Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner, this week announced plans for a Labour government to save cash strapped schools over half a billion pounds a year through a major shake-up of the supply teacher system.
Proposals include the introduction of a new national Substitute Teacher Register as well as plans to examine the feasibility of setting up a state supply agency and whether further regulation of supply teacher fees is needed to put an end to ‘exorbitant and escalating’ costs.
Commenting on the announcement, Baljinder Kuller, who has over 15 years’ experience in education recruitment, and is now Managing Director of online supply teacher portal, The Supply Register, said:
“The idea of a National Substitute Teacher Register is, in theory, a perfect solution to rectifying spiralling agency spend, and we welcome Labour’s intentions. However, while this system has worked successfully in Northern Ireland for many years, in England and Wales the market is very different. In Northern Ireland there is an abundance of talent and a shortage of jobs. Here, the reverse is true.
“While local authorities have managed education recruitment regionally in the past, reduced budgets mean that the majority are now unable to fund these services. And although the idea of a state supply agency is also an admirable suggestion, it would require a huge amount of investment to not only establish, but also manage in terms of compliance to ensure that teachers are deployed safely and reliably. In principle it’s a great idea, whether it’s logistically feasible is another matter.