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How to choose the right supply teacher agency for you


With some pupils already back at school and more due to return soon teachers across the United Kingdom are gearing up to get back to the classroom. For many supply teachers, this will be a welcome development as they have encountered a variety of challenges during the lockdown months, from unclear furlough guidelines through to the sudden adoption of online teaching.

If you’re a supply teacher preparing to get back to work, now might be the perfect time to think about your supply teacher agency. If you’re not sure whether you need one – or perhaps you’re considering a change – our guide to choosing the right supply teacher agency should help.

supply teacher sitting with students in a classroom

Understanding why you should work with a supply teacher agency

There are many reasons supply teachers do what they do. The main motivators for supply teaching include a reduced workload, more flexible work pattern and preparing for a permanent post. And while it’s not essential to be signed up with a supply teacher agency, many education professionals find agencies to be extremely helpful in finding regular work.

In fact, the number of supply teachers who obtain their work either solely or predominantly through agencies has risen year on year, with 82% of supply teachers mainly working via agencies in 2019. Agencies do the job hunting for supply teachers, communicating offers between schools and teachers and ensuring the relationship runs smoothly. Agencies typically have access to a larger number of vacancies than teachers would be able to find on their own, thanks to established relationships with schools, and can make the process of finding a supply teaching job much less stressful.

Decide which supply teacher agency suits you

When supply teachers are asked by the NEU Supply Teacher Survey Report which agency they used, the most popular agency has been Teaching Personnel every year since 2014. But don’t just take their word for it; know what to look for in your next supply teacher agency:


Look for an agency that specialises in education recruitment and has a strong focus on supply teaching. Ideally, your agency will have a deep knowledge of the education sector in the UK and will know the ins and outs of supply work, as well as keeping you updated on any legislation or accreditation changes. Indicators of quality include how long an agency has been around, how many schools they work with and how many teachers they place.


You will also want to look for an agency that offers plenty of choice. This includes different branches and jobs across many different schools, areas and age groups, whether that’s primary or secondary teaching or SEND work. The more access your agency has to different roles, the more likely you are to be presented with supply jobs that suit your needs. This is particularly important when factoring in your transport options; by partnering with an agency that has access to more jobs in more places, you’re increasing your chances of finding a local school.


Personal recommendations are one of the best ways to find a reputable agency. Ask other supply teachers in your area which agency they work with or read feedback online to help get an idea of what to expect. Then meet your recruiter in person (or via phone or video call, such is the case in the current climate) to get a feel for them yourself.


A good supply teaching agency will not only match you to jobs – they'll also help to guide your career and provide you with valuable resources along the way. This includes advice on things like renewing your DBS check or changes to national standards and curriculum. Continuing professional development is another big plus point. A good agency will offer access to tools and courses to help you keep driving your career forward. It should also be as efficient as possible and some agencies have online services that make managing your work with them very simple. Finally, as we are in unprecedented times, you should also consider how the agency you choose has supported its candidates during lockdown.

Let Teaching Personnel find your next supply teaching job

At Teaching Personnel, we have access to roles in schools all over the country. We are the supply teaching provider of choice for thousands of schools and job seekers and pride ourselves on our deep knowledge of the education industry as well as our high levels of candidate care. Find out why teachers work with us. Register for supply work with Teaching Personnel today.

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