8 simple things to keep the supply teaching work flooding in

As a recruitment agency it’s our job to get you as much work as you want – but it’s also your job to make brilliant first and lasting impressions, so that schools request you back time and time again. To help you gain the most out of every opportunity we have put together this handy step-by- step guide. It gives you tips to help you prepare and organise yourself and also summarises the expectations we have of you as a PK Education worker.

1. Stay in touch

It’s important to keep in constant contact with your consultant, letting us know your availability. So try to call us at 7:00am and after school every day. If we know when you’re available, then we can fill your time with bookings – and it keeps you front of mind.

2. Always honour a booking

If you accept a booking, please make sure you honour the commitment. Schools don’t like being let down last minute as this can affect staffing levels and pupils – and reflects badly on us all. Only accept bookings you can realistically complete them. Once you’ve accepted a booking we expect you to stand by your commitment

We’ll always try to give you as much notice on booking – but sometimes we won’t know about the job until that morning. Once you’ve accepted a placement, your consultant will provide the following information:

  • The name and address of the school
  • Provide honest information about the school
  • The name of the contact person at the school
  • The age group and any special details about the class
  • Any work that needs to planned or brought with you to the school
  • The length of the assignment
  • The public transport options or helpful driving/parking instructions
  • How long it will take to get there

If you’re unable to attend a booking due to sickness you must call the office by 7.00am so we can advise the school and try to find a replacement.

If you’re unable to attend a booking due to sickness you must call the office by 7.00am so we can advise the school and try to find a replacement.

3. Dress appropriately

Smart / casual is a pretty vague term but we all know what it means – no jeans or trainers please, unless advised otherwise. Support, Special Needs and Nursery Workers will always be advised of the correct dress code on confirmation of booking.

4. Be prepared

Whether you’re booked on the day or pre-booked please ensure that you:

  • Prepare any work and resources required and plan how to get to your assignment
  • Always have a charged mobile phone on you with sufficient credit to call us if you need us
  • Always have means of payment for travel and take small change for parking or lunch
  • Take your DBS & Photo ID such as your passport or driving licence (or you could be turned away from the school)
  • If you’re teaching remember to take a PK Handover Sheet
  • Take trainers if you’re teaching PE or you will be outside

5. Don’t be late

Being late to a school always reflects badly and does not create a good first impression – aim to be at a school by 8.15am unless otherwise advised. Although your consultant will give you as much information as possible, it’s your responsibility to ensure you know how to get to the school and you arrive on time. It’s useful to keep an eye on travel updates.

Please ensure that you keep your mobile phone with you and switched on until you get to school, just in case any details should change or you should need help finding the way. If you’re going to be late please call your office and give us as much notice as possible, otherwise your pay may be affected.

If you are running late please contact the office to give them a clear idea of your estimated time of arrival at the school.

6. Get straight down to business

When you arrive always try to meet the contact in charge of supply and get a copy of the day’s timetable. Be extra nice to these people – they’re the ones who book you. And show them you care by acquainting yourself with the school procedures:

  • Your timetable for the day, including school details such as fire drill, lunch supervision and registers and any information regarding school day
  • Access to behaviour policy / child protection policy
  • Details of any objectives that have been set
  • Information regarding any specific SEN requirements within your classes
  • Information about available resources
  • If you are provided with lesson plans, please ensure they are ALWAYS followed

Getting there early is also a good chance to find out if there’s anything else expected of you, such as break duty, attending staff meetings and marking. Please also ensure that you sign in at the beginning of the day, and out at the end using the school’s visitors’ book for health and safety reasons.

7. Own your classroom

Behaviour management is an important skill that schools will look out for – and kids could be more likely to cause trouble for a supply teacher if the classroom is not effectively managed. So it’s important to show clear expectations when you enter the classroom. Attempting to change rules once a lesson has started will not work.

  • Try not to talk in a tone that may be interpreted as aggressive or confrontational
  • Do not make any physical contact with a child whatever the circumstances unless specifically advised to do so
  • Do not take any photo’s without the schools or parents’permission

8. Quick fire tips

  • Take time to understand the School polices and make every effort to fit in with the school’s way of working
  • Ensure your mobile phone is always switched off whilst in class
  • Follow the work set and mark work appropriately, always check the schools marking guidelines
  • Leave the classroom as you found it – even tidier if possible
  • Make friends with your support staff and colleagues – and ask them questions about the school, teachers and pupils
  • Stay in the classroom until the pupils have gone
  • Leave notes for the teacher you’re covering, including any positive comments about specific pupil’s good behaviour – your PK Handover Sheet is the best place for this
  • Always say goodbye to other staff (especially those who booked you) and let them know what your day has been like
  • Try to meet the head teacher (if you can), say nice things about their school and thank them
  • Be nice to everyone and don’t mess it up
  • If the school asks you to return the next day and you are happy to do so, please feed this information back to your office
  • Ensure that all school property, especially keys or any personal property that may have been confiscated during the day, is returned to the appropriate individual
  • Feedback to your PK office about your day and we will provide you with regular feedback from schools
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