How to get more supply teaching work – my top tips

Top Ten Tips: A handy little guide to getting more supply teaching work

Getting more supply teaching work1. Contact schools in your area, that you’d like to work in: ask them if they’d be interested in seeing your CV. They may jump at the chance, and employ you directly, or they might tell you which agency they tend to call for supply and suggest you register with them. If they’re interested in seeing your CV, hand-deliver it for a golden opportunity to make a great first impression.

2. Call the agency they mentioned. If a school, or number of schools in your area, work with a different agency to the one you’re with, then join that one! It’s ok, and usual, to be with more than one agency.

3. If you want to register with more agencies, there are lots of places you can look to find them. I have a database of agencies here, a quick Google of ‘supply teacher recruitment agency in [your town]’ will bring back lots of results, or ask around.

4. Want recommendations? Although you can ask for them in the Supply Teacher Network, take them with a pinch of salt. That’s not to say don’t trust the members, but that we are all unique individuals with a different set of skills, requirements and experiences. One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

5. Before you make your final choice of agency, take a look at their Twitter feed, their Facebook page, their website, see if they’ve done a Takeover Thursday and have a review file in the Supply Teacher Network upload section, and you could even ask for a preliminary meeting. Lots of agencies will want to register you at your very first meeting, but you may want to visit a few, as you would do a school, get a feel for the staff, the office (is it convenient for you if you needed to pop in?) the general atmosphere and ask to take away some documentation. They could be your representatives on the phone etc. to the schools, you want to be confident that they will work for you as you wish them to.

6. Want a longer-term position? My Twitter feed is full of jobs, my LinkedIn feed is full of jobs, all agencies that I know are recruiting constantly! Again, take a look at social media, it’s probably the cheapest and easiest way for agencies to publish jobs. I often retweet from my list of agencies, so follow me too! There’s a promotions section in my LinkedIn group. Look at national jobs boards. It’s going to have a redesign soon, but I have a little jobs board here. Agencies often have a jobs feed on their own websites.

7. Email me! I get lots of messages from people asking about getting started with supply work, or getting more work, and can often put them in touch with someone I think they would like to work with. Please note, I do not get referral bonuses: often promised, never materialised!

8. With your agency, keep yourself front-of-mind with your consultants. Read my article on making the most of your education recruitment consultant. Your personal consultant is also personal consultant to many other supply teachers! Have conversations with them, if you can sing, let them know! If you can juggle, let them know! If next week you’re free on a day when you usually wouldn’t be, tell them, and tell them it’d be great to have it prebooked!

9. Treat every day on supply as an opportunity to shine. Let that school know that you’re fantastic, that you’ve had a great day, that you’d love to return. Show them that you’re a team player, a grafter, a sponge… Make sure that when they next want a supply teacher, they call for you!

10. Be yourself. Honestly, if you’re not yourself, you’ll fear that you’ll be ‘found out’, and probably will be. Teachers are natural actors, the more they can inspire and enthuse the children, the better the day will be, but don’t try and be something you’re not. If you want to be something else, i.e. better at behaviour management or more confident, then work on it. Be a reflective practitioner, identify your weaknesses, formulate an action plan, ask for help. Do not be afraid to ask your agency for help either. They will help arrange CPD for you: you are their ‘product’, and the better the product, the more sales they’ll get!

Contacting Schools Directly

by Sharon Wood

NuttySupplier for one, is living proof that you don’t necessarily have to work through a supply teacher recruitment agency. Contacting schools directly, she has never even considered using an agency!

Before spending lots of time and energy on contacting schools directly, call the Local Authority and ask what the present situation is. They may only allow supply teachers to work through agencies, as they have no way of dealing with payroll. If they are in charge of their own payroll systems, or have even out-sourced it to a company like Capita, you should be able to go to schools direct.

Contacting schools directly can be worth the leg work for supply teachers.

This can have its pitfalls, predominantly with CRB Checks, but it can be a very well-rewarded activity.

How to go about it?
Have a look here, to see how others have started out on this path, summarised below:
Update your CV and Supporting Statement. Write a covering letter, and copy your current CRB Check. Trawl through the county website’s list of schools and contacts. Call each school you’d be interested in working in, to ask if they’d be interested in seeing your CV with a view to offering you supply work in the future. This is your first opportunity to make an impression, be nice!
Tell them you’ll pop it in the post if they are interested. Don’t post it, hand deliver it! This gives them a chance to put a face to a name and check you out, and you a chance to see if you really do want to work there! It’s also an invaluable trip out and about seeing where these schools are. When you get a call at 8:15am for an 8:30am start, you don’t want to have to be consulting the A-Z!