A survey conducted by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has found up to 78 per cent of school staff said that they’re having to stand in for qualified teachers – on top of covering their existing demands – due to budget cuts. This represents a 14 per cent increase year-on-year. The survey, which polled 1,000 members working as support staff, found the majority are being asked to take on responsibilities normally held by teachers, as the country faces a shortage of teaching staff.
Baljinder Kuller, managing director of online supply teacher portal, The Supply Register said: “At a time when budget cuts and talent shortages are close to crippling the education sector, it is no surprise that schools are calling on teaching assistants and librarians to ensure that classes are covered.
“The fact that this practice has increased year-on-year can no doubt be attributed to the rising costs typically associated with bringing on board supply teachers,” she continued. “The crux of the matter is that, for many UK schools, it is simply too expensive to replace staff who leave by hiring short-term supply teachers. Schools in England often spend over £800 million on supply staff annually.”
Kuller adds that education leaders who fear they may be jeopardising pupil attainment by using support staff to plug teacher shortages may benefit from reviewing their current recruitment processes to bring on board suitably qualified staff without blowing the budget. In essence this could mean creating a local bank of supply staff, perhaps in conjunction with other local schools, reviewing their careers page to attract candidates directly or negotiating with their current agency on price.