Union claims supply teacher agencies are profiteering

The
National Association of Head Teachers says agencies that supply temporary
teachers to schools are profiteering after a survey shows charges have
increased by 40 per cent in a year.

The
survey revealed that most schools are being charged the daily rate of £150 to
£200 per day for agency staff  – up from
£100 to £150 a year ago. The NAHT said the increase is straining school
budgets.

The
survey found that during the 2000/2001 school year, the majority of schools
spent over £10,000 a year on supply teachers. A substantial number were
spending anything between £20,000 and £50,000 a year and in 10 cases over
£100,000 a year.

But,
during the first 19 weeks of the current school year, many of the schools
surveyed had already spent over £10,000. Some had spent anything between
£30,000 and £90,000. Just under 10 schools had even incurred additional costs
of more than £100,000.

Also,
30 per cent of schools said they were not confident that the teachers provided
would have Qualified Teacher Status. And 35 per cent said they were not
confident the supply teachers would be competent in the subjects or the age
ranges required.

David
Hart, general secretary NAHT, says: "NAHT’s survey reveals an appalling
situation. Supply teacher agencies are profiteering and costing schools a
fortune in the process. The position is deteriorating fast, fuelled by the
recruitment and retention crisis affecting many schools.

"Heads
are also critical of the service given by the agencies. Too many supply staff
do not have qualified status, are not competent in the subjects or the age
ranges required, or are not familiar with the national curriculum. Desperate
measures are being taken to put ‘bodies in front of classes’ to avoid sending
pupils home. The NAHT is calling on the Secretaries of State for Trade and
Industry and Education and Skills to launch an urgent inquiry into the way
supply teacher agencies operate."

By Quentin Reade

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