Supply teachers: bullies with the biggest sticks

There are many situations in life where criticism, constructive and kindly given can enrich us and make our learning and living more effective. Unfortunately it is often thrown around harshly and without thought rendering us worried and anxious, doubting ourselves and wondering if we are doing the right things.

No one would want to spend time with someone who constantly pointed out our faults and failings and ignored our triumphs, big and small. You wouldn't look forward to a brew with that friend who failed to mention the 99 small successes you'd had in favour of going over and over the one error you had made, you'd side step that person at work and in the street, but often the person most critical of you is the person you spend most time with: you.

Supply teachers - their own worst enemySelf criticism is something most people do, unconsciously often, staggeringly anxiety provoking at times. It's odd really, when there are so many others happy to hit you with the stick of doubt, why us humans are so keen to hit ourselves hardest. Repeatedly. With the biggest stick you can find.

"Did I do OK?" "Why did I say that?" "What must they think of me?" "I should have done better, said less, said more, researched more, spoke out" The list is endless.

Supply teaching often means you don't have trusted colleagues to ask if you did OK, if you were fair, competent or effective. So the little whisper of doubt that accompanies self criticism can become gradually louder until that's what you hear most.

Criticising yourself can be extremely useful, looking at what you've done, what you've achieved, what you did well and what you'd change next time. It allows you to learn and make positive changes. Being your own bully, constantly jabbing yourself for mistakes, perhaps reiterating the voices of others who have not been kind, can have a devastating effect on your mental health, well-being and career. You might be dreading that phone call for work because you doubt yourself and your ability, and then if it doesn't ring you can assume it might be because the doubts are true.

Silence your inner bully

There are some fairly simple actions you can take to start being your own champion. To silence your inner bully:

As simple as it sounds, start being kind to yourself. Treat yourself as well as you would a great friend, listen to your criticism by all means, make some changes but Iist your achievements too. For every negative thought make yourself list two positive ones.

When you are being critical of yourself think about what you want to achieve. You can't change what you've done but will going over it mean it will progress your practice, improve your confidence? If not remember what you don't want to repeat, what you are not happy with and then let it go. Store it with lessons learned and allocate very limited time to it if it serves a productive purpose.

If your inner criticism relates to an event or situation that's causing you concern turn your inner critical bully into constructive criticism. Make it work for you. Looking at what you did and what you could do differently next time. Learn from it, be your own teacher, after all life is a variety of different lessons.

You can change what is within your control so stop wrestling with anything out of your control, that is a true rocking horse journey, it'll get you absolutely nowhere. Prickly TA? Rude Head? Uncommunicative staffroom? It's not you, you can't change it but you can change your reaction to it to make you far less critical of yourself. They might be overwhelmed, tired, busy or just really rubbish at understanding the nerves that come with supply. Give yourself a little twist on the old relationship talk and say to yourself ‘it's not me, it's you’, preferably not out loud, you want repeat bookings after all.

Most importantly in the fight against self criticism remember you are human. You make mistakes but so does everyone else, you just need to put the mistakes into perspective. And put the stick down.

By Resident Writer Helen Bradford

A Helping Hand with CPD – Education Support Partnership

A new charitable fund has been launched to help teachers expand their knowledge and access crucial CPD.

The recent publication of the Education Select Committee’s inquiry into teacher recruitment and retention made several recommendations, many of which have been welcomed by the sector. 

Its call for teachers to have access to high-quality development throughout their careers has been particularly welcomed.

However, at the same time, school funding is dominating the headlines and, worryingly, a report from the Teacher Development Trust in February found that 600 schools have had to “wipe out” their budget for professional development for teachers.

This is hugely concerning. It is so important for teaching professionals to have access to CPD opportunities, particularly with the changing policies and continuous development of pedagogic research. 

The education sector should not be exempt from having to invest in staff. Teaching staff, arguably above all other professions given their essential role in imparting knowledge and shaping the talents and skills of the next generation, need to be stimulated, encouraged to stay ahead of the curve and, above all, valued. 

Teachers and school leaders want to develop themselves and we need to lobby and campaign for schools to be given the necessary resources and funding to invest in staff if we are to ensure the highest quality of education and motivation for all.

