Supply teacher employment rights: England
The following is a summary of the statutory rights of supply teachers in the maintained sector in England.
Supply teachers who are in a 'pool' maintained by a LA, those located through the school's own contacts, or part-timers who wish to temporarily increase their hours, are likely to be employees of the school or LA for their period of supply work. As employees, they will qualify for the numerous protections and benefits that arise from such status. These include:
pay in accordance with and by reference to the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document
membership of the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS)
redundancy payments (after two years continuous service)
protection against unfair dismissal (after one year of continuous employment).
The position of teachers working for supply teacher agencies is less beneficial. Currently, these supply staff have no employment protection because they are not employed by the end-user (the school or college where they work). Their placement can be terminated, often on 24 hours' notice, with no right of challenge or redress.
Secondly, not being employees, they have no rights of equal treatment as to terms and conditions in comparison with their colleagues in the workplace, unless they have been employed by the same employer for twelve weeks.
Supply teachers employed through an agency can not join the Teachers' Pension Scheme.
Pay and pensions
The basis for the payment of a supply teacher (other than for teachers engaged by an agency) should be the correct point on the relevant national salary scales. This is determined in the same way as for all other teachers, and supply teachers employed in this way have the same access to allowances, such as SEN allowances, threshold progression and the Teachers' Pension Scheme.
Supply teachers employed by an agency (not by the LA or school) are not covered by the provisions of these pay and conditions agreements. The agency will determine the pay rate for these teachers.
Supply teachers and the National Agreement
The national agreement emphasises the important role of supply teachers and the unique value of their contribution. The agreement created two new posts to cover short-term absences (as opposed to more long-term periods such as maternity cover): cover supervisor and higher level teaching assistant.
Only short-term cover is open for the extended roles, which the agreement says 'should not be used as the remedy for the medium or long-term absence of a qualified teacher'.
ATL continues to urge the Government to bring pressure on local authorities to re-establish pools of supply teachers available to schools with some of these being employed on a proper contractual basis.
Need further advice?
Your first point of contact is your ATL rep in your school or college. Your local ATL branch is also available to help with queries, or you can contact ATL's member advisors on tel: 020 7930 6441 or email us. Please have your membership number to hand when telephoning and include it with any correspondence - this will help us to answer your query more quickly.