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The Welsh Government recognises that supply teaching is an essential part of school life. It is vitally important that teachers who choose to work in this way are of the highest quality and are provided with the same opportunities as their colleagues in full time employment by doing this we not only support the individual teacher but aid learner outcomes in Wales.
Supply staff are entitled to access high quality resources through a variety of professional learning opportunities, and a range of networks to assist their teaching and to support their work. Supply staff should evidence the same commitment to professional learning as the Welsh Government sets out for all practitioners. The professional standards for teaching and leadership were published in September 2017 and complement the day to day work of teachers and support professional development.
The Welsh Government launched the National Approach to Professional Learning (NAPL) Programme in 2018 to help teachers deliver Wales’ new curriculum. The new national focus for professional learning can be delivered flexibly to not disrupt the school day.
As a supply teacher registered in Wales you can also access professional learning opportunities through the following routes:
- Professional Learning Passport
- Local professional learning opportunities and events via your Local Education Consortia, local authority or through your trade union. If you are working at a school you can ask to take part in their in-service provision
- Collaborative learning - Supply teaching offers the opportunity to learn from a wide range of teachers with different experiences and in different settings. Why not establish a Professional Learning Community?
- Academic study - The Welsh Government has developed a series of innovative e-learning packs available through Hwb. There are also a number of University programs available online that you can access
- Welsh language - The Welsh Government through the Sabbatical Scheme has developed specific training for practitioners who wish to teach through the medium of Welsh or wish to improve their Welsh-language skills
- Induction - Statutory induction has been a requirement for newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in Wales since September 2003. You can obtain information and support from your Regional Consortia. The EWC provide induction advice and support for short term supply teachers
National Supply pool for Wales
The Welsh Government committed to ‘develop options for a sustainable model of supply teaching with fair work at its heart’. The Minister for Education and Welsh Language agreed plans to procure and implement an online booking platform for all maintained schools and local authorities that want to employ supply staff directly.
The Welsh Government has partnered with Teacher Booker, an online platform, to create the National Supply Pool for Wales, providing you with direct supply work opportunities from schools and potential eligibility for the Teachers' Pension Scheme.
The National Supply Pool for Wales will be a staggered implementation across all LAs in Wales. It will start with one LA which we are in the process of implementing and eventually roll out across every LA in Wales. In the meantime, we are inviting supply staff to register on the platform to ensure that they have created their profile ready for when this platform is rolled out in their Local Authority area over the coming months.
The National Supply Pool for Wales:
- Supplies schools throughout Wales with the ability to book supply teachers and temporary workers directly through the platform.
- Enables Supply teachers to become part of a comprehensive network of supply staff accessible to schools across the country. Showcasing your skills, experience, and availability, increasing your chances of securing rewarding placements.
- Provides access to the Teachers Pension Scheme when working on supply Via the platform.
We encourage you to register for the National Supply Pool for Wales on the Teacher Booker platform to take advantage of these opportunities. By doing so, you can enjoy a simplified process for finding assignments, broader visibility to schools, and access to the Teachers' Pension Scheme. Register to sign up to the National Supply Pool for Wales.
Should you have any questions or require further information, please contact: email@example.com.
Hwb is a digital learning platform which hosts a national collection of digital tools and resources to support learning and teaching in Wales. All teachers and pupils in Welsh schools are able to enjoy the benefits of access to online resources anywhere, at any time and from a range of web-enabled devices. It also provides tools to help teachers create and share their own resources and assignments. Hwb has been developed in line with the following key principles:
- to support a national approach to planning and delivery
- to enable the sharing of skills, methods and resources between teachers in Wales
- to support teaching and learning in Welsh and English
- to offer equal access to free, classroom focused tools and resources for all teachers and learners in Wales
Hwb enables learners and teachers to access online resources anywhere, at any time, from a range of devices. It also provides tools to help teachers create and share their own resources and assignments. The collection includes:
- tools and resources created or commissioned by the Welsh Government and/or its agents
- tools and resources licensed or bought by the Welsh Government
- tools and resources made available by “trusted sources”
- resources created by teachers
Supply teacher Hwb accounts
All supply teachers are entitled to hold their own portable Supply Teacher Hwb account (which gives access to Office 365, and your own Hwb email address). To request a Supply teacher Hwb Account please fill in this form. For any further support, the Supply Teacher Hwb Team can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. For technical help and support please contact the central Hwb team on 0300 025 2525 or email@example.com. If you have any issues in a school please seek advice from the school’s digital champion.