Furthermore, a recent report from the Education Policy Institute found that teachers in England spend less time doing CPD than their peers in many other high-performing countries. A teacher in England has an average of four days of CPD per year, whereas in Singapore it is 12 days.

Since our creation in 1877, we have provided crisis financial grants to those in need of such support across the education workforce. In our follow-up surveys, a quarter of the beneficiaries of these grants consistently tell us that support with training and CPD would help them stay in the education profession.

In response to this feedback and the increasing evidence of access to CPD being essential in recruiting and retaining teachers, the Education Support Partnership is delighted to have launched a Training and Development Fund in partnership with CSIS, the Civil Servant Insurance Society Charity Fund.

The purpose of this fund is to expand knowledge and skill-sets of the teaching profession. The fund will assist staff working in education with the cost of education-related training and help many to re-enter the education sector after time out with caring responsibilities perhaps, or to help develop new skills to move within their role and allied professions.

Jody was “born a teacher” and took a break from the profession to have children. As her eldest daughter has now started school, she feels there is no better time to go back to the profession she loves. However, the curriculum has changed and naturally, the idea of returning to teaching has been quite a daunting one. 

We supported Jody with a grant towards the cost of a course in effective A level exam preparation. Jody said:

“I didn’t want to just be the person that performs well at the interview and provides all the right answers. I needed to know for me, that if I was offered the job, I was the right person to do it – that my confidence and teaching skills are at their best, so my students can achieve their potential.”

We have also supported research into supporting autistic children in the classroom, securing Qualified Teacher Learning Status (QTLS), and re-training as a copywriter after ill health. 

We are delighted to be able to support those in education to retrain, develop their skills and become more confident in their chosen profession. It comes at a time when the sector has a real gap in funding and although our fund cannot provide all the opportunities needed for the sector, we hope it will go a small way to making a difference to a significant number of individuals.

For more information about the Education Support Partnership’s Training and Development Fund, visit

RT Education – specialist recruitment company committed to the Education Sector


rt Education - a specialist recruitment company commited to the Education arena

About RT Education

Part of the RT Group, RT Education was established in 2013 and is a specialist recruitment company committed to the Education Sector. Since our inception we have grown from strength to strength supplying educational staff across the spectrum of educational sectors. We provide recruitment solutions adopting a consultative approach with our candidates and clients alike. Our service mantra is simple; an honest and transparent approach where we strive to exceed customer’s expectations.

In line with our consultative approach, RT Education are proud of their recruitment partnerships within the Education sector across the UK and Overseas. Experience in supporting candidates to secure suitable work opportunities is something that we thrive on.

Our Areas of Speciality:

  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Specialist Educational Needs
  • Alternative Provision

Types of Staff we Supply: 

  • Business Support/Admin
  • Teaching Assistants
  • Cover Supervisors
  • Exam Invigilators
  • SEN Support
  • Supply Teachers
  • Senior Leadership Team

Many organisations need help to access bespoke candidate talent pools to further enhance and support their current staffing structures.  RT Education can help you find the perfect job; we have access to opportunities across London and the South East and we recognise the importance of finding you the perfect post. Whether you want supply, interim or permanent work we can help:

Long Term Supply and Interim Posts

Organisations often have a need for qualified teachers to cover unfilled vacancies, maternity leave or long term absences. Such posts can last anywhere between six weeks to a whole academic year. Long term posts offer you the security of knowing where you will be working every day. 

Day to Day Supply

We are inundated with requests for teaching staff on a daily basis to cover short term or an unexpected absences.  Some of our teaching staff prefer to work in a myriad of different settings, like the flexibility of choosing their working week or simply can’t make long term commitments.  As such our core Day to Day cover staff can pick up the work at short notice.


We understand that looking for your next permanent career move is often a time consuming and daunting proposition.  We will take the pressure off you and source the perfect role in the perfect location.  As the skills shortage in Education intensifies so does the need of the client.  As a candidate looking for a permanent position you will be allocated a dedicated recruitment specialist with opportunities spanning the whole of the UK.

