Supply Teaching - Could It Be Right For You?

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Supply Teachers make up a vital cog in the education system. They provide short- or long-term cover for schools as and when required.

People can have differing reasons for wanting to work in supply. For some it’s a first step into the world of teaching, providing experience and knowledge that will serve them well in their future career. For others it provides a flexible, less stressful alternative to permanent teaching work.

Supply teachers are generally signed up to agencies, like us, who act as a liaison between school and teacher to fill requirements. Supply work can cover a day, a week, or even a term – or longer – depending on what the school needs.

Here, we look at the some of the benefits – and drawbacks – of working as a supply teacher.  

Benefits of Supply Work


Supply work offers a level of flexibility that can’t be found in permanent roles. Generally, teachers would have to adhere to term time working hours, getting holiday only during half term breaks, Christmas, Easter and in the summer. For supply teachers there is much more freedom. If they have a day in the diary where they can’t work, they simply don’t!

Supply teachers can base their job around their personal life, a benefit that permanent teachers are unable to experience.

Work-life balance

Supply teaching also offers a substantial improvement to the work-life balance of a teacher. It is a commonly accepted issue that workloads and work-life balance are putting many off teaching. We covered this topic in an earlier blog. Supply teaching, however, doesn’t present this challenge. As opposed to spending time out of hours carrying out unpaid planning and marking, supply teachers will generally turn up and follow set lesson plans. There is little to no administrative work involved and supply teachers will normally be out the door by 3.30-4pm.

This is a big attraction for many who go into supply teaching.


For some, the variety of supply teaching is a major draw. Permanent teachers could remain in the same school for years – even decades in some cases. Of course, this provides them with massive security and familiarity. However, for many, being able to work in a range of different environments, meeting different teachers and different students, is an extremely attractive proposition.

Every day can be different in supply work. For some this could be daunting, for others it instils excitement.

Gaining experience

For many NQTs, supply work is an opportunity to gain experience in schools prior to attaining a permanent role. It offers the chance to work in various schools, across different ages and subjects, whilst filling up a newly qualified teacher’s CV. It is also a chance to experience different schools in the area and build relationships within them, standing them in good stead for their permanent job search.


Supply teaching may be right for some, but not for others. Given the temporary nature of the work, you can never be guaranteed a day’s work when you need it. This lack of job security can present a challenge to many, especially those with dependants and regular outgoings. There is also no routine and supply teachers – apart from those on long term placements – will be unable to work closely with the kids over a significant length of time, something which many teachers place great importance upon.

Many teachers value the security of a long-term permanent role in which you can form relationships and connect with other teachers and pupils. However, for others, the flexibility and reduced workload of supply work is more important.

If you are considering supply work and would like to know more about how we work with schools to provide supply teachers, please get in contact with your nearest office.

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