There are currently over 900 supply teachers holding and using their own personal portable Hwb account, this is a positive step to ensuring all practitioners, however they are employed, have access to the same suite of resources.
To support the key principles of Hwb and to assist in enabling the sharing of skills, methods and resources between supply teachers the ‘Supply Teachers- Athrawon Cyflenwi’ Network has been established. This is a place for supply teachers to share best practice with each other as well as to discuss, collaborate and share resources with other supply teachers to support teaching and learning. If you hold a supply teacher Hwb account you will be eligible to access the network. If you have a supply teacher Hwb account and have not already done so please sign up to the ‘Supply Teachers- Athrawon Cyflenwi’ network, we would encourage you to do so.
There are a number of benefits to holding a Hwb account. Please share the availability of Supply Teacher Hwb accounts and the supply teachers Network with colleagues who work in supply by directing them to our sign up page.
By holding a Supply Teacher Hwb account you have agreed to abide by the terms and conditions of Hwb. Anything you do on Hwb must have an educational purpose. You should not regard any of your activity as private or confidential and you must comply with the following conditions:
- Be a positive role model for your students/learners in how you use digital technologies including Hwb.
- Keep your username and password safe. You are responsible for anything that happens under your account. Report to your Hwb administrator if you suspect that your username and password have been compromised.
- If you share external links within Hwb then you deem that the content of the external website is age appropriate and has an educational purpose. For example Youtube.
- You may not access, distribute or place on Hwb material that is in breach of the statutory rights of copyright owners.
- Protect the school community by reporting anything you see that might cause upset or harm to yourself, other teachers or learners in the school. You are expected to demonstrate a professional approach and respect for pupils and their families and for colleagues and the school whilst online.
- Creation or transmission of any offensive, obscene or indecent images, data or other material is prohibited. Content relating to or supporting illegal activities may be reported to the authorities.
- Personal use of your mailbox and cloud storage is to be avoided. Emails may be monitored by Welsh Government.
Access to Hwb is at the discretion of Welsh Government and unacceptable use (as highlighted but not limited to that above) may result in your log-in being suspended or revoked. You may also be subject to disciplinary actions in accordance with your organisation’s Disciplinary Policy.
Supply Teacher Hwb accounts now have access to Google for Education.
The Welsh Government’s newsletter, Dysg, is a resource that provides the latest information on upcoming training and events, as well as other information on developments within the education sector in Wales. Subscribe to Dysg here.
Employment of supply teachers
In Wales supply teachers are employed in a number of ways. Under the local management of schools framework as outlined in the Staffing of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2006 schools are responsible for making decisions about how they organise, recruit, deploy and manage an effective school workforce. This means the arrangements currently in place for deploying supply teachers differ markedly across Wales depending on local needs, geographical constraints, and language and subject requirements. These decisions reflect the school’s individual circumstances and resources and priorities as identified in their School Development Plan (SDP).
Schools are free to engage qualified supply teachers from wherever they feel is appropriate to meet the needs of the school. This can include direct employment models, using a supernumerary or floating teacher, collaborating with other schools to share resources, or using a commercial supply agency. The National Procurement Service (NPS) Framework Agreement for Agency Workers was developed to help schools recruit temporary staff through a national framework for Wales which provides fairer pay and conditions for agency supply teachers, professional development opportunities and assurances to schools that agencies have met the minimum agreed requirements. The revised Framework, which has been in effect since September 2019, operates on a geographical lot basis and is managed by the National Procurement Service.
View details of the New Framework agreement below.
There are a range of commercial supply agencies operating in Wales and the effective management of school workforce attendance Guidance outlines the minimum criteria that schools, and therefore supply teachers, should expect from the ones that they use. When schools use supply agencies the private sector agency is the employer and are responsible for setting the terms of employment. Ultimately, decisions around how to ensure an effective workforce is in place rest with maintained schools but there is an expectation that LAs and schools and supply teachers will use approved agencies.
