Opinion Former Article

National regulation needed for supply teacher agencies

National standards to regulate supply teacher agencies are urgently needed in order to stem the exploitation of staff and the cost to the taxpayer, the Annual Conference of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, heard today in Manchester.

Supply teachers are being exposed to a raft of exploitative employment practices, including denial of entitlements on pay, pensions and working conditions. Many have also told the NASUWT that they have been forced to sign up to umbrella companies which allow agencies to dodge their tax and national insurance liabilities.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“The NASUWT has long had serious concerns about the employment practices of some supply agencies, including the exploitative and unfair treatment that many are subjecting supply teachers to regarding their pay and working conditions.

“There are also serious questions about the fees agencies are charging schools and whether these represent the true cost of supplying temporary staff. The increasing costs being levied on schools are not as a result of agencies paying supply teachers a premium or even paying them fairly.

“The Government’s failure to regulate employment agencies and umbrella companies is allowing unscrupulous providers to profiteer from children’s education.

“The NASUWT will be continuing to campaign for national standards to be introduced to regulate supply agencies so that schools, teachers and the taxpayer get a fair deal.”


NASUWT Press Office contacts:
Ben Padley 07785 463 119
Lena Davies 07867 392 746
Simon Houltby 07920 711 069

Notes to editors
The NASUWT’s Annual Conference is being held at Manchester Central from 14-17 April.

The full text of the motion is below:

Mike Parsons to move,
Hilary Jackson to second:
Conference condemns the devaluation and exploitation of supply teachers who are being victimised, penalised and robbed of pension rights and sick pay entitlement and made to pay exploitative payroll charges by umbrella companies.
Conference calls upon the National Executive to continue to campaign for models across the UK which guarantee for supply teachers:
(i) national pay and conditions;
(ii) access to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and
(iii) access to professional development.
Conference further calls upon the National Executive to investigate the cost to the public purse of providing supply cover through private agencies.
(Birmingham, Cardiff, Devon, Leeds)
Russ Walters to move,
Nick Trier to second:
In the second paragraph:
after ‘teachers’ add ‘appropriate’

Lena Davies
Press & Media Officer
0121 457 6250/07867 392746

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