1. Do schools really value the contribution NQTs make?
Yes, most schools need supply teaching staff to help them cover their abscence. If you find an agency that has good relationships with their schools and prepares you well for the experience you will make a good impression. Schools will always value teaching staff that get on well in their school because you provide the continutity to their children when their normal teacher is away from school. Generally NQTs in the supply world are valued, looked after and appreciated by schools. Doing supply for a reputable agency will not hinder you but add great experience to your CV.
2. I’ve been for interviews in schools but not had much success?
When you join an education recruitment agency you will get your very own education consultant who should help you prepare for all your interviews. They will also cast a professional eye over your CV and covering letter. On top of that the good recruitment agencies should be able to get you a trial day in which you can try the school out before you commit.
3. I’m worried that supply is a lonely profession for NQTs?
Its not really, especially if you are in a long-term contract because the school will value you as much as one of their own staff. You will really enjoy meeting lots of different teachers and learning off each one of them. Aim to work with an agency that offers regular training sessions where you can meet other NQTs and keep up to date with your CPD.
4. Isn’t supply the last resort for NQTs who can't find a job?
Not really, many schools recruiting for a permanent role prefer trying an NQT on supply before offering them a contract. Supply means greater flexibility, you can benefit from being in the classroom without the responsibility of meetings, paperwork, preparing for tests, OFSTED etc.
5. I’m worried about what schools I will be teaching in?
Don't be. If you find a recruitment consultant who listens to what you want they should match the opportunities to your preferences. The more flexible you are the more work you will get but no one wants to teach in a school if they can't cope or do the best job possible. On top of that while you wait for the agency to find your ideal role they can keep you busy with day-to-day supply teaching, again choosing what schools you want to teach in. I know many newly qualified teachers who get a permanent job from a few days work they have done on supply!
6. Can I get my NQT induction year complet whilst doing supply in schools?
Yes. If you are placed in a school doing a long-term position you can ask your consultant to approach the school about doing your induction year. From September 2012 you can now work through an agency for 5 years, if after these 5 years you have still not started your induction year you will no longer be able to continue working for an agency. You can do your induction year at a maximum of 3 different schools (1 school for each term) or get it all done in one school.
We are regularly asked this question by students aspiring to be an NQT but struggling to gain experience to get onto a Initial Teacher Trainin course (ITT). A great way for students to gain work experience in schools is by working as a Cover Supervisor. This role is a bit like a teacher but instead of teaching the pupils you will oversea lessons that are already planned by the teacher.