We would encourage all supply teachers that are considering entering into employment with a commercial supply agency to read and understand the terms of any contract they sign. This should clearly set out the terms of the booking and the pay rate. If the employment is through a Framework agency, the pay rate for a supply teacher booking (which requires QTS) should be at least the minimum of the teachers’ main pay scale (M2) as specified in the STPC(Wales)D. If you are a member of a trade union, they will be able to provide you with advice on supply agency contracts. The National Procurement Framework contract is in place to ensure fair pay and conditions for supply teachers; we would advise supply teachers to take this into consideration when choosing employment with commercial supply agencies.
View Welsh Government guidance on who can work as a supply teacher and how schools should support them.
The Code of Practice – Ethical Employment in Supply Chains has been established to help ensure workers in public sector supply chains in Wales are employed in a fair and ethical way. The scope of the Code of Practice covers procurement, supplier selection, tendering, contract management and supplier management.
New Supply Agency Framework
A new agency framework will be in effect from September 2023. As with previous arrangements, the aim of the Welsh Government Corporate Procurement (WGCP) Supply Agency Framework Agreement is to help schools recruit temporary staff through a national framework for Wales which provides fairer pay and conditions for agency supply teachers, professional development opportunities and assurances to schools that agencies have met the minimum agreed requirements. The revised framework will continue to operate on a geographical lot basis and be managed by the Welsh Government’s Corporate Procurement (WGCP) Service.
The geographical/local authority lot approach provides schools with a greater degree of choice of supply agencies; enables transparency in terms of the fees payable by schools to help them to maximise the use of their delegated staffing budgets; and protects supply teachers whilst ensuring that minimum quality standards and statutory safeguarding obligations are met by all agencies operating under the framework.
There are 41 approved agencies on the framework, covering English and Welsh-medium schools. To ensure that there is sufficient provision to meet schools’ needs, there are a minimum of 14 approved agencies within each local authority. A full list of agencies included within the framework, and which areas they operate in, is available below.
Schools that choose to meet their supply teacher needs via agencies should continue to use agencies on the framework that have met the specified requirements. This includes registering with a representative professional recruitment body and signing up to the Welsh Government’s Code of Practice on Ethical Employment in Supply Chains and our Fair Work principles.
The WGCP Supply Agency framework for 2023 - 2027:
- maintains requirements to ensure all qualifications, suitability and DBS checks have been made. (Schools must continue to be aware of their statutory safeguarding responsibilities).
- requires all agencies to provide evidence of their process to ensure compliance with the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) 2010. (Agencies are regulated by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and are subject to all relevant employment legislation including the Employment Agencies Act 1973 and Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations).
- requires all agencies to be a member of a relevant professional recruitment body (REC, APSCo or Standards in Recruitment) and to sign up to SaferJobs/JobsAware.
- requires agencies to work within the Code of Practice for Ethical Employment in Supply Chains and our wider Fair Work principles.
- requires agencies to pay a minimum daily pay rate for supply teachers; to match the latest published School Teacher’s Pay and Conditions (Wales) Document (STPC(W)D) for Wales. There is nothing to prevent schools/agencies paying higher daily rates if appropriate. This rate will be based on the current minimum pay rate of the teachers’ main pay scale as set out in the STPC(W)D. The daily rate is calculated by dividing M2 by the number of contracted working days as set out in the STPC(W)D. This is normally 195 days per year.
- requires all agencies to publish their daily fees so that schools and local authorities are clear on how they are spending public money in terms of how much goes to the teacher and how much to the agency to cover their costs.
- requires all agencies to provide a full breakdown of the invoice cost to the school for each booking.
- requires all agencies to be transparent by publishing their temporary to permanent fees when a school takes on a teacher on a permanent basis. The specification includes a sliding scale depending on how long the teacher has been placed at the school.
- requires all agencies to offer relevant professional learning for employees and to ensure that appropriate support is given to all newly qualified teachers to enable them to meet induction requirements.
Your rights as an agency worker - Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and JobsAware
You’re an agency worker if you have a contract with an agency but you work temporarily for a hirer. As a supply teacher you are likely to be an agency worker. Agencies can include recruitment agencies, for example ‘temp agencies’.
