional Relationships
6. Time for Reflection

Each module will take between 3-5 hours to complete.

CPD for Supply Teachers, a self-study course, is priced at £15.00. The course will be delivered as a Word document (.docx), and a self-evaluation certificate for your CPD file will be sent in a separate email.

£15.00 – upon completion of payment, please click on 'Return to Merchant' which will take you to the document for download.
Your Certificate will follow by email within a few days.


Review of ‘CPD for Supply Teachers’ by Susanna Thicks

"I decided to undertake this course as I was preparing to get back into teaching this new school year. I have been out of the classroom for over two years, having had my confidence knocked, and so I was feeling rather anxious about returning. I happened to see this course advertised on Twitter, and, at a very reasonable price, decided to give it a go. I can honestly say, I am so glad that I did!

I was informed by Sharon that this would be the perfect study course to undertake prior to getting back into teaching and my first experience of supply. I was worried that this was something that I would only be able to complete whilst actually doing supply work, but this wasn’t the case and I was able to work my way through it over the summer, working at my own pace, ready for the new school year. The payment was quick and easy (via Paypal) and was simple to download. I then started work!  

On first glance at the modules, I could see that the content was going to be just what I needed. I was particularly looking forward to the ‘Building Self-Confidence’ module, as this was a big concern of mine. I felt as though all the modules were very appropriate and targeted at the issues and concerns that most supply teachers are worried about or need advice on. Once started, I found the modules really easy (and sort of addictive!) to work through. The modules were clearly set out, with the aims and objectives listed at the beginning and a summary at the end. The activities were well suited and easy to understand and I was really impressed with the further reading that was suggested at the end of each module. All the activities were varied, and I found that by working through each one, I was realising and thinking about things that I hadn’t even considered. I found the activities made me think, not just about myself as a teacher, but also myself as an individual. There were lots of hints and tips and each module was very easy to read and work through. I particularly liked the end of module essays, as I felt they brought each module all together and really made me think and realize what I had learnt during the course of the module. Some of the activities were a little challenging, but in a good way. I found some difficult to get into and had a case of the writer’s block, but once I started, I found that I had a lot to say!   

I was impressed as to how quickly Sharon was to reply. She was so supportive all the way through, from my initial enquiries to the feedback I received. I feel like this course has opened up a network of fellow teachers and resources that I can go to when I need some support, advice and inspiration.

The whole course has encouraged me to get back into ‘teacher mode’. I have never done supply before and now I feel I know the kind of skills I am going to use and improve before starting. I shall be showing the agencies my certificate. I cannot recommend this course highly enough, especially if you are feeling anxious about undertaking supply work. Thanks to Sharon and this course, I now feel so much confident and ready to take on the challenge of supply teaching. Bring it on!"

CPD Course for Supply Teachers

The 6 modules are as follows: 
1. Presenting Yourself as a Professional
2. Building Self-Confidence
3. Improvisation Skills
4. Behaviour Management
5. Building Long-Term Professional Relationships
6. Time for Reflection

Each module will take between 3-5 hours to complete.

CPD for Supply Teachers, a self-study course, is priced at £15.00. The course will be delivered as a Word document (.docx), and a self-evaluation certificate for your CPD file will be sent in a separate email.

£15.00 – upon completion of payment, please click on 'Return to Merchant' which will take you to the document for download.
Your Certificate will follow by email within a few days.


CPD for Supply Teachers: A Self-Study Course – All Key Stages

CPD for Supply Teachers: A 6-part self-study course for supply teachers in any Key Stage has been specially developed by us* to aide those new to supply teaching, or those who feel they lack confidence in the classroom as a supply teacher.

 "…I cannot recommend this course highly enough…"
Read more from Susanna Thicks, supply teacher

"…drew me in immediately and kept me engaged until I'd finished all of the six modules…"
Read more from Sarah Cruickshank, supply teacher

"…I commend you on providing such an excellent and cost effective solution…"
Read more from Katy at Smile Education

"…A Swiss army knife of techniques, tips and tricks…"
Read more from Sean at Sincere Education

"…possibly the most informative, and only study material any supply teacher will ever need…"
Read more from Top Class Education

"… a tool belt to ensure that you are ‘armed and ready for battle’ whilst holding your hand and providing constant support…" 
Read more from Classpeople

"…such a valuable resource for the often undervalued supply teacher…" 
Read more from Mathew Rees Jones, Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Wales Trinity Saint David


CPD Course for Supply Teachers

The 6 modules are as follows: 
1. Presenting Yourself as a Professional
2. Building Self-Confidence
3. Improvisation Skills
4. Behaviour Management
5. Building Long-Term Professional Relationships
6. Time for Reflection

Each module will take between 3-5 hours to complete.

