Teacher shortage sees schools spend £733m on supply agencies, says NUT

Schools have spent nearly a quarter of a billion pounds on teacher supply agencies due to teacher shortages, classroom leaders have warned.

According to the NUT, schools in England were forced to pay £733 million to supply agencies last year, leading to the union to claim such companies were making “huge profits” out of the teacher supply crisis.

A survey undertaken by the union shows that supply teachers are often paid less by agencies and are not entitled to sick pay, maternity pay or teacher pensions.

It claims the money that should be spent on children’s education and not on companies’ profits.

Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, said: “Supply teacher agencies are making millions while supply teachers’ pay continues to plummet. Schools are being charged huge fees by agencies, but this is money which should be used for children’s education, not going towards boosting the profits of private companies.

“The NUT is calling for new systems for sourcing supply teachers, which would save schools money while paying supply teachers fairly as well.”

The survey was published to coincide with the launch of a new teacher recruitment drive by the Department for Education, which states that 35,000 trainees need to be recruited each year.

The NUT’s campaign was backed by the shadow education secretary Lucy Powell, who said schools were becoming increasingly “desperate” to fill their roles in the face of growing teacher shortages.

“With the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicting that school budgets will fall per pupil for the first time since the mid-1990s, ministers need to take real action to recruit and retain teachers in sufficient numbers to tackle the crisis in schools which is threatening standards,” Ms Powell said.

The parent company of TES, TESGlobal, owns teacher supply agency Vision for Education.

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