New agencies for the provision of supply teachers
The government’s buying department, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), is creating a new national framework for the provision of supply teachers.
Amid growing concerns about a nationwide teacher shortage, the government wants a better deal for temporary staff and the schools that recruit them.
Working with the Department for Education (DfE), the CCS is finalising a new agreement that will cover all temporary and fixed term teaching and non-teaching roles.
This includes unqualified teaching assistants, cover supervisors, supply teachers and head teachers as well as non-classroom personnel like clerical workers and cleaners.
To justify the new framework, CSS highlighted school spending figures on supply staff.
Nationally, school spending on temporary staff increased by 35% from £918 million in 2011/12 to £1.2 billion in 2014/15.
As the teacher shortage problem has got worse, local authority supply pools have been worn down and a large portion of this increase in spending has been driven by private agency costs.
The plan to tackle this is still in consultation, but it is believed that the CCS will implement a network of agencies that offer supply staff at a set rate and demonstrate that they follow appropriate recruitment standards in the education sector.
One of the quality standards that will be recognised by the DfE is the Association of Professional Staffing Companies’ (APSCo) Compliance+ standard.
This best practice quality standard for education and social work recruitment businesses was launched in 2014 and differs from normal standards in a number of important ways. For example:
- Safeguarding goes over and above the statutory requirement. Recruiters have to check ten years of a candidate’s employment history instead of the mandatory seven years.
- Where a candidate has lived or worked overseas during the last five years for six months or more, the recruiter must perform an overseas police check. The statutory minimum is two years.
- Recruiters have to perform annual audits of systems
- Recruiters have to perform value-based interviews, conducted by trained individuals.
- Recruiters have to perform post-placement evaluations to better ensure that candidates find themselves in the right environments.
- Professional development is offered to candidates.
The government consultation on the issues raised above will close soon. If you want to have your say then you can email questions and comments to the Supply Teachers inbox at: firstname.lastname@example.org