CPD for Supply Teachers, a self-study course, is priced at just £15.00. The course will be delivered as a Word document (.docx), and a self-evaluation certificate for your CPD file will be sent in a separate email.

£15.00 – upon completion of payment, please click on 'Return to Merchant' which will take you to the document for download.  Your Certificate will follow by email within a few days.

* Site owner: Sharon Wood and fellow course leader Helen Wright. Please note the logo is from a previous website, we are working on changing it to the current one. Thank you! 

Are you a Ninja Worrier? Helping yourself when supply teaching anxieties hit

The last week of the month (possibly the third week if I've been a little careless) always brings with it a little fear, I am afraid I might go overdrawn. It is a genuine fear, borne out of historical actions, debts and bills. It's quantifiable, somewhat avoidable but there all the same. The anxiety that comes with it, that's a whole new story, I build that on the rocky foundation of fear, but fear and anxiety are very different.

Are you a Ninja Worrier? Do supply teacher fears have you quickly climbing the anxiety ladder?The genuine fear of the telephone not ringing to offer work will resonate with most supply teachers, the anxiety built on that fear will be different for everyone, but it will always be built on the firm foundations of fear. Not getting that phone call when there's bills to pay is real, but not always something you have lots of control over, how you deal with the lack of call and associated worry is controllable, with  practice. How you climb up the ladder of anxiety when the call doesn't come may feel like something rapid and out of control, but there are techniques to talk yourself down because it is within your control. I'm not talking about deep rooted, clinical anxiety that limits life and ability, I'm talking about day to day anxiety that can blow up like a balloon that rarely pops, (but it can be deflated!)

When you climb up the ladder of anxiety you get from the bottom rung of perhaps not having enough to cover bills, right to the top rung of losing your home and being penniless and in the streets quicker than you can physically climb. It may sound extreme but as you climb up the ladder with the speed of a ninja warrior (or worrier), you get to the top, the worst rung where life has collapsed and there is nowhere to go. Except down.

Imagine all the skills you have for the classroom; reasoning, knowledge, bringing life to life, conflict resolution, rationality and reason. It is this emotional resilience that you will teach others as second nature that is often very difficult to apply to yourself. On the top rung of the anxiety ladder, worried and wobbly, reasoned argument can feel a very long way away. Take some deep breaths and step down a worry. Think realistically, how have you managed before, what is within your control, what is real? What do you need help with and what can you do yourself?

Any situation of anxiety is fear pushed to the extreme limits, stretched beyond reality and mixed with a massive blob of negative imagination. Worst case scenario shouted in capitals with some exclamation marks at the end. But how often does the worst of what we imagine actually greet us in reality?

Have that thought in your mind as you step down a rung. What proactive things can you do to make calls come? Step down a rung. What could you do with a day at home? Plan and cook some cheap meals, make some realistic plans, step down a rung.

Hold what you can in your hands that is within your control and work or what you can do with that. The things out of your control need to be let go of as these cannot be changed. Step down a rung. Deep breaths, reasoning, and the top of the ladder may seem quite far away.

Explosions of worry and anxiety are part of life. How we negotiate with ourselves once we are at the top of that anxiety ladder will determine how well we manage to deal with the day to day worries that arrive. Keeping things real and rational will save us the exhaustion of all that climbing and give us time to be in control. And that's when we get things done.

By Resident Writer Helen Bradford

Ellie’s Friends

Living with cancer is hard. No matter what. 

Ellie’s Friends is dedicated to improving the lives of adults (16+) living with cancer, all around the UK. They provide frequent freebies from caring businesses and individuals, to offset some of the financial and psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis.

Being diagnosed with cancer is just the start of an incredibly difficult experience – there are so many pressures that are rarely mentioned: the financial impact of having to give up work, paying for trips to the hospital, healthier food; the eternal boredom and depression that sets in during recovery from chemo.

They help to reinstate ‘treats’ and give their registered users a bit of a lift at a difficult time. From days out with friends or family to special packages delivered in the post, they do what they can to continue the vision of Ellie Jeffery, who wanted to “Make the Big C Smaller.”

I found Ellie's Friends exactly a year after my own diagnosis and immediately joined Ellie's Army: a group of volunteers aiming to increase the number of treats available to adults living with cancer.