We specialise in recruiting for Senior Leadership roles and can offer both interim and permanent positions.  We currently work with a vast array of schools and academies and have access to a variety of opportunities with roles inclusive of:

  • Head Teacher
  • Assistant Head Teacher
  • Deputy Head Teacher
  • Head of Year
  • Head of Department
  • Head of Inclusion

If you have Senior Leadership experience we can help you to achieve your next challenging and rewarding career move.

To find out more about the benefits of working with RT Education or simply to discuss your next career options please feel free to contact us on the details below:

Phone: 01992 535770



First Class Learning – franchise opportunities that make sense for supply teachers


First Class Learning - franchise opportunities for supply teachers

First Class Learning (FCL) is a learning franchise which provides a strong, flexible and dynamic learning system that focuses on the key maths and English learning outcomes within the School Curriculum. More than just private tuition, our maths and English tuition programmes help to form good study habits, increase confidence and develop self-esteem.

With First Class Learning:

  • Every child follows their own unique programme.
  • Children develop essential core maths and English skills.
  • Programmes are suitable for all ages and abilities

We know that with the flexibility of being a supply teacher comes some uncertainty.  We can all live with a little uncertainty but too much can be worrying in a work environment that is already acknowledged to be the most stressful around.

Nearly half (43 percent) of state school teachers plan to quit in the next five years according to The Guardian and almost three quarters of teachers-in-training regularly think about packing it in.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that if you love working with children but want to reduce your day to day stress levels there is another way to work with children and make a difference.

You could be running your own First Class Learning tuition centre and be your own boss. Here are seven reasons why it makes sense:

  • Educational Materials Aligned to National Curriculum – Our franchisees have access to a well-developed programme of materials and resources, all aligned to the national curriculum.
  • Established National Brand – First Class Learning is a national brand. Franchisees don’t have to start from nothing. They can build their business using a well-established template.
  • Proven and profitable business model – With First Class Learning you will access a proven and profitable business model. It is a well-trodden path to success available to everyone.
  • Extensive support network – We’re here to support you with business set-up guidance, marketing help and operational advice.
  • Freedom to teach as you see fit – You’re the boss. Say goodbye to the endless stream of rules, policies and paperwork. The buck stops with you, so do what you think is best.
  • Rebalance Work and Life – Take charge of your life. When you are the boss, you can pick your working hours. Imagine the lifestyle you want and make it happen.
  • Low start-up cost – Becoming a franchisee is a comparatively low-cost way to start your own business.

Supply teaching can be one of the most rewarding jobs imaginable, but there are challenges for all teachers working in schools.

However, with First Class Learning, you can teach in your own classrooms, in the way you want to, and at the times of your choosing.  It’s a great way to complement what you do inside the school system. So, you can reduce your own uncertainty, continue to enjoy the pride of helping children grow and learn and, at the same time, invest in your own future.

Take control of your destiny in 2017 with First Class Learning. 

For more information, please register your interest here or contact us with any queries at: or 0800 458 3797

An Apple A Day Supply


An Apple A Day Supply - great teachers at our core

An Apple A Day Supply is a teacher-run agency based in Wiltshire, covering primary schools in Wiltshire and BANES. We pride ourselves on providing teachers with a friendly, professional and honest service. Apple A Day were finalists in the Wiltshire Business of the Year Awards 2014 for our Staff and Customer Care and are members of APSCO; showing we truly care about what we do. Having worked as permanent Class Teachers and Supply Teachers too, we genuinely understand the job from your perspective (and schools) and have put this knowledge into making everything as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. We run a PAYE so no umbrella company to deal with; any queries you can ask us!

We offer our team of teachers free training both in person and online and the topics are decided by you! For NQT’s or those of you looking for a little more support, we offer an induction programme to support your supply journey and help you to secure a permanent position (if that is what you are looking for). There are also social events held throughout the year to give you the opportunity to swap stories and meet other supply teachers in the area; supply teaching doesn't need to be a lonely job!

We get to know you as a person and try to carefully match your requirements to our bookings.

Finally, we ensure the team of teachers we work with feel valued and appreciated. From phone calls to see how you are, to gifts and thank you cards. We always have time for you and go that extra mile to support you.

We can offer you:

• great rates of pay

• work in local schools

• support, guidance and understanding

• free training

• work within a well-respected team of teachers

• a friendly, honest and professional approach

If you are interested in finding out more please contact our office on 01225 302011.
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