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Supply teaching in Scotland: some insights from research Ian Menter RITeS Management and Advisory Group 27 January 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Supply teaching in Scotland: some insights from research Ian Menter RITeS Management and Advisory Group 27 January 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Supply teaching in Scotland: some insights from research Ian Menter RITeS Management and Advisory Group 27 January 2008

2 Outline Introduction: What are the issues? Findings from research in Scotland 2003 Findings from research in England 2005 What has changed in Scotland since 2003? Conclusions

3 What are the issues? Lack of permanent posts Supply teaching as a means of ‘getting in’ But it is temporary and may be uncertain May not count towards induction Conditions of work may vary Some teachers prefer it for lifestyle reasons and/or because they can choose where and when to work Some enjoy the variety and challenge

4 Findings from research in Scotland Scottish Executive Education Department commissioned a team led from the University of Paisley to undertake a study in 2002 (Menter, Holligan, Hutchings, Seagraves, Dalgety) Reported in January 2004 Publication available at Insight 12: The Management of Supply Cover in the Teaching Profession

5 Methodology Education authorities: questionnaires (n=32); interviews (17, n=22) Schools: questionnaires (n=431); interviews with school managers (20) Supply teachers: questionnaires (n=699); 3 panels met twice each; telephone interviews (n=20)

6 Findings Problems of definition: daily-paid; permanent; short-term; long- term Differing employment practices in different authorities: who hires supply teachers? Supply lists and their maintenance; employment rights Who are supply teachers?: a)beginning teachers; b)returners; c)ending teachers. 40 per cent pre-booked; 60 per cent short notice

7 Findings: the experiences of supply teachers Positive: Workload is less. Supply teaching is more rewarding as I work regularly in the same school. I know pupils well and they know me. I have gained a great deal of experience in a variety of subjects. Well paid. Undemanding compared to a permanent post. Choice – go to a school you like, or choice not to return if you don’t. Freedom – time to yourself if you don’t want to work on a particular day. Exposure – opportunity to see a variety of teaching methods, discipline etc. It fits in with child care. I don’t have to feel guilty if I take time off when my children are unwell. You can vary the amount of work you do. I attend the same schools regularly which enables me to feel a part of the staff and to be accepted by the same pupils as a regular visiting teacher familiar with the daily routine.

8 Findings: the experience of supply teachers Negative: Do not really get to know the children unless you are often in the same class. Cannot ‘bond’ with children. Very often children ‘play up’ with supply teachers to see how far they can go. Uncertainty. Insecurity…. I need a secure income. Some colleagues still think I get paid more in supply (I don’t). No sick-pay Can be quite stressful going to so many different schools and teaching many children with behaviour problems. Some schools do not treat you fairly and you are looked on as an outsider. Being expected to teach a class without any information or planning available.

9 Recommendations 1.A national framework 2.A code of practice 3.A national database 4.Permanent supply teachers 5.Reduce demand for STs 6.Monitoring and evaluation of impact of supply cover

10 Findings from research in England 2005 Department for Education and Skills commissioned a team led from London Metropolitan University in 2004 to undertake a study on The Recruitment, Deployment and Management of Supply Teachers (Hutchings, James, Maylor, Menter and Smart) Report published by DfES in 2006 (Research Report 738)

11 Findings from the English study Many of the experiences of English supply teachers are very similar to those of the Scottish in spite of the existence of clear guidance and a Quality Mark to govern the arrangements. Most of the supply teachers are employed and deployed through agencies rather than schools or local authorities. But there are more consistent systems for providing professional development for supply teachers.

12 What has changed in Scotland since 2003? The induction year has guaranteed newly qualified teachers one year of continuous employment. At the end of that year, many of those NQTs are entering supply work. Opportunities therefore continue to be limited. Has there been any improvement in organisation and support?

13 Conclusions 1.Supply teaching is still an important avenue for new teachers. 2.It has some benefits and will suit some teachers. 3.There are many challenges associated with supply teaching. 4.Schools, authorities, unions, GTCS should continue to be encouraged to ensure good organisation, conditions and support for supply teachers. Contact:


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