If you know an adult living with cancer, please do direct them to the website to register for treats… 

If you think you could provide a one-off treat, or a regular treat for an adult living with cancer in the UK, please do get in touch

Thank you so much… S x

Top Supply Teaching Tips: Working with an agency

While it may be financially better to work direct for schools as a supply teacher, not everyone has that option.  Many counties no longer run a supply teaching pool and many schools only employ their teachers through an agency.  Working with an agency can, at times, be quite difficult. In this Top Supply Teaching Tips article we look at the best ways to get the most out of working with an agency.

Top Tip 1: Ask questions / read everything

It might seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many supply teachers don’t know that their agency might offer them cover supervisor work. Or send them over a certain distance. Or offer a different key stage to the one that they prefer. Or pay through an umbrella company with all the associated deductions that go with it. These issues can be solved right at the start of the working relationship by reading carefully every document your agency give you and asking the right questions. In the interview be really clear on the type of work you will, or will not, accept and ask questions if you have any doubts about any aspect at all. This is particular true when it comes to pay. PAYE is usually better, but there can be tax implications if you work for more than one agency. Some smaller agencies do not have the payroll staff to be able to process the pay for all of their supply teachers. If your agency has to use a payroll company ask if they can increase your daily rate to offset the deductions.

Top Tip 2: Agencies work in a high pressure environment

 An agency's number one priority has to be to keep the customer, the school, happy. They will need to find a teacher, TA or cover supervisor to fill a role at very short notice. At the same time, they are trying to make sure that all of their supply staff get as much work as possible.  This can, at times, seem to conflict with your own priority of getting more work.  This isn’t to say one role is easier than another. Just a little mutual understanding helps build a good working relationship.   

Top Tip 3: How agencies work

Most agencies offer new supply teachers day to day work before offering longer assignments term assignments.   Day to day work will usually be emergency cover first before pre-booked, and longer assignments can range from a week to a term or more. This method of working allows the agency to get to know the supply teacher better and gather feedback from the schools the supply teacher has worked in.  It is down to personal choice whether a supply teacher will accept emergency day to day cover or pre-booked only, but it is worth remembering that the more flexible you can be in terms of working pattern the more work you are likely to get.

Top Tip 4: Agencies are not your friend

A good working relationship with your agency is essential but they are not your friend. Just like you should be friendly but not a friend to the children you teach, the same is true with agencies.  Obviously this might not be true in every case but as a general rule it would be a bad idea to become Facebook friends with anyone from your agency.

Communication with your agency is quite a skill!

Top Tip 5: Communication

Good communication is essential to a good ongoing relationship with your agency.  Contact your agency regularly to ask about work, particularly if you are not getting enough or only being offered work which doesn’t fit your needs (too far away, wrong key stage, wrong role etc).  

If anything goes wrong, no matter how trivial, when on an assignment: tell your agency.  It is better that they hear it from you than from a school or other third party.

It is also worth keeping in contact when on long term assignments, just to remind them you still exist!

However, remember Top Tip 2 above – agencies are in a high pressure sales type role. If you phone at certain times of the day they may be really busy trying to fill roles. Do not be offended if they seem to brush you off or can’t spend a long time chatting. It’s not personal!

And finally…

Working with an agency does not need to be stressful. Most agencies want to offer a good service to the schools they work with and know that the best way to do that is to have supply teachers who are happy to work for, and with, them.

Have you any other top tips for other supply teachers? How do you ensure that you have a good working relationship with your agencies? Let us know in the comments section below!

By Resident Writer Colin

Work Life Balance: A SAHM’s guide to getting back into supply teaching

As a mum with two small children, I have spent the past three years wrapped in a bubble. A bubble of innocence and the sweet smell of a sleeping baby. I've nurtured and my little ones are growing. And it's time to let go, just a little bit. It's time to begin to walk that fine line back into the world of work, and jobs, long drives home with the stereo blaring, and cold, early mornings with frost on the windows before the world is fully awake.

How do I prepare for this coming year?

Work life balance teacher SAHM supply teaching1. I plan to be realistic about what I can do, and I will be open and honest about the amount of work I can take on. I don't want to let anyone down. Doing a good job is something I take great pride in. Having an “off” day or being below par is something I can't bring myself to do professionally. Or personally. I owe it to my small people to be the best mum I know how to be.

2. In the past three years, I've learned what it really is to face the unexpected and think on my feet. Everything from hospital stays to running after an escapee toddler at top speed, I have honed and developed so many skills. Not only that: I have spent the last year or two fine-tuning my behaviour and time management! I've had to occupy small children at short notice with few resources at my disposal, and I've learned the words to more nursery rhymes and songs than I would care to mention. I've done a lot of it with very little money and on not enough sleep. My teaching experience has been tremendously valuable to me now I am a mum, and I know that being a parent will unimaginably enrich my professional life.

