News at a glance: March 14, 2013


A campaign to stop the exploitation of supply staff, a call for schools to get involved in research over strategies to tackle NEETs, and new human rights classroom resources make up the At a Glance headlines for March 14.

Supply anger

A teaching union is campaigning to stop supply agencies which make teachers sign away basic legal rights and entitlements.

The NASUWT claims that teachers are being asked to sign “dubious contracts” by some agencies which enables the firms to avoid tax and national insurance contributions.

Three-quarters of teachers at an event hosted by the union said they had been asked to sign contracts with “tax-avoiding umbrella companies” or face the risk of losing work.

General secretary Chris Keates said: “The practices of many off-shore umbrella companies are proving to be damaging to supply teachers who are being forced into signing dubious contracts which seek to deny them basic legal rights and entitlements and allow these agencies to dodge their tax and national insurance liabilities.

“Many supply teachers told us that they are simply too frightened to speak out about their treatment by some of these agencies due to threats of ‘blacklisting’.

“It was equally disturbing to hear that many supply teachers are being asked to sign contracts which include gagging clauses designed to cover up a range of illegal practices.”

The union is calling for government intervention to ensure “robust regulation” of supply agencies.

NEET research 

Schools using interventions to re-engage “at risk” young people are being sought to take part in a new research project. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) is evaluating what works to re-engage these students to help prevent them from becoming NEET (not in employment, education or training).

The research will track young people taking part in interventions from the end of year 9 to year 12. Such interventions might be careers-related, employer-related, offer resilience or confidence-building programmes, or offer alternative curricula or qualifications. Email: Visit:

Human Rights pack

Amnesty International UK has launched a cross-curricular teaching pack to help secondary school teachers tackle human rights issues in the classroom. Everyone Everywhere contains eight lesson plans for different subjects, including maths, English, geography and Spanish.

Each lesson can be taught as a standalone or the pack can be used to plan a Human Rights Day across the school. Highlights include learning about maternal mortality in maths, discussing human rights in the UK through recent court cases in English, and understanding a refugee’s experience in geography. The resources are available to download. Visit:


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