Supporting Primary Supply Teachers – How schools can help ensure an effective day for all

As a specialist primary agency working with just primary schools in East Hertfordshire and Epping Forest, we work with many primary supply teachers and primary schools.   We are passionate about this being successful for all parties concerned; both teacher and school are happy and learning is continued in a class teacher’s absence.

We are proud of and appreciate the hard work that all our teachers do; it’s not always easy to step into an unknown school, unknown class, follow plans written by someone else, use formative assessment and mark books without knowledge of the children.  However, this is what they do and sometimes without any or little support given by a school.  So, what can schools do to help ensure that the day runs smoothly?

  1. Make them feel welcome – Our supply teachers in Essex and Hertfordshire are professional primary teachers that choose, for various reasons, to work on a primary supply basis. Greeting them with a smile goes a long way to making them feel comfortable.  Many a teacher has said that the Head Teacher did not acknowledge them but when this does happen it makes for a much happier day.

Show them basic things like where the toilets and staff room are and how to use the photocopier.

  1. Provide Key Information – some schools provide a supply teacher induction pack. If you do not have this, then provide them with information such as:
  • Timetable for the day
  • Fire exit routes in case of emergency
  • Behaviour policy
  • Marking policy
  • SEN information that is essential they know for children in the class they are covering
  • Computer logins – most important as nothing more frustrating for a supply teacher when they can’t access planning or resources needed
  1. Planning and the Classroom –If the teacher is new to you please show them where the classroom is and where books etc are kept.

A seating plan is always useful as some pupils will seat in different places knowing the supply teacher will not know!

Always helpful if the class teacher can run through the planning with them.  If not, have the plans left in clear view for the supply teacher to find.

  1. Feedback – we all like to receive feedback and to know the work we do is appreciated. A simple thank you to the supply teacher will be appreciated by them.  If you are exceptionally pleased with the supply teacher, please let us know as we always pass this on to them.

Some primary schools in Essex and Hertfordshire give supply teachers feedback forms to complete about how the teacher has found teaching in the school.  This has proved helpful to schools in ensuring that both school and supply teacher have an enjoyable day.