Tips for Supply Teachers

Tips for Supply Teachers

Sending your CV to schools directly is a great way to get a job, but signing up to agencies maximizes your chance of getting work. It’s worth contacting a few to find out the rates of pay, as this can vary depending on the available posts and the area where you are looking


Before a Supply Agency can offer you to Schools for work you would need to apply for a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. Most agencies can do this for you including Education Appointments.

Remember to ask if the CRB your applying for is portable, if you don’t pay for it, it probably won’t be.

When doing supply and knowing how to handle a class of disruptive youngsters is crucial for supply teachers, as pupils will try to push the boundaries if they know you’re only there for a day or two. Ask about the school’s behaviour policy before you step foot in a classroom and find out the name of the head of year so that you have some effective penalties to use.

Generally Supply agencies will be calling you from 7.30am so make sure you have your phone switched on and close by. Most Schools accept that you may be a few minutes late if they have had a late booking, but it may be a good idea to buy a Sat Nav to help with your time keeping.

Get used to early morning, late night and weekend calls. Sometimes agencies will have you teaching area’s that are not your subject specialism.

If you register with more than one agency it might be an idea to buy a diary, you will need to jot where you worked and how much you get paid and which agency it’s for. There are a few reasons for the diary notes but it’s mainly because you can make sure you get paid right, the other is so you can update your CV.

Teaching is often referred to as a performance, but this is even more true for supply teachers, who have a limited period of time to get pupils’ attention, maintain some kind of order and, if they’re lucky, cover the work that has been set.


  • Always have a picture book, a DVD or a game with you to use as a discussion point.
  • Be flexible: you’re not always going to be in your comfort zone, but learn to go with the flow.
  • Find out the school’s behaviour policy so you know the protocol.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask. Senior management will be glad you’ve shown initiative.
  • Approach your supply work as an extended interview – it might get you a job.
  • Keep a diary detailing where you are working and with whom and rate of pay.
  • Always carry a supply of pens, pencils, board pens etc as not all classrooms have these available.
  • Take a flask of tea/coffee with you as not all staffrooms cater for drinks for supply staff.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate a higher rate of pay with an agency if you need to travel a long distance.
  • You will need A1 classroom management skills as many pupils view supply staff as fair game for a spot of teacher baiting.


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