How Does Supply Work? 2017-11-25T05:28:11+00:00

How does supply work?

Over the years, many teachers have asked us this question because they have never used a supply agency before. Teachers can be in different situations including:

  • NQT’s looking for a permanent position
  • Teachers looking for life style changes
  • Want a different working pattern eg. part time work
  • Retirement
  • Coming back from Maternity leave or a long term illness
  • Want flexibility, reduced work load though still want to have the enjoyment of teaching children.
  • Teachers looking for full time work and want a new challenge
  • Have been made redundant (falling numbers) and want a new school
  • Teachers who have childcare restrictions/ still willing to do the extra work as have a family to feed, though maybe want a certain amount of working days a week.
  • Coming back from teaching abroad and want to get experience back in UK school

If any of the above sounds like you, we can help!

Supply work is all about the relationships you build with schools and also other teachers you might meet in schools who are working on supply. We have worked with many teachers over the years who keep coming back to Premier Education for work in schools. These teachers then go on the recommend us as an agency to other teachers looking for work on supply.

Click here for details of our referral program.

We work mainly in three markets in education. Primary, Secondary and SEN

Primary schools

Most schools contact us for day to day and long term supply. Day to day work will either be booked in advance for PPA cover (planning, preparation and assessment) or to cover a teacher away from the classroom for reasons such as sickness, course cover, planned absence etc. Long term supply is where a school will contact us to supply them with a qualified teacher for anything over 30 days including a full term or in some cases for a year. This can be to cover a teacher at the school who is on long term sickness, planning Maternity, or if a teacher has left the school abruptly or suddenly. Schools will also use an agency to fill permanent positions, but will take the teacher on supply for a set amount of weeks to make sure that they are the right fit for the school and pupils, before taking them on to contract. This is also a great way for the teacher so they can make sure they enjoy working in the school without initially being tied into a contract.

Secondary schools

These schools tend to call us for either emergency cover for that day to cover different subjects in class, or long term supply for a specialist subject. Over the last few years, it has become apparent that schools now want to book Cover Supervisors for day to day, emergency supply work. Cover supervisors are a more cost effective option for schools. You don’t have to be a qualified teacher to work as a Cover Supervisor, but experience is generally required. Around 50% of our qualified teachers will still do this role though at a reduced rate. This isn’t the case with all our client schools who still like to book qualified teachers for supply cover work.

SEN schools (Special Education Needs)

Working in the area of SEN can include working with pupils who are on the Autistic spectrum from mild to severe, Physical disabilities, Moderate Learning Difficulties, Severe Learning Difficulties and Emotional, behavioural disorders. This can involve working 121 or in small groups in mainstream schools of in Special Education Needs schools. The work we tend to supply SEN schools with is generally long term supply, with a few exceptions. We have many teachers who want to work in SEN to gain experience and expand their knowledge. Typically, our teachers will be assigned supply teaching from us in this area from one week or one term right up to one year and beyond. Though this area of education can be very stressful and challenging, it is very rewarding.

The process of how it all works can be broken down like this:

  1. Most teachers will initially speak to friends who are teachers and see if they know of any good agencies that they may have had supply work from or will head to ‘Google’ and research online wanting to know: who we are? What we do? Do we cover the areas they want to work in? How long have we been in business for? etc
  2. They register their details on our website and one of our colleagues will call them within 24 hours. This call is to find out if we can help them find what work they are looking for.
  3. If we can help we arrange an interview and find out about the teacher and their experiences from which we create marketing that we send to appropriate schools. The marketing sells to schools what experiences and skills that particular teacher has. We then explain what will happen in the coming weeks and what we do for them behind the scenes, in detail.
  4. Before we can place the teacher in a school, we have to complete our vetting checks which include Photographic identification, references, DBS completed, proof of qualification, proof of address, DFE number. During this process, we keep in touch to let them know where we are up to in the registration process. This can take on average 2-3 weeks.
  5. Once the teacher is fully registered, we will start to market them to schools we feel would be suitable for the work they are looking for. We carry on letting them know how we are getting on and on a regular basis.
  6. When at teacher goes on an assignment for us to a school, they must do the following: take photo ID, DBS certificate, arrive on time (details we give to you on the phone) and dress professionally (yes some people forget!). Primary Teachers will normally be asked to take work into the school in case work has not been left for cover. In any school, work must be marked at the end of the day. If the work is not marked, the school may not ask for you to go back when they next need supply cover.
  7. At the end of the day, their consultant will contact them to see how they got on and check they enjoyed working at the school. Many schools will ask for the same teacher back when they next need cover for continuity.
  8. Teachers will get paid the Friday of the following week. We will work out holiday payment, pension contribution, tax and national insurance.
  9. Points 5, 6 and 7 just keep carrying on in our recruitment process until we place the teacher in a job role or placement! Also, please let us know when you have updated any skills in any other employment or if you complete any extra courses etc.

For teachers who want to do long term supply, we always recommend day to day supply where possible to start with as over the years, many of our teachers have been offered long term work in a school after covering lessons on this day to day supply basis.

If you have any further questions that are not on here please email us at