3. Sometimes spending every day with two small people who don't yet really know how to be gracious is hard. There are days when I want to throw in the towel and start over, but you can't do that when you have a family. You keep on going. You tackle problems and you develop persistence. You learn patience. You discover ways of motivating yourself, and them, even when it has been a really difficult day. And you learn to accept that sometimes, a bad day is just that. A bad day. We all have them, wherever we are, and whatever we are doing. It's good to be able to put that into perspective.

4. And yet, I wouldn't change who I am and what I do. It's a cliché that a stay at home mum is everything, but it's true. I'm chief cook and bottle washer, nurse, engineer, social secretary, teacher, playmate, doctor, friend, entertainer, photographer and director. I can't imagine a life without my children. I love it, and I love them with all of my heart. I enjoy being with them, and I have great pleasure in finding out what makes them tick. I've learned how to interest and engage them, and keep them motivated to complete even the most routine of tasks on even the dullest of days. And I take great pride in that. I have always loved this about teaching, too, and being an early years teacher has meant that I can dive in and engage with whatever the children are doing, and wherever their learning is taking them. I become as enthusiastic as they are when I'm in the classroom. I know that, right now, I don't want to go back long term or full time. I want to enjoy my work, and have enthusiasm for what I do, and I will, as long as I know that I will be able to enjoy life with my own children.

5. Last but not least, I will look after myself. I will make sure I take care of my mental health. Being with small children can be exhausting, whether they belong to you or somebody else. At the end of the day, I'll need to find time to switch off, and leave my work at the door. The life of a working mum is never easy and I'll need to learn to be kind to myself. I'm sure there will be times I will find this juggling act a struggle and feel pulled in two directions at once but I'll learn.

So when September rolls around I'll be there, ready to go back to school.

Are you a SAHM mum thinking about a future back in the classroom? What are your concerns? What are you looking forward to? Tell us below!

By Resident Writer Jenny Smith


Supply Teachers: Embrace Your Gut!

Supply teachers can sometimes find themselves in tricky situations, where they feel obliged to make big, yet snap, decisions, without having all the information necessary, or the time to reflect on the implications. 

Imagine you're at the zoo watching the tigers prowl at a safe distance when the zookeeper approaches and tells you to get in the enclosure, it's quite safe, they've been fed. I would imagine that the majority of you would decline the offer, sensing an uncomfortable feeling in your gut, an inner discomfort that it might not end well, and choose not to believe the zookeeper and her proclamation of safety.

Supply teaching: be more tiger, don't get in with one!But what about less obvious scenarios, when you are in a situation where someone asks you to do something and your inner discomfort is alarmed, your gut feeling churns and you push that feeling as deep down as you can whilst you nod your head in agreement at the request? You walk away with concerns but you have already agreed.

The gut is often referred to as the second brain, you feel delight, excitement, anxiety, worry, indeed endless emotions deep in the pit of your enteric nervous system, and yet these complex and marvellous feelings are often ignored, pushed away as not real and not quantifiable. Increasing evidence suggests that we should listen and act on our gut feelings.

Imagine you get asked to lower your daily rate to ensure more work, or do five trails in schools for free; your gut churns and you feel uncomfortable, but you've bills to pay and debts mounting, surely something is better than nothing? Free work might equal opportunities, but it still doesn't feel right at all. What can you do?

Time isn't always of the essence

Perhaps the most important thing you can give yourself is a bit of time. Don't say yes, (but even if you do, you are allowed to change your mind!) take some time, reflect on the request and think about what you don't like about it. What were your expectations of the situation? Why is the other party not giving you this? Is there a game of negotiation being played and the agent / head / school are hoping you'll feel too uncomfortable to shake your dice?

Ask for it in writing

Having things written in black and white often helps. Send an email, reflecting on what has been requested of you and be honest about why you are not happy to agree. If it has been suggested more work will come your way ask for percentages, proper confirmation. It's better to feel uncomfortable because you've chanced your arm than because you've aimed low to fit in with someone else's expectations and wants.

Understand your instincts

Go with your feelings but own them. Tell the other party that you feel disappointed in their request, that you feel undervalued and you had expected more, deserve better. Be honest and rational, lay those feelings out and bullet point them if you have to so you can get a decent response. Happily own your gut and share it! I'm sure that businesses love to depart from corporate speak to consider the feelings of those they make money from, so highlight your self awareness and emotional intelligence in the pursuit of answers and resolution.

