Understanding supply teacher pay

Understanding supply teacher pay

Supply teaching is a rewarding job for thousands of teachers up and down the country.

From getting to know a new set of students and staff members, to acquiring a fresh skillset to help enhance your experience in the role, supply teachers are a vital component to ensure high standards are met across schools. 

And this hard work in the role is often rewarded through flexible working, a good work-life balance and the chance to learn different skills in a new school environment.

But, unfortunately, there’s one thing that frustrates supply teachers across the board, and that is their pay.

How are supply teachers typically paid?

When starting a new school, a supply teacher will not only be met with a new set of students, colleagues and culture, but they’ll too receive a new rate of pay.

And this is because, in most cases, supply teachers secure their work through the help of an agency, which means they are not paid by the school directly.

This means that, following a new school contract, the rates of pay will fluctuate from job to job, whereby schools will be prepared to pay higher or lower fees to suit their budgets.

When working with an agency, a supply teacher will also have their pay deducted following their associated commission charges.

Your pay rate will differ between agencies, so it’s important, if you’re just starting out, to do your research and approach different companies to ensure you’re getting the best offer.

A big factor that often affects supply teacher pay is the length of their contract.

For a shorter contract, maybe covering for a school where a staff member is off sick, a supply teacher will typically receive a lower hourly rate than that of someone on a longer-term contract.

This is because, in some cases, if you are at a school for a longer period of time, you may be expected to fulfil additional duties like the marking of school work, significant lesson plans and assessments.

And these additional responsibilities and tasks are where many supply teachers are able to negotiate an increase in their pay rate.

Of course, these other responsibilities mean extra work and further time obligations for the job, which may be the reason why you opted for supply teaching in the first instance, so it really is up to the discretion of the candidate.

Increasing your day rate

The subject you teach can also impact your desirability to a school and the chance to ask for a higher hourly rate.

Those who teach more obscure subjects, which have a shortage of qualified or highly trained teachers in the area, may be able to negotiate a higher salary due to being the only suitable available candidate for the role.

Do supply teachers receive sick pay?

As supply teaching is not under a permanent contract, supply teachers only receive the ‘basic’ pay conditions that full-time teachers do when they have been working for 12 weeks or more at a school.

In most cases though, due to the nature of the contract, supply teachers are not covered for contractual sick pay, but there is a chance they may be covered by statutory sick pay in certain circumstances.

With schools often setting aside budgets for supply staff, with figures revealing that an estimated £1.3bn was spent by schools in England to pay supply staff in 2016, there is still a clear need for supply teachers across the UK.

At Teachers First, we partner with numerous supply teacher agencies across the UK to ensure you get the pay you deserve, correctly and on time, whilst you work hard training the minds of the future.

To find out more about our payroll practices, and how we work with agencies to support supply teachers, please click here.