The government has insisted the number and quality of teachers in England is at an all-time high, with the overall vacancy rate standing at just 0.3 per cent.
Research by BBC News found that primary and secondary schools in England spent £821 million on supply staff last year.
Figures also showed that the equivalent of £168 was spent on each pupil to hire in extra staff to cover absences and vacancies.
The Department for Education (DfE) has responded by stressing that the overall teacher vacancy rate has remained around or below the one per cent mark for the last 15 years.
Furthermore, a spokesman said the number and quality of teachers is "at a record high", with over 1,000 more graduates training to teach secondary subjects now than 12 months ago.
The DfE official went on to point out that supply teachers are a vital resource for schools across the country.
"Supply teachers provide a valuable role for schools, and schools themselves are best placed to make staffing decisions to reflect their individual needs," he commented.
"It is up to head teachers and governors to decide who is required for the job and this includes how best to cover absences."
Spending on supply teachers was highest in London, with £212 million going towards bringing in extra staff last year. This works out to £260 per child.
The capital was followed by Yorkshire and Humberside, where the figure was £161 per pupil. Meanwhile, schools in the West Midlands spent £160 per child to bring in supply staff.