Baljinder Kuller, managing director of online supply teacher portal, The Supply Register has reacted to announcements from Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner, this week concerning a Labour government’s move to save cash strapped schools over half a billion pounds a year through a major shake-up of the supply teacher system. Among Rayner’s proposals were the introduction of a new national Substitute Teacher Register as well as plans to examine the feasibility of setting up a state supply agency. She also suggested there should be further regulation of supply teacher fees to put an end to ‘exorbitant and escalating’ costs.
“The idea of a National Substitute Teacher Register is, in theory, a perfect solution to rectifying spiralling agency spend, and we welcome Labour’s intentions,” said Kuller, who has over 15 years’ experience in education recruitment. “However, while this system has worked successfully in Northern Ireland for many years, in England and Wales the market is very different. In Northern Ireland there is an abundance of talent and a shortage of jobs. Here, the reverse is true.
“While local authorities have managed education recruitment regionally in the past, reduced budgets mean that the majority are now unable to fund these services,” she added, “and although the idea of a state supply agency is also an admirable suggestion, it would require a huge amount of investment to not only establish, but also manage in terms of compliance to ensure that teachers are deployed safely and reliably. In principle it’s a great idea, whether it’s logistically feasible is another matter.”
Kuller said they would welcome further regulation of supply teacher fees to stop the escalating costs seen in the industry in recent years. “Pay is inextricably linked with successful teaching and remuneration is often the deciding factor for teachers moving jobs,” said Kuller. “Until the government mandates a pay structure for professionals across all schools and local authorities, teachers will continue to switch roles to get a better deal, which will only heighten movement and reduce retention.”
According to Kuller The Supply Register is already making inroads in ensuring that teachers are getting paid a decent rate. In addition, Kuller says, advancements in technology have enabled the company to deliver a viable alternative to the current supply teacher recruitment model.