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Supply teaching from September: What can we expect?


Despite several months of uncertainty, the education system is poised to return to a new normal where supply teachers and teaching assistants are being welcomed back to the classroom. The government is determined to see all students back for the start of the academic year and get them on track with the curriculum, which will be welcome news for the many support staff who have missed doing the job that they love.

Here’s what supply teachers can expect from the return to teaching in September and how a supply teaching agency can help. 


teacher with students in classroom

How supply teaching has changed

Supply teaching means providing help to the schools where it’s most needed and that hasn’t changed in light of coronavirus. In fact, the education system may become increasingly dependent on these support workers and teaching assistants as schools head towards a new way of teaching. With schools planning to open their doors to all pupils in September, the teaching community can now begin to prepare for their return by starting with what has changed.

The Department for Education (DfE) has emphasised that the time away from the classroom will have severely impacted some students’ ‘cognitive and academic’ development so you’ll be helping students with learning loss. Since this will be a very confusing and unsettling time, supply teachers may also need to help pupils with stress and anxiety or encourage them to speak to someone about their challenges.

What going back to school means

In their guidance for opening schools, the DfE has announced that supply teachers and other temporary teaching staff can move between schools as long as these educational workers observe a minimum distance between staff and pupils. This decision has not been made lightly since one of the main focuses has always been to limit the risk of transmission, but the choice is one of the many steps intended to help the education system establish a new normal and help supply teachers to return to work. 

The Test and Trace method will become a key factor in monitoring the transmission within schools and to ensure that the learning environment remains safe. Where the virus can be traced to a student or teacher this will lead to year groups being sent home, and schools are required to have contingency plans in place should they need to partially close and return to online teaching.

Other measures are being brought in to reduce the movement of pupils around classrooms, and some schools will look to teach pupils in ‘bubbles’ so that there are lower risks of transmission.

Additionally, school administrators and teaching staff have received hygiene guidelines that will help to prevent an outbreak. These include enforcing regular hand washing at designated sanitation stations, more frequent cleaning of shared areas, decontamination protocols and waste management procedures. 

How to prepare for the return

If you’ve had some time away from the classroom it’s understandable to feel nervous about returning, particularly if you’re concerned about your health or financial support. Education Support is a UK charity focused on improving the health and wellbeing of teachers and they’ve collated this information pack for supply teachers to help support educational staff through the pandemic.

While your role is to support others it’s essential to know how to manage your wellbeing as a supply teacher, which includes finding the time to do things that you enjoy. Supply teaching remains a great way to teach in the classroom whilst also leaving you time to spend pursuing other hobbies or commitments.

Working with an agency

82% of supply teachers find work through a supply teaching agency and in the coming months these agencies will prove to be an essential contact for teachers, but what should you look for and how do you choose the right supply teacher agency for you?

While supply teachers value having time off between jobs, those who want more consistent work really benefit from an agency’s ability to find short notice contracts. What’s more, agencies can be a helpful source of information regarding legislation and accreditation changes. Job seeking can be a time-consuming task but a good supply teaching agency will take on this role and leave you with more time to focus on teaching. They’ll take the time to understand your career goals and find jobs that align with these whilst providing you with all the tools and resources you need to progress.

Register for supply teaching jobs with Teaching Personnel

Register today and we’ll help you every step of the way, right from getting your safeguarding clearance to your first day back in the classroom. Our consultants are committed to understanding your needs and finding the supply teaching job that is right for you. Still looking for more information? Find out why teachers work with Teaching Personnel.

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