Forgotten & invisible: Time to end the daily exploitation of supply teachers

Supply agencies and umbrella companies are making millions at the expense of teachers. Dr Patrick Roach is spear-heading a campaign to end what he says is the exploitation of supply teachers

“Forgotten”, “invisible”, “second-class citizens, “treated like extras in a film”.

These are just some of the comments from NASUWT supply teacher members when we asked them to describe their experiences over the last year.

The bad practices already embedded within the employment system for supply teachers have been exacerbated during the pandemic to the point where we now have clear indications that rising numbers of supply teachers are walking away from the profession, broken and angry at the race to the bottom on pay, exploitation and poor working conditions. That trickle is set to become a flood unless something is done.

Even prior to the pandemic experienced supply teachers routinely reported the refusal of agencies to pay them to scale, often receiving rates below that of an NQT. This is on top of being denied access to rights such as sick pay, training and annual leave, and in many cases being forced to sign exploitative agreements with umbrella companies that tie them into a structure of complex fees and additional payments that drain their salaries still further.

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