The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) is based within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). They protect the rights of agency workers by ensuring that employment agencies and businesses treat their workers fairly. To fully understand your rights as an agency worker please see here. You can contact the EAS to make a complaint about pay and work rights.
Additional support for Agency Workers is available through the JobsAware website.
For additional advice on who can work as a supply teacher and how schools should support them see Welsh Government guidance.
Effective management of school workforce attendance
Effective management of school workforce attendance was first published in December 2017. The guidance is for local authorities, governors, headteachers, regional consortia and those responsible for staff management in schools, however, school staff, supply staff and commercial supply agencies may also find this document useful.
With the Curriculum for Wales, the whole approach to developing children and young people aged 3 to 16 will change. The Curriculum for Wales Framework requires each school develop its own curriculum, enabling their learners to develop towards the four purposes of the curriculum – the starting point and aspiration for every child and young person in Wales. Details of the new Curriculum for Wales and what this means for schools and practitioners can be found on Curriculum for Wales - Hwb. Supply staff should familiarise themselves with the new approach and how schools are developing and preparing for their new curriculum.
Education Workforce Council
The Education Workforce Council (EWC) is the independent regulator in Wales for teachers in maintained schools, Further Education teachers and learning support staff in school and FE settings, as well as youth workers and people involved in work-based learning.
All teachers have ‘around the clock’ access to the support provided by Education Support. ES supports all staff at any stage of their career as well as their families and dependents. It offers a range of services including coaching, counselling, financial advice, availability of grants and signposting to other supportive organisations.
A bespoke package of support has been made available for school staff in Wales through the ‘Well-being in Wales’ project. Further information on the type of support available and how it can be accessed is available.
Safeguarding is preventing and protecting children from abuse, neglect or other kinds of harm, and educating those around them to recognise the signs and dangers. Everyone working in an education setting, whether employed by the local authority or otherwise, who comes into contact with children and their families has a role in safeguarding children. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. All organisations that come into contact with children need to make sure that the way they work keeps them safe.The Welsh Government statutory guidance 'Keeping learners safe' 2021, and the easy read version, provide advice on employers’ duties with regard to safeguarding. This includes guidance within a supply context. The Wales Safeguarding Procedures support individuals and agencies across Wales to understand their roles and responsibilities in keeping children and adults safe.
The Welsh Government Keeping Learners Safe suite of e-learning modules are available to support all staff in understanding their safeguarding responsibilities and to empower all education practitioners and governors with a sound introduction to safeguarding and online safety and how this impacts on safeguarding learners. Each module consists of one playlist; the Online Safety Zone on Hwb has been designed and developed to support online safety in education across Wales. It provides an extensive suite of up-to-date bilingual resources, Welsh Government guidance and links to further sources of support on a range of online safety issues.
The Welsh Government continues to provide advice to schools and supply agencies, on who can work as supply teachers for absence cover and to promote the issue of safeguarding within this context, highlighting its importance and relevance. Employing and supporting supply teachers in a school environment offers advice to supply teachers, schools and supply agencies.
School-based Supply Cluster Pilot
Following the Supply Model Taskforce review the Supply Cluster Model was established to provide schools with an alternative way of recruiting supply cover and to improve the way supply teachers support schools. £2.7m was made available to 15 local authorities to create new supply teacher arrangements by employing supernumerary teachers to work across clusters of schools, covering teacher absence and supporting wider school improvements and learner outcomes. The pilot project ran during the 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020 academic years and concluded in July 2020.
An evaluation of the project highlighted how various different cluster models benefitted schools and helped them to manage both planned and unplanned teacher absence more effectively and efficiently. The report of the supply/supernumerary pilot highlights a range of positive outcomes for the schools that took part in the pilot – ranging across a number of areas, including: teaching and learning; pupil behaviour, professional development, wider school improvement, support for supply teachers and consistency of teaching and learning.
The independent evaluation shows the range of areas where schools have benefitted from the model, including providing support for them to plan for the new curriculum, and improved collaboration and sharing of best practice across cluster schools.
Welsh Government would encourage local authorities and schools, as the employers of teachers, to consider this as an alternative way of managing their supply cover needs. Best practice case studies can be viewed below.