A problem shared…

Supply teaching can be quite isolating, and you might feel like you are not part of a team, who do you run your feelings of discomfort by to say "This just happened and I'm uncomfortable"? Your online community is massive, they are your gut-sharing, emotion-confirmation team mates, so share! Even if you feel embarrassed doing it. It's far better to share and get what you want than feel uncomfortable for months because you ignored your gut.  Embrace your gut!

Have you embraced your gut? What feelings were you left with? Share with us below!

By Resident Writer Helen Bradford

Top Supply Teaching Tips: Dealing with Adults

Dealing with adults in a school can be a challenge for the most experienced of supply teachers. It can be even more of a nightmare for an NQT or those new to supply.  Many teachers can feel totally in control of a class of 30 children but awkward when talking to adults. There are a few top tips that that can make life easier when talking to a parent, teaching assistants or any other adult.

Top Supply Teaching Tips: Dealing with AdultsParents

The teacher is usually the first point of contact in a school. If a parent has a complaint or issue they are more likely to mention it to the class teacher first.  

Parent Tip 1: Avoid making empty promises or promises which may turn out false. If a parent does talk you about an issue make it clear that you will make note of everything that is said and pass on to someone else within the school.

Parent Tip 2: Report it! As soon as possible find a senior member of staff and inform them of the conversation. Tell them everything that was said and try not to miss any details out, no matter how small it may seem at the time.  If no senior member of staff is available write it down and leave it in a secure place for them to find. Not the staff room table!

Parent Tip 3: Remain calm. This might seem obvious but education can be an emotive issue and it’s quite possible that the parent will be angry or frustrated with the school.  It is not personal though, it’s just unfortunate that you happen to be in the classroom the day the emotions came out.

Parent Tip 4:  If things get ‘heated’ signal another member of staff to join the conversation. If this isn’t possible offer to walk with the parent around to the school office to discuss the issue.

Parent Tip 5: In extreme cases you may need to just walk away. If you do make sure you find a member of the SLT immediate and brief them on the situation.

Depending on the circumstances it would be a good idea to inform your agency of any conversation that gets heated or could lead to an accusation from a parent. It is important to cover ourselves at all times.

Teaching Assistants

Most teaching assistants are great. Occasionally however they can make life difficult e.g. by trying to take over or disappearing with no explanation. But a good working relationship is important especially if they are a permanent member of staff and you are there on a supply contract.

TA Tip 1:  Acknowledge their experience and knowledge of the class/school. Ask about the school routine including things you need to know about the children or special events that day etc. Even if you know the school quite well things change so the TA is best place to help update your knowledge.

TA Tip 2: Explain your rules to the TA. Every class teacher has slightly different expectations of how they would like the children to work. At the start of the day explain to the TA, and the class, what your expectations are.

TA Tip 3: Give clear instructions. It can be difficult, especially if the TA is more experienced than you , but try to give clear instructions on how  you would like them to support the children.  If possible go through the lesson plans prior to the lesson so the TA has a good understanding of what you are trying to achieve.

TA Tip 4: Unless the TA is allocated to a particular child (e.g. SEN support) its useful to move the TA to a different group. For example: you support the middle ability in the first lesson while the TA supports the lower ability and you swap in lesson 2 etc.  Not only does this give you good understanding of all the children in the class but it also shows the TA that you value their subject knowledge.

TA Tip 5: Thank them. Even if they have disappeared or been unhelpful thank them anyway. Always end of a positive note!

Remember the TA is the one who the school will probably listen go to should the agency ask for feedback on your performance!

Other Adults

There are many adults working in, or visiting a school. As a supply teacher it would be impossible for you to know them all or know who was a member of staff, the head, or a visitor for the day.  

Other Adults Tip 1:  Be friendly. Smile and talk to everyone. This might seem silly but a positive outlook will create a good impression. This isn’t the same as making jokes all the time or being a comedian just try to look like you are enjoying the time in their school and that you want to be there.

Other Adults Tip 2: Go to the staffroom.  Even if it's only for a few minutes, it's always worth getting to know other members of staff in the school. This will help build a good relationship with the school and, possibly, mean you get specifically requested for future bookings.

Working with adults can be very difficult. Hopefully these tips will help  relieve some of the tension and make the world of supply more enjoyable experience.

Have you any other top tips for other supply teachers? How do you ensure that communication is effective, and productive, with other adults in a school? Let us know below!

By Resident Writer Colin