School: The Pingle School, Swadlincote, Derbyshire
PK Education Office: East Midlands
The Pingle School currently has 1047 students on roll, aged between 11-19 years old. It has been working with PK Education for over three and a half years, providing day-to-day supply cover and longer term solutions.
Alan Smith of The Pingle School tells us why the school uses PK Education as its preferred supplier:
How important are supply teachers to the running of your school?
Supply cover is very important to the day to day running of our school. In-house we have three full time cover supervisors who cover classes on a day to day basis when needed and we receive supply teachers from PK Education where necessary too.
We’ve been working with PK Education for more than three and a half years now, but for the past two years we’ve been working with them exclusively. PK Education knows our school and what we expect from candidates.
At Pingle School, we have a Learning Support Base (LSB) and also an Autism Resource Centre (ARC) as well as the main school. Whilst we very rarely need supply teachers to cover the LSB or ARC, as we have our in-house cover supervisors, we do need supply teachers to cover the classes they were meant to be teaching. Consistency and familiarity is of paramount importance in the LSB and ARC.
Whether it’s Gemma, Lorraine, or somebody else at PK’s East Midlands office, I know that I will get an honest answer when I request cover.
I’m confident that they will never let me down, and that whenever it’s humanly possible they will send me someone right for the job who’s flexible, reliable and fairly local so that they can be here on time!
How does your school welcome supply teachers?
Supply teachers report to reception and receive an induction from our Business Manager, who goes through our school policies, our safeguarding procedures, and our timetable. The supply teacher is also given a copy of the staff handbook during their induction. The supply teachers are also taken to the Head of Department, introduced to the department team and told what their schedule of classes is.
Here at The Pingle School, we think it’s important that candidates who come here are as informed as possible to allow them to do their job to the best of their ability.
Do you have any advice for supply teachers on entering a new school?
For any supply teachers I’d always says that it’s a good idea to bring reserve lesson plans in case there are any issues with the cover work that the permanent teacher has left. You never know whether the teacher may have left cover work you can’t do, so it’s always a good idea to have a generic, stand-by lesson plan that you can go to as a last resort.
I’d also encourage supply teachers to make sure they know who they’re reporting to, and to ask questions if they feel like they don’t have enough information. It’s important to know who you’re reporting to, especially as a supply teacher, so you can refer any behavioural issues to them if necessary.
At The Pingle School we always give inductions to provide supply teachers with as much information as they need to make them feel suitably prepared for the job in hand, but if the school hasn’t done this I would encourage supply teachers to speak up and ask for information on things like behavioural policies, if they haven’t been provided with it.
Would your school ever consider taking on a supply teacher as a permanent member of staff?
Yes. We have done in the past too which was also arranged through PK Education. The fact that we have had candidates here on supply has meant that they’ve had a chance to know the school and our pupils. Also, the school has got to know them and see if they’re a good fit.