School: Benton Dene School (Special School for Children with SEN), Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
PK Education office: North East
The school currently educates 107 Special Educational Needs (SEN) pupils from nursery –Year 6.
How long has your school been working with PK Education?
We have been working with PK Education for at least three years. We generally require Teaching Assistants on short term contracts or on a day-to-day basis. We request the same teachers on a repeat basis and PK Education are very good at accommodating this.
How important are supply teachers to the running of your school?
As an SEN school, it is important to have the classroom fully staffed at all times, so continuity and minimal disruption to our pupils is absolutely crucial. When we do need extra support or cover from supply staff, we need them to be as prepared and as consistent as possible. The team at PK Education are particularly good at informing the staff of what is expected of them when working in a classroom within Benton Dene School for the first time.
Wherever possible, we bring in supply staff who are familiar to the children and we approach PK Education in the first instance to supply these staff.
How do you welcome supply teachers to your school, and do you have any advice for supply teachers on their first day of appointments?
Supply staff are requested to report to Reception on arrival. They are given a hand out which gives them a map of the school and a breakdown of the school’s policies; they are also supplied with a key fob.
Supply staff are always asked to show their DBS certificate which is cross-referenced against the safeguarding sheet supplied by the agency. This has always been accurate with PK Education. Once they have read through the hand out, they are introduced to the Supply Co-ordinator who takes them to the appropriate classroom and introduces them to classroom staff.
We think it is very important to make supply staff feel welcome; we do not want them to feel thrown in at the deep end.
Would you consider taking a supply teacher on as a permanent member of staff?
Supply staff are welcome to apply for any position which becomes vacant by completing the appropriate application form. Our first priority is hiring the right person for the job and vacancies will be brought to the attention of supply staff when appropriate.
How does PK Education compare to other supply agencies?
PK Education compare very favourably to other agencies. In our experience the team at PK has always been exceptionally reliable and honest. We have built a good relationship with the team over the last few years and we are confident that they will always try to accommodate our needs by sending the right candidate. If the person who would normally fill a particular role is on another assignment, instead of sending out somebody that would not be able to meet our requirements, they will be honest and inform us accordingly. This is really appreciated as it guarantees that we are always sent candidates with the appropriate experience.
We are also very confident that PK follows extensive safe guarding checks that adhere to compliance guidelines and frameworks. This is crucial when working with vulnerable pupils. Over the time we have been working with PK Education we have never experienced a discrepancy between DBS certificates and safe-guarding forms with any of their staff.
PK Education has supplied us with the very thorough safeguarding guidelines they work to so it is clear to see that they take safety very seriously. They take continuous pride and care ensuring that the Safer Recruitment process